Uncharted Territory is a small book, almost a novella in size, and a quick read.  I first read this book several years ago, but only had vague recollections of what happened.  When I read and loved To Say Nothing of the Dog two months back, I was very surprised to realise I had already read one of Connie Willis’ previous works.

Uncharted Territory is the tale of two surveyors on an alien planet, working with a native guide to map the terrain.  They deal with endless rules and regulations, obtuse bureaucrats (this seems to be a staple in Willis’ stories)  and natives who are eager to be corrupted by advanced technology (contrary to the endless rules and regulations).  A visiting academic who specialises in mating customs is the catalyst for a look at human and alien courtship rituals.

Uncharted Territory is humorous and fairly fluffy, in contrast to most of Willis’ other work, there is not a lot of depth here, and the characters don’t seem to learn anything by the end.  On the last page, Fin and Carson are bickering about exactly the same thing as on page one, leaving me to wonder if there will ever be any change in their relationship.

Uncharted Territory is funny, clever and interesting, but lacks the depth it should have had in the hands of Connie Willis.  A pleasant read that left me feeling vaguely disappointed.

Other posts about Connie Willis:  A Connie Willis Christmas Story

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