The Quotidian Apocalypse and the Quixotic Cause

An Interview with Author Connie Willis


  • Wendy Highby University of Northern Colorado
  • Katherine Shull University of Northern Colorado
  • Jay Trask University of Northern Colorado



The writer Connie Willis lives in Greeley, Colorado, home to the University of Northern Colorado (UNC). She is an alumna of UNC and has chosen to deposit her papers in its archives. A pre-eminent science fiction author, her clock- and calendar-defying tales of time travel have transported many fans and won numerous awards. Her stellar reputation in fandom and among librarians as a mentor, peer, and public intellectual is well-deserved and hard-earned. She gives generously of her time at conventions, conferences, and community events. We finally caught up with her in the latter days of Summer 2018, after the Locus Awards and the Westercon science fiction and fantasy convention, and interviewed her about her recent novella “I Met a Traveler in an Antique Land” (first appearing in Asimov’s Science Fiction in 2017 and later published by Subterranean Press in 2018). It concerns a disappearing Manhattan bookshop that may also be a harbor for endangered books. The story’s subject matter is of great relevance for archivists and librarians of the Anthropocene—as is the content of our conversation with Ms. Willis, which ranges from the insidious nature of censorship to the nobility of fighting for lost causes.

Pre-print first published online 11/08/2019