Type “Connie Willis” into Google and search result #15 is a critique of her work by Andrew Hickey. He says, “My post about how bad Connie Willis' writing is has become one of my most popular pieces.” So apparently his site is getting a lot of traffic. Type “Connie Willis” “Andrew Hickey” into Google and search result headline #1 is “May Be the Worst Writer in Existence” and #5 is “Bland, Bad, Popular.” His advice to writers: “Just read Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis, do the exact opposite of what she does, and you will have the greatest work in the history of English literature.”
Strange Horizons quotes these particularly vicious comments: “On the evidence of this utter, appalling, piece of [deleted], this travesty, this disgrace that makes Dan Brown look like a more elegant and refined version of F. Scott Fitzgerald, I can only assume that she has incriminating photos of the head of publishing at Spectra, her publishers, and of the people who choose the Hugo shortlists. In which case, I can only say to let her release the photos – they could hardly do more damage to your reputations than these books do.”
He has written a book entitled, “Sci Ence! Justice Leak!” Amazon’s description: “What do Batman, Doctor Who, quantum physics, Oscar Wilde, liberalism, the second law of thermodynamics, Harry Potter fanfic, postmodernism, and Superman have in common? If your answer to that was “Nothing” then… well, you’re probably right. But in this book, Andrew Hickey will try to convince you otherwise. In doing so he’ll take you through: How to escape from a black hole and when you might not want to, The scientist who thinks he’s proved the existence of heaven and what that has to do with Batman, What to do if you discover you’re a comic-book character, Whether killing your own grandfather is really a bad idea and how to escape from The Life Trap! An examination of the comics of Grant Morrison, Alan Moore and Jack Kirby, Doctor Who spin-off media, and how we tell stories to each other. Sci-Ence! Justice Leak! tells you to look around you and say: This is an imaginary universe… Aren’t they all?”
He describes his work: “The other books I write (like Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!, Four Stories About The Singularity and my upcoming examination of Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers) are about the playful exploration of ideas. They're often using criticism of comics, books or TV as a starting point, but the books are as much about the nature of consciousness, or cybernetics, or Liberal politics as they are about Batman or Doctor Who.”
Turns out all his work is self published. Smashwords, EBookstore, Lulu. His Amazon Z ranking is not impressive either.
However: His commentary and fiction have been favorably reviewed in Digital Book Review, Free Writer, and Fiction Paradox. His commentary on science fiction, “Sci Ence! Just Leak!” received a serious, lengthy review in Fiction Paradox.
My concern is that he will attack other authors. Another concern is that he might get on with Locus or Tangent, get a much wider audience, and even develop a following. The second concern might be premature at this point. He might turn out to be a shooting star. But all factors indicate he has every intention of establishing his place in the science fiction community, as author and as critic.
Surveying the Hugo/Nebula awards/nominations, I saw the same 2 names over and over: Mike Resnick and Connie Willis. I’m up on Resnick’s work. I’m not up on Willis’ work. Although I did read “All About Emily” in Asimov’s. That’s what got me interested in her. First noticing the awards record, then enjoying one of her stories. Far from bland. Delightful and mesmerizing. I’m reading “Firewatch,” the short story that is the basis her other time travel stories.
I’m in China, where they sell very few English magazines and none of them science fiction. Same goes for recent science fiction books. All the websites with Andrew Hickey’s full comments on Connie Willis’ work are not accessible from here.
I need someone to send me an excerpt of “Blackout/All Clear” (her recent time travel novels) and the full text of anything Hickey has written about Willis.