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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!
Fun book. Well written. Filled with trivia and non-sense. And Grand Design too. Don't be discouraged by confusion-- like all good mysteries, it needs patience.Published 23 months ago by Loscomac
Highly enjoyable time travel from futurist England to Victorian England. If you loved "Doomday Book", "Fire Watch", Blackout by Connie Willis you will love this book too! Read morePublished on May 4 2010 by Carole A. Freeman
I read this book over 3 years ago, so I'm unable to provide specifics about this book. But what I can tell you is this. Read morePublished on March 8 2009 by NorthVan Dave
A trip through time to the Victorian Era, with all its propriety and weirdness. With some extremely funny situations. Read morePublished on July 10 2004
Very enjoyable book - Connie Willis takes you on a ride through time to the Victorian Age and back. Very lighthearted, but not simple-minded. Highly recommended.Published on July 7 2004 by Christopher P. Ware
What the various reviewers have said about this being a very funny science fiction romance is quite true. Read morePublished on June 2 2004
I've never read Connie Willis before, and getting into this book is difficult. You spend the first 50 pages trying to figure out what exactly a Bishop's Bird Stump is. Read morePublished on May 7 2004 by C. Han
This has to be one of the best novels I've read in a long time. Given that I like History and SciFi, "Literary References I Must Look Up", 1930's Detective fiction, and... Read morePublished on March 10 2004 by Rob M.