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)
I am addicted to Audible!! I have my earphones in listening to my books all day. Others comments sometimes influence my purchases.
I always finish a book. ALWAYS! But this is the one to receive the honor of being deleted without completion. The premise is interesting, but it missed the mark.
For some reason I really hate books where the protagonist is stupid. And this case of 'students from the future' would have failed out of any grade school in the world. Since when is the color or a skirt more important that the buildings that will be destroyed. Specially if you plan on being in that building.
And if you want to contact the future, send a letter, with an 'open on' date (Back to the Future style).
I was rather hoping they'd all be killed.
This is not a novel. It is half of a novel that should have been condensed down to about 5 chapters. It takes until the end of the book for any genuine suspense to build and then the book suddenly ends.
It honestly felt like someone's college history research paper turned into a novel. It seems really well researched, but very little of the historical detail adds anything to the story.
The premise, of time traveling historians visiting WWII England, is good. The author provides more than enough interesting detail about life during WWII, and too much intrusive time travel tropes that are not needed to carry the story. In fact it is hard to find a story or to follow it. Which is unfortunate given the great material the writer had to work with.
Need I say more? How about Repetitious Aggravating Maddening Extremely Boring Moaning. She repeats almost verbatim the same whining conversations and idiotic choices made by the characters over and over and over and over and over and over... Yet I did listen all the way through (mostly). And still want to know what happened in All Clear. I just do not know if I can make myself listen to an even longer book which according to other reviewers is more of the same. Spoiler anyone? The narrator by the way is excellent. 5 Stars to Katherine Kellgren. And to Connie Willis, "Girl, you need a better editor or perhaps need to listen to the one you have." I am not an editor but I have read and listened to a huge number of books in my life and really Connie this one is just not OK. Good story but execution poor.
I know that by writing this I am a shame to English majors everywhere, but I couldn't stand this novel. I listened to seven hours before I finally flung my headphones across the room and screamed, "What in the world is going on? What is this book even about?"
So, if you are already a Connie Willis fan, jump in. You'll find more of the same. If you were on the fence with other Willis novels, this one is not going to please you. Her prose is fantastic, but, like always, her plots are mysterious and/or nonexistent.
The book has a good concept but gets very tired - almost annoying. It would seem that every system fails and each time traveller (historian) is a fool and when things go wrong these "trained" historians act irrationally and foolish. It begins to gets hard to believe that the technology for time travel is available but simple systems to survive in the past are not part of the training.
Willy Wonka of it
I'll start by saying I've never read or listened to any of Connie's books. Her intro (which I believe she read) actually started to turn me off to the book. The voice was annoying (to me) and the way she was describing her own book sounded pretty boring. I ended up listening to another title and then coming back to this one. Glad I did.
The concept here isn't original (time travel), but it's presented in a unique way. I appreciated that the intricacies of the laws and workings of time travel in this world weren't just spouted out, but divulged in conversation or thoughts from the characters over time. The book also presents a mystery that is the most intriguing part in my opinion. You're constantly wondering "why is this happening", while the characters struggle with the situations they're in.
Seeing the characters experience the war during the Blitz was actually pretty interesting... but it got to be a bit much. There's so much tedious exposition here with predictable scenarios (i.e. one person goes to look for someone somewhere while they're doing the same and they just miss each other) that get drawn out to the point of being annoyingly trite.
The ending (as others have stated) was also pretty abrupt. You're in the story, then BAM, a guy's voice tells you to buy the second book for the rest. Felt a bit cheap, especially considering how much time was wasted on very slow and tedious points of the tale. Cut much of that out and surely the story would have made it into one book?
I wanted to love this as much as TSNOTD. I stuck with it to the middle of the 3rd download, then put it aside in exasperation (the 2nd time I've done that in over 10 years & a couple hundred Audible downloads). I know it's the fault of my excess expectations- I have rarely enjoyed a character as much as Cyril. Nothing in this sequel grabbed me. Some interesting historical bits, but the repetetive tedious mistakes & unending premature incorrect assumptions of the inept & obviously ill-trained "historians" left me wishing they were wiped out by a bomb. That's when I knew it was time to quit.
This book just drones on with senseless boring dialog. I listen to a lot of books and this is the first time I may not even listen to the entire book. 6-7 hours in and nothing of any redeeming value has come out.
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