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)
This is a good book. I'm fascinated by London during the Blitz so read everything--fiction or nonfiction--I can find about it. I also read Doomsday Book years ago (and bought a paperback recently to reread it) and was fascinated by the vision of historical research done by actually visiting the past. BUT this book leaves the reader totally up in the air. Clearly the situation is resolved in the follow-up book, All Clear, but novels need to have some internal integrity which this one does not, ending as it does--or not ending as it does. As it is, it reeks of the marketplace--how to ensure that the reader buys the second book. Even serial novels written for kids have more internal integrity in each novel. That said, I just put All Clear in my cart....
I like Connie Wilis books and this is no exception Luckily I read the reveiws that said it ends abruptly. So I consider this the first half of the whole book.
There is no ending in this book You are simply left hanging. two thirds of the book is about the characters being stranded with no answer. You have to purchase another books to find out what happens. I will get the All Clear not that I have heard Black out in unabridged format but I refuse to be force to purchase another book to end a cliff hanger.
The book doesn't really resolve anything at the end. If I would have realized it was half a book I would have waited until the second half is released. It was a bit drawn out and probably does not really need to be broken up into two parts.
It really needs to be made more clear that this is not a complete book.
This is an interesting story that feels incomplete. If an author decides to place her characters in difficult and mysterious peril, she should be compelled to extract them by the end of the story and explain how such a feat was achieved. There is no "Act Three" to "Blackout".
The narration by Katherine Kellgren is excellent. She skillfully evokes male and female character, both young and old.
Another gem from Connie Willis. I cried through the plague and laughed my way down the Cam. This one brings it all together. Can't wait for All Clear!
I had a difficult time getting into this book...actually started it 2 or 3 times before I could. Unfortunately, after I was into it, and it was nearing the end, it just stopped. I couldn't believe it! I was sure there was something wrong with the download. Imagine my surprise when I logged back onto audible to discover that this is only the first half of a book. It shouldn't be listed as an unabridged book, but an unabridged book-half. At the very least we should receive Part 2 for free. I wonder if when Part 2 finally comes out I even care how it turns out. I feel tricked and ripped off. I have never seen a book like this...any other books from a series I have read, may be better when read as part of the series, are able stand alone as a single story. This half a story cannot.
I loved Connie's earlier books, and the way she weaves a story out of a confusion of current events. But it seems no one will edit her, now that she's successful, and no one will tell her she needs to cut back on the cranky, irritating and annoying side characters. Just get on with the story, girl! I couldn't take more than the first few hours. I love the narrator, Katherine Kellgren, and the way she brought Bloody Jack and Her Royal Spyness to life. But here, her excellent mimicry only makes the annoying characters worse--you can't just skim over their nonsense in an audiobook, you have to listen to every idiotic word. I think the subject matter is fascinating, but I couldn't get through the book.
All of the scenes where they are wasting time looking for people. They should have cell phones in the future, stupid.
This is a terrible book. I guess since a woman wrote this book, there can be no time given to applying any current technologies to any issues in the book. A massive amount of dialog is spent between charactors looking for each other at work....for gosh sake pick up a cell phone....but oh...I forgot we have time travel but no cell phones or wireless tech at all. What a stupid book.
Connie Willis is a conceited author. In the Old English sense of "conceited" -- a clever construction. Willis's conceit is to write about "historians" -- time-travelers from the 2060s who go back in time to observe "ordinary people". Her Doomsday Book, about a village during the Black Plague, was one of the most riveting evocations of human emotion I have ever read.
This time, Willis's "historians" are covering World War II in England.Their observations of ordinary people are of course an excuse for Willis to dress a fascinating parade of characters, dozens of them, all bound up in the everyday heroism of enduring a war: the evacuation at Dunkirk, the children's' evacuation from London, the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the V1s and V2s, ...
Of course, the "historians" get caught up in the movement, and do heroic things themselves. Which should be impossible, because "the theory of time" forbids any time-traveler's meddling with the past. So... is there something wrong with time itself? Willis's characters must battle the Germans while they battle against the fabric of time itself!
These two books are in fact a single work, so you must read them in order. But DO read them! They are excellent!
... and then we must wait another ten years for Willis's next work... :-((((
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