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To Say Nothing of the Dog Hardcover – January 1, 1999
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What Connie Willis soon makes clear is that genre can go to the dogs. To Say Nothing of the Dog is a fine, and fun, romance--an amused examination of conceptions and misconceptions about other eras, other people. When we first meet Ned, in 1940, he and five other time jumpers are searching bombed-out Coventry Cathedral for the bishop's bird stump, an object about which neither he nor the reader will be clear for hundreds of pages. All he knows is that if they don't find it, the powerful Lady Schrapnell will keep sending them back in time, again and again and again. Once he's been whisked through the rather quaint Net back to the Oxford future, Ned is in a state of super time-lag. (Willis is happily unconcerned with futuristic vraisemblance, though Ned makes some obligatory references to "vids," "interactives," and "headrigs.") The only way Ned can get the necessary two weeks' R and R is to perform one more drop and recuperate in the past, away from Lady Schrapnell. Once he returns something to someone (he's too exhausted to understand what or to whom) on June 7, 1888, he's free.
Willis is concerned, however, as is her confused character, with getting Victoriana right, and Ned makes a good amateur anthropologist--entering one crowded room, he realizes that "the reason Victorian society was so restricted and repressed was that it was impossible to move without knocking something over." Though he's still not sure what he's supposed to bring back, various of his confederates keep popping back to set him to rights. To Say Nothing of the Dog is a shaggy-dog tale complete with a preternaturally quiet, time-traveling cat, Princess Arjumand, who might well be the cause of some serious temporal incongruities--for even a mouser might change the course of European history. In the end, readers might well be more interested in Ned's romance with a fellow historian than in the bishop's bird stump, and who will not rejoice in their first Net kiss, which lasts 169 years! --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Connie Willis flawlessly combines so many elements in this book: It's part mystery novel, part sci-fi, part time-travel drama, part Victorian romance, part comedy. The characters and situations are extremely funny, but at the same time, there is a deep and serious plot going on.
Ned Henry goes back to the Victorian era to get some rest -- he is time-lagged from going back and forth from 2057 to 1940 to locate an ugly piece of Victorian art. But, he also has an important mission to complete in 1888. Verity Kindle, a fellow time-traveler, inadvertently brought something back from the past. Ned and Verity must put things right before the course of history is changed and the space-time continuum breaks down. Ms. Willis portrays the worlds of 2057, 1940 and 1888 with equal ease and vivid descriptions.
There is mystery (Why was Verity able to bring what she did through the time-travel apparatus? What was it? How does it relate to the Bishop's Bird Stump? What is the Bishop's Bird Stump and why is it important?). There is science fiction (More about the "net" and how it works than in Doomsday Book). And, there is comedy. Ms. Willis' witty characterizations are reminiscent of Oscar Wilde or Jane Austen (Tossie is Cecily from The Importance of Being Earnest. Colonel and Mrs. Mering are Mr. and Mrs. Bennett from Pride and Prejudice.) Ned is hysterical as he struggles through an era he knows nothing about.
Fans of Doomsday Book will enjoy the return of Dunworthy and Finch. But, in my opinion, To Say Nothing of the Dog is much better than Doomsday Book.Read more ›
Ned Henry, a time traveler of the 21st century, is sent to the Victorian Age for some badly needed rest.
He doesn't find it. Instead he is drawn into a mission with fellow historian Verity Kindle: stop history from altering itself AND find the most hideous of all hideous Victorian monstrosities, the bishop's bird stump.
This fabulous novel, while at heart always SFF, is also a mystery, romance, comedy-of-manners, and adventure at the same time. With plenty of allusions to Jerome K. Jerome, Agatha Christie, Wilkie Collins (and a spoiler for _The Moonstone_!), and Dorothy L. Sayers, as well as unforgettable secondary characters like Lady Shrapnell, Cecil, and Lady Arjumand, you will find yourself finishing this 400+ page book in record time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
So I saw all of the awards and had to give this book a go. Man, what a let-down. This book in no way deserves any sci-fi awards. At all. It's a romance novel, at best. Read morePublished 8 hours ago by DudeInMyrtleBeach
Good book, but confusing terminology sometimes. Interesting and amusing story.Published 1 day ago by James Gunnerson
To Say Nothing of the Dog was absolutely delightful. It will definitely be a re-listen and I will be keeping my eye out for it in print at a jumble sale. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Sarah Holton
A comedic time travelling historically researched mystery sci-fi romp.
If that sounds too complicated then To Say Nothing of the Dog is definitely not for you. Read more
I'm not sure what all the crowing is about in the reviews. So many reviews say it's hilarious. I guess different people find different things funny. Not my cup of tea. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Magda B.
Excellent read! A wild ride through time and literature with romance and humanity spun in! God is in the details...Published 23 days ago by Edna Dacus
I don't read a lot of science fiction. This was enlightening regarding the Victorian era, boating on the Thames and Coventry Cathedral. I skimmed a bit, but enjoyed it nonetheless.Published 24 days ago by Michael A Stichter
I didn't think I liked science fiction, but the history part really held my interest. Very well written - loved it!Published 1 month ago by S. Bennett