Writer: Connie Willis
Genre: Science Fiction
The premise: Dr. Joanna Lander researches near-death experiences, only good research is hard to find. She has to fight for the first chance to interview those who've coded, because if she doesn't get there first, colleague/competitor Mr. Mandrake manages to fill their heads with experiences that simply didn't happen. But when Dr. Richard Wright offers her a partnership in his study that mimics the brain at NDE, she can't help but jump at the chance. Only the project doesn't go as well as planned, and it isn't long before Joanna volunteers herself in order to gather legit data that's not tainted by outside expectations. And what she discovers isn't what anyone, least of all herself, expects.
Must Have: it's a shame this book never won the Nebula or Hugo it was nominated for. Let me tell you how much I enjoyed this book: I started reading it on a Thursday, didn't read it AT ALL Friday-Sunday, then I returned to it Monday afternoon and COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN UNTIL 2:00 AM!!! Still didn't finish because I was dead on my feet and needed some sleep, and finally finished the book Tuesday afternoon. This isn't a fast read like urban fantasies are a fast read. But it's compelling. And if you avoid the spoilery section of the review, just know that the book almost made me cry. I did tear up, but didn't cry. Still, that's damn good.
What I like about it is the single, relatively simple SF-nal premise in such a realistic world populated with such human, three-dimensional characters. These people aren't special, they're people doing their thing and working really hard for what they believe in. The story that comes out of it is thought-provoking and satisfying, and definitely worth talking about.
The full review, which does contain spoilers, may be found in my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome. :)
REVIEW: Connie Willis's PASSAGE
Happy Reading! :)