In her first novel since 2002, Nebula and Hugo award-winning author Connie Willis returns with a stunning, enormously entertaining novel of time travel, war, and the deeds - great and small - of ordinary people who shape history.
Oxford in 2060 is a chaotic place. Scores of time-traveling historians are being sent into the past, to destinations including the American Civil War and the attack on the World Trade Center. Michael Davies is prepping to go to Pearl Harbor. Merope Ward is coping with a bunch of bratty 1940 evacuees and trying to talk her thesis adviser, Mr. Dunworthy, into letting her go to VE Day. Polly Churchill's next assignment will be as a shopgirl in the middle of London's Blitz. And 17-year-old Colin Templer, who has a major crush on Polly, is determined to go to the Crusades so that he can catch up to her in age. But now the time-travel lab is suddenly canceling assignments for no apparent reason and switching around everyones schedules. And when Michael, Merope, and Polly finally get to World War II, things just get worse. For there they face air raids, blackouts, unexploded bombs, dive-bombing Stukas, rationing, shrapnel, V-1s, and two of the most incorrigible children in all of history to say nothing of a growing feeling that not only their assignments but the war and history itself are spiraling out of control. Because suddenly the once-reliable mechanisms of time travel are showing significant glitches, and our heroes are beginning to question their most firmly held belief: that no historian can possibly change the past.
BONUS AUDIO: In an exclusive introduction, author Connie Willis discusses her fascination with WWII and the historic context of Blackout.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Blackout is the first volume of a two-part novel. To find out what happens to the time-traveling historians from Oxford, we invite you to download the concluding volume, All Clear.
©2010 Connie Willis (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
“If you're a science-fiction fan, you'll want to read this book by one of the most honored writers in the field; if you're interested in World War II, you should pick up Blackout for its you-are-there authenticity; and if you just like to read, you'll find here a novelist who can plot like Agatha Christie and whose books possess a bounce and stylishness that Preston Sturges might envy.” (The Washington Post)
Yes but I would have to allow some time to pass - as I did after reading The Doomsday Book before starting Blackout/All Clear (together really only 1 book). The time allows the endless agonizing and repetition to fade in my memory so that I am left with the basically good story.
Yes, but only with the caveat that the story can drag as the characters second guess their every action and miss each other as soon as they are out of sight. Against this is a sound story, some really good characters and good atmosphere.
Very good narrator. Different voices done very well.
I read the first 2 books in the Oxford Time Travel series and LOVED them. This book was a real disappointment compared to the others. In this book, unlike the others, there was no character that I could really loved or even liked all that much. Connie was so great in her characters in the other books! The storyline was okay, not great. If this were the first book I had read by her, I would never had tried another. I know this author can and has been great, but not this time.
I've listened twice and thoroughly enjoyed this book. When my bright, middle-school son was desperate for a good to 'listen book' and I recommended Ms. Willis books. He's sold! I love this story with its distinctive 'voices' and clever plot. The characters have become quite real to me. Frankly, Connie Willis is one of those authors whose next book I eagerly await!! Great listen especially for history-scifi junkies! (Yes, they exist.)
Especially enjoy American crime thrillerwriters such as James Lee Burke and British sci-fi/fantasy, such as Ben Aaronovitch.
Having thoroughly enjoyed To Say Nothing of the Dog, I couldn't wait to go time-travelling again with Connie Willis. This book and its second part, All Clear, is possibly one of the best books I have ever listened to, let alone sci-fi books. It is heartstopping and heartwrenching. The description of the Blitz is amazing. I nearly didn't get it because of critical reviews of the reader, but once you get used to her she is great and some of her British accents are actually very good. I had no trouble whatsoever identifying who was speaking.
I really can't recommend these books highly enough.
I listed to Blackout and All Clear. It is all one long story so be aware before starting Blackout. This was a very long listen ~42 hours and it just didn't need to be. A good editor could have helped immensely.
I LOVED the view of the real people of WWII. It was interesting to get a glimpse at what the individuals were doing and how England coped with years of war. Unfortunately, there was very little story involving these people.
The historians and their quest to return to their time was the real plot. This was extremely tedious. The characters weren't all the well developed and evidently never thought about anything except how to get their drops to open and whether or not they were changing the course of history - over and over again. Surely they weren't so one dimensional?
Regardless, when I finally did get to the end, I thought it was great how all their stories tied together. The ending was perfect. It just took too long to get there.
Connie Willis's time travel epic chronicles the experiences of three twenty-first century historians in early 1940s England. The protagonists have travelled back more than a century to explore wartime England and find themselves both unable to return and increasingly anxious that their actions are, contrary to theory, altering the course of history.
Set chiefly in London during the Blitz, the novel contains some utterly gripping passages describing conditions as the city is bombed, night after terrible night. The native Londoners ("contemps" to our heroes) are portrayed vividly and the true horror of the events is effectively and movingly described.
If the protagonists occasionally come across as naive and vacillating - well, they are university students, and their youth may also explain their apparent ability to function for days at a time without sleep. These are quibbles - the more substantive complaint is that the novel (itself only the first half of the story) is too long, obsessively following every minute of every day of the characters' experiences (or seeming to, at times). This, of course, is a widespread fault in this age of 1,000 page shelf-breakers.
My only other complaint is with Katherine Kellgren's narration, which is, at least at times, too breathlessly emotional for this listener's taste. However, none of those faults stopped me listening to the end and neither will they stop me downloading All Clear when a credit is available.
I like science fiction and time travel. I bought this book hoping for some of both. Turns out it really a historical fiction novel with a smattering of science fiction. Thats OK though - I enjoyed the historical aspect of it. What I didn't like was the fact that the book should have been about 1/2 as long. So much of the dialog was repetitive it became annoying. A good editor would have made the book much better.
What i also don't like is that there is no conclusion or wrapping up of the story. The book does not stand on its own. If you want the conclusion of the story, you must listen/read ALL CLEAR.
The performance was very good.
This was another good and interesting read from Connie Willis, continuing in the tradition of Domesday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog. A very interesting take on historical fictions, exposing the reader to the suspense, drama and fear of the Blitz in WWII London. I enjoyed the reader and the various character voices she brought to life.
The only beef on the book, however, is the same one that many other reviewers have expressed. This is not a two-part book. This is one book split into two and the buyer should be prepared to be buy both parts or face the reality of listening to a good cliffhanger without much sense of closure.
Lover of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, and westerns in all media, including old-time radio dramatizations.
I simply couldn't stay with it. I kept waiting for it to get started.
This book could have used a good editor. The 18 hour story could have been told in 6 with no loss of character development. And the worst part is that at the end of 18 hours nothing has been resolved, all the characters are in the exact positions they were on page 20 stuck in the past with no way home. A bore from start to finish and no resolution till the end of the second book almost 40 hours later.
Report Inappropriate Content