I read somewhere once that the other side of empathy is sadism. That came to mind here. I've read a great deal of Connie Willis over the years, and usually one notices how fundamentally kind she is, as a writer - in her characters, in the way she appears to observe the world, in the sorts of stories she choose to tell. But theres a few here that seem to take those exact same qualities and with only a very little shift create stories that are almost vicious in their examination of being in pain - and of causing hurt. I rather wish she would write this way some more, in her novels. New favorite not-happy Willis story (move over, the one about Tupperware) "Sidon in the Mirror".