I declare here and now to Ms. Willis and to the world: I LOVE CONNIE WILLIS. I love her short stories. I love the way she writes. And, most importantly, I love the way her mind works!
I am in the midst of reading The Best of Connie Willis, Award-Winning stories, which also features her lively short afterwards to each story. All so far exhibit a very sharp mind and humor. Where she is going with them tends to sneak up on you. The serious stories make me tear up towards the end; the humorous stories also make me tear up even while I am laughing at the beauty of what she is doing. (And her humorous stories, like At the Rialto, are not just light pieces but also have a depth to them.) READ HER!
In the department of “close but no cigar, but YAY anyway,” I was informed on June 21st that I was a finalist (ranking 6th out of 13 finalists) for a grant from the Speculative Literature Foundation.
My story, The Words Strike Back is out in Peacock Journal.
My last quotes from Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here (from chapter 36):
“More and more, as I think about history,” [Doremus] pondered, “I am convinced that everything that is worth while in the world has been accomplished by the free, inquiring, critical spirit, and that the preservation of this spirit is more important than any social system whatsoever. But the men of ritual and the men of barbarism are capable of shutting up the men of science and of silencing them forever.”
Eventually, there is a revolt against Windrip’s dictatorship, but it does not get very far:
“…there the revolt halted, because in the American which had so warmly praised itself for its ‘widespread popular free education,’ there had been so very little education; widespread, popular, free, or anything else, that most people did not know what they wanted–indeed knew about so few things to want at all.”
Doremus [and so Sinclair Lewis] on the press (from chapter 20):
“All these years he had heard responsible men who weren’t being quite honest–radio announcers who soft-soaped speakers who were fools and wares that were trash, and who canaryishly chirped, ‘Thank you, Major Blister’ when they would rather have kicked Major Blister, preachers who did not believe the decayed doctrines they dealt out, doctors who did not dare tell lady invalids that they were sex-hungry exhibitionists, merchants who peddled brass for gold–heard all of them complacently excuse themselves by explaining that they were too old to change and that they had a ‘wife and family to support.'”
and Doremus [and so, Sinclair Lewis] on the commonality of fascism and communism (from chapter 36):
“He was afraid that the world struggle today was not of Communism against Fascism, but of tolerance against the bigotry that was preached equally by Communism and Fascism. But he saw tooth in America the struggle was befogged by the fact that the worst Fascists were they who disowned the word ‘Fascism’ and preached enslavement to Capitalism under the style of Constitutional and Traditional Native American Liberty. For they were thieves not only of wages but of honor.”
Doremus’s realization (chapter 19):
“The tyranny of this dictatorship isn’t primarily the fault of Big Business, nor of the demagogues who do their dirty work. It’s the fault of Doremus Jessup! Of all the conscientious, respectable, lazy-minded Doremus Jesups who have let the demagogues wriggle in,without fierce enough protest.”
It Can’t Happen Here quote of the day. From Chapter 19:
“An honest propagandist for any Cause, that is,one who honestly studies and figures out the most effective way of putting over his Message, will learn fairly early that it is not fair to ordinary folks–it just confuses them–to try to make them swallow all the true facts that would be suitable to a higher class of people. And one seemingly small but almighty important point he learns, if he does much speechifying, is that you can win over folks to your point of view much better in the evening, when they are tired out from work and not so likely to resist you, than at any other time of day.”
Zero Hour, Berzelius Windrip