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Doomsday Book | [Connie Willis]

Doomsday Book

For Oxford student Kivrin, traveling back to the 14th century is more than the culmination of her studies - it's the chance for a wonderful adventure. For Dunworthy, her mentor, it is cause for intense worry about the thousands of things that could go wrong.
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Publisher's Summary

One of the most respected and awarded of all contemporary science-fiction writers, Connie Willis repeatedly amazes her many admiring fans with her ability to create vivid characters in unusual situations. With Doomsday Book, she takes listeners on a thrilling trip through time to discover the things that make us most human.

For Oxford student Kivrin, traveling back to the 14th century is more than the culmination of her studies - it's the chance for a wonderful adventure. For Dunworthy, her mentor, it is cause for intense worry about the thousands of things that could go wrong. When an accident leaves Kivrin trapped in one of the deadliest eras in human history, the two find themselves in equally gripping - and oddly connected - struggles to survive.

Deftly juggling stories from the 14th and 21st centuries, Willis provides thrilling action - as well as an insightful examination of the things that connect human beings to each other.

©1992 Connie Willis; (P)2000 Recorded Books

What the Critics Say

  • Hugo Award, Best Novel, 1993
  • Nebula Award, Best Novel, 1992

"Ms. Willis displays impressive control of her material; virtually every detail introduced in the early chapters is made to pay off as the separate threads of the story are brought together." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A stunning novel that encompasses both suffering and hope....The best work yet from one of science fiction's best writers." (The Denver Post)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (2570 )
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4.1 (1840 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer Vajkovce, Slovakia 04-21-12
    Amazon Customer Vajkovce, Slovakia 04-21-12 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    39
    2
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    Story
    "A little bit disappointed"
    Would you listen to Doomsday Book again? Why?

    Maybe I would listen to this audiobook again, because I sometimes like to listen to already known stories, but if, then certainly not in any near future.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The story itself was good enough but it really could have been told in much few pages. I can even imagine much better short story made from it. Written as it is, it is a little bit tedious and artificially lenghty.


    What does Jenny Sterlin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Without the narrator I wouldn't know how the middle english sounds (or is supposed to sound). On the other side her latin is ugly.


    Any additional comments?

    It was worth the money for purchasing this audiobook, but I also think Hugo and Nebula awards dropped their standards here...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Talazia Johnston, RI 04-21-12
    Talazia Johnston, RI 04-21-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Love this book"

    Don't let the cover fool you -- its a great listen. Kept me entertained the whole time. I'm looking forward to other books by this author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SkyTigress 04-16-12
    SkyTigress 04-16-12 Member Since 2011

    SkyTigress

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    61
    15
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    Story
    "Death, Death, Death with a touch of macabre humor"
    If you could sum up Doomsday Book in three words, what would they be?

    Lots of Death


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    A little less death and a little more action? Maybe one character lives? But for a book about the Black Death, it's appropriate and very effective. As always, Connie gives a wonderful spin on what it might have been like in the past.

    And on top of that, my co-working is reading "The Stand" by Stephen King, complaining about all the death in that book. I asked her if it was like The Doomsday book, and she said "Yes, without the humor."


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Wow. As strange as it sounds, the part of the story that stuck with me the most was Kivrin's dry recounting of what happened once the plague took hold of her town.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Connie Willis does a fantastic job at making nearly every death haunt you, which is amazing when you're killing off an entire village of people.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a must read if you're following Connie's time traveler series... but I wouldn't start with it. We see a young Dunworthy in his standard role of fatherly protector trying and failing to keep his students from being hurt/growing up and we are introduced to Colin, a young hoodlum who next appears in Black Out as a young man.

    I have also read To Say Nothing of the Dog, Blackout and All Clear by Willis. Doomsday book is the only one of the four to not have a love story as a major plot driving mechanism. (Just a warning for those of you like me that love her little romances ;)

    This is still a strong book, but it will leave you sad. Her parallel between the future time and the Plague time is stirring, but I almost want one more subplot to keep me interested.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KrsTea Pasadena, MD, United States 04-10-12
    KrsTea Pasadena, MD, United States 04-10-12

    Literary Sojourner

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    35
    10
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    0
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    "I loved it... Mostly"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Listening to the book was exciting. I kept expecting some big revelation to come or some major event to happen. Besides (no spoiler from me) what happens to everyone in the book, there was no major excitement. The characters were enjoyable, interesting and the story line was very interesting.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Doomsday Book?

    The characters in the village and their relationship with each other were most interesting and memorable.


    Have you listened to any of Jenny Sterlin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have never listened to this narrator but I can surprisingly compare her to my two favorites: Davina Porter and Geraldine James.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Most definitely would see this if it were a movie!


    Any additional comments?

    The ending was disappointing. Nothing happened, just death and a miraculous rescue. The book should have been longer. It should have included scenes of what happened and should have closed the story line for the missing character that was mentioned many times in the book. How did that get overlooked? The ending baffled and sort of angered me. I wanted closure on many things and it just didn't happen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Black Rock, AR, United States 04-04-12
    Peter Black Rock, AR, United States 04-04-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    16
    5
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    "I cant review the story because I can't get past t"

    I absolutly loved as one of the best books ever, Connie's book Not To Mention The Dog etc etc. I just had to have another of her books. But the narrator of the story is hopeless. Her characterisations leave me bewildered as to who is speaking and which character is which. Her voice fades at the end of sentances making it impossible to follow the story. I had to give up after only a chapter to two. I will however, go and buy a hardcopy of the book, I loved "The Dog" so much.
    Very dissapointed. No stars for performance, can't comment on the story as I never got to hear it.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mim HUGHENDEN, Australia 03-24-12
    Mim HUGHENDEN, Australia 03-24-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Vivid imagining of the time of the Black Death"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and the performance by Jenny Sterlin. A moving story about a future modern scholar surviving in the 14th century when the plague strikes Oxford. The descriptions of the life and living conditions in England at this time are wonderful. Recommended if you like historical re-imaginings

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alison Austin, TX, United States 03-23-12
    Alison Austin, TX, United States 03-23-12 Member Since 2010

    Miss Construed

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Story, Excellent Performance"

    This story is hard to categorize: it's not typical science fiction, but it's not really historical fiction either. In reality, it's more of a human drama, and from that perspective it excells.

    The character development was superb. The storyline was engaging, if sometimes predictable. My only complaint is that it was, in areas, agonizingly repetitive and slow due to unnecessary details. If you apply patience it is still an enjoyable, worthwhile read.

    Ms. Sterlin's voice characterizations are outstanding and the overall narration was excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas 03-21-12
    Thomas 03-21-12 Member Since 2015

    Fiction reader/listener: law enforcement, spy, military, science thriller, disasters.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well worth the cost!"

    The story, the narration and the premise was very entertaining. The characters develop well and are easy to follow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael KINGMAN, KS, United States 03-20-12
    Michael KINGMAN, KS, United States 03-20-12 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mixes historical and science fiction"

    This is a great story that shows both the near future and the far past. I wasn't sure what I was getting into when I started the book, but it was very entertaining with great characters. The details paid to the Middle Ages part of the book really drew me in, because I love history AND science fiction. The 'future' portions of the book were a little slow at points and there were times that it felt like everything was in a holding pattern, but overall, I was extremely interested in the story. I also got some enjoyment seeing what parts of the 'future' seem unrealistic now, such as sitting and waiting for phone calls.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nece Northlake, IL, United States 03-13-12
    Nece Northlake, IL, United States 03-13-12 Member Since 2014
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    59
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    "Painful"
    Any additional comments?

    It is painful getting through this book, but I am determined to finish it. It was the neverending sickness for

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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