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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

Science-Fiction, History And Inter-Textuality

To Say Nothing of the Dog - Connie Willis

This is a very funny, extremely clever, almost unclassifiable book. It's science fiction yet it confounds all the expectations one might have of the genre. The author has apparently won six Nebula awards (more than any other science fiction writer), six Hugo awards and the John W Campbell Memorial Award. I'm not sure what the latter is but it doesn't surprise me that she won it.


This story of time travel, set in Oxford and Coventry at various different times over the last seven hundred years, is packed full of literary and historical allusions, bristling with inter-textuality and peppered with paradox. Watching the plot unfolding is like observing some fantastically complicated piece of machinery. Think The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy meets The Time Traveller's Wife via Hercule Poirot, Lord Peter Wimsey, Bertie Wooster and Jeeves and you get some idea of the sense of humour and depth of texture. Pure entertainment.