I don’t do reviews normally and I hate story recaps. All I’m going to say is that Connie Willis is a literary treasure and you should read this. It’s funny, it’s convoluted, and it’s wildly creative. If you don’t fall in love with this, your heart is a shriveled husk and you are dead to me.
IMO best syfy writer in the business. Starting to download her books to kindle so reading them all again. Still doesn't disappoint the second or two hundred time read. Classics. Any wannabe author in SyFy can study her books and learn how to write.
Ms. Willis has a style that I enjoy. I know that someone will not realize they are in love with someone else, but it is still so much fun to watch it evolve. When you throw in the epic battle against ignorance of science and the avalanche of hucksterism that permeates our society, it was a good read. I like her time travel books better as they are deeper and have more twists and turns. But Inside Job takes intrigue and human interaction to a nice place. It is a sexually interesting book without having to whack you over the head with sex, as are all of Willis' books. That is another aspect of her writing that I find wonderful. I look forward to further adventures into human's being human in a slightly science fictional universe.
I adore Connie Willis' writing. Like the screwball comedies she loves, she manages to make you suspend your disbelief (actually, I think she gets me to stuff it into a closet fora while) and accept patently implausible scenarios. She puts in enough plot twists to make a pretzel dizzy, and surprises me at least once in every novel. She's laugh-out-loud funny at the same time she imparts a few Deep Thoughts, and, by golly, she knows how to tell a story. If you like your F&SF stories to be first and foremost *enjoyable,* you should be lapping up her stuff like candy.
So, why did I give Inside Job only four stars? It's primarily because of the financial value. This is a *novella.* It's not even the length of a short novel (as was Bellwether). I love Willis' writing so much that I lost patience with the book showing up at the local library, or in it ever appearing in paperback; I finally sprang for the hardback.
I'm not sorry I did, really, but the price-for-performance ratio isn't quite up to her best work. It's a very enjoyable story about a debunker of spiritualists who finds himself confronting an apparently-channelled H.L. Menken; I'm sure you'll fall into the easy chair with a box of cookies, as I did, and consume them both in one sitting. On the other hand, I don't think I'm going to re-read this book as often as I have Passages, Bellwether, or To Say Nothing of the Dog.
If you're new to Willis, please start with another book. I'm sure that you'll become as addicted to her work as I am, and you'll eventually pick up a copy of this tale. But this isn't the best introduction you could have to this very, very fine author.
I read this in tandem with Nicholas Sparks's TRUE BELIEVER, as both are about investigative reporters, professional debunkers, who encounter what seems to be the real thing at last. Those who have read and enjoyed Sparks's bestseller need to pick up this one for an alternate view.
Connie Willis has penned a spoof of mountebanks in her own style, a funny, endearing take on the men and women who pretend to reach out to the "other side," whose shams and talk show promotions and "reality TV segments" adorn our culture yet today. Her protagonist debunks fake after fake, but is taken aback but a psychic who actually seems to be channeling the legendary debunker H. L. Mencken himself, against her will.
This book is short, a special edition of her novella, but those who value Willis and those who value Mencken will all want to own it, and I predict that it will be one of the more highly sought after collectors items. FIRST EDITIONS MAGAZINE recently did a story on the values of Connie Willis's backlist, and if you have not yet seen it, you're missing something.
The dustjacket on INSIDE JOB is dropdead gorgeous. A splendid job all the way around, outside and inside.
I'd never read anything by this author before, but this will most certainly not be the last of Connie Willis' books that I read. What an absolutely charming story. It's a short, fluffy read with some provocative history thrown in for good measure. It's the reading equivalent of treating yourself to a hot fudge sundae.