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Connie Willis is an acclaimed science fiction writer who happens to love history. Her Hugo- and Nebula-winning novel Doomsday Book sends a graduate student back in time to the Dark Ages; her comic gem To Say Nothing of the Dog mixes the Victorian Era with World War II. In Passage, Dr. Joanna Lander is a psychologist researching near-death experiences (or NDEs). She’s developed a drug that can stimulate the experience and is working with neurologist Richard Wright on a theory that NDEs are actually a survival mechanism. But when Joanna goes under herself in a stimulated NDE, what she finds is completely unexpected—it’s the Titanic, and neither Joanna nor Richard have any idea what it means. But Willis drops plenty of hints, all the while distracting her protagonists with chance meetings, half-forgotten conversations, and characters as varied as a smart little girl with a severe heart condition to a fellow doctor who wants to use their research to promote his own career. As Joanna explores her strange experience farther and farther, the tension and the mystery build to a fever pitch—and then there’s an intense plot twist just before the ending. Suspenseful and powerful, reading Passage is an unforgettable experience.
posted Dec 23, 2011 at 11:41AM
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Specialist on near-death experiences.
Developed a drug that will simulate a near-death experience.