Thumbs up for To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis. Science fiction.
Time travel? Good. To the Victorian era? Plusgood. Title in homage to Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat, To Say Nothing of the Dog, one of the funniest books ever? Doubleplusgood. Everything I’d heard made me think I would adore this book. Well, I didn’t adore it, but I did enjoy it very much. There were some things that bugged me – it started very slowly, giving me a scare that it was going to be a massive slog – and Ned’s knowledge of the past seemed to expand or contract as the plot/comedy required. (Ignorance of basic Victorian social mores – but he knows the exact year Burberry started making raincoats. If there’s a reason for that, please explain?) And if you can comprehend the time travel paradoxes involved, you’re a lot smarter than I am. Still, once it hit its stride it was what one of the Victorian contemps might have called “jolly good fun.” I particularly like the chapter headings à la Jerome, such as:
An Abrupt Arrival—Difference Between Literature and Real Life—Similarity of Train Whistles to Air Raid Sirens—Benefits of Adrenaline—I Contemplate My Mission—Howard’s End—A Timely Newspaper—Two Ladies—A Late Arrival—Contact!—”Oxford, City of Dreaming Spires”—A Fashion Plate—The Mystery of Rabbits Hypnotized by Snakes Solved—An Introduction
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