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
"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)
I knit and listen to audiobooks. I have been a member since 2005, but then I listened at work
I did, I read blackout and all clear all of which I loved. Not so crazy about "to say nothing of the dog"
I listened to some of her short novels and didn't like them as much
I really enjoy the time-travel theme, and the fact that it was a planned time travel instead of just a random, unexplainable time travel made it unique.
I loved the range of characters, and the time frame in which the story (both phases) was set. The descriptions of the scenery were exceptional.
I think my favorite scene was when she realized that she wasn't when she thought she was.
If it hadn't been as long I would have listened to it all in one sitting, as it was an excellent listen. An audio version of a page-turner.
I loved it, and am working on reading the rest of the series. Highly recommended if you enjoy time-travel stories. It isn't the typical romance time-travel, though, so be warned if that is what you think you are getting.
RPG, history and movie fan
I will definitely listen to Doomsday Book again. The reader was very good and I dove right in to the story as she led the way.
Rosamunde and the apple... I can't say any more than that, or I'd give some of the story away.
She had a wonderful voice for all the different characters.
The Dark Ages, Illuminated.
I would highly recommend this audiobook. The combination of terrific story and gifted reader is hard to beat. There are some scenes that seem a bit roundabout/repetitive, but this does not stop me from recommending it. It just makes you very, very anxious to find out what's going to happen next.
Connie Willis is so descriptive of historical settings, and she gets you very emotionally involved with the characters.
Outlander - just for the time travel.
Absolutely not. She reads so slowly. Good thing the plot was so interesting, otherwise I would have given up.
Both. Her characters were very believable and entertaining.
The books are a little dated. The future is 2040, but 2012 technology is more advanced in some situations. Other than that, I would read more of her books (this is the 3rd time travel book of hers I have read.)
I am a voice actor and audiobook narrator living in Brooklyn, NY. Also a devoted reader and audiobook listener.
Doomsday Book tells the story of Kivrin Engle, a time-traveling Oxford history student from the near future who travels back to the 13th Century, and Professor James Dunworthy, Kivrin's mentor who faces his own crisis in the mid-21st Century. What makes this story stand out from a lot of sci-fi is Connie Willis' ability to draw memorable characters, and to tie together universal themes, which make the Middle Ages and the modern world seem not quite so different. Both are filled with the same kinds of people. Some are kindhearted, some are officious, some braggadocious, and others utterly innocent.
While I agree that certain bits of Willis' prose could use a trim here and there for being a bit repetitive, I'm willing to forgive quite a lot for the quality of the story itself. By the end, I found myself worried for each of the characters, and even looking kindly on some of the less likable ones.
Jenny Sterlin's narration is wonderful. Each character is distinct, the tone and emotion of the narration is just right, and she handles the Middle English dialogue like a pro, which, of course, she is (don't worry, you don't need to know any Middle English to enjoy the book).
Willis is clearly most interested in exploring the historical era that Kivrin visits, from both a social and linguistic perspective. The time travel aspect of the book allows Willis to explore what exactly it would be like for a modern person to see it. The food, the clothing, the society, even seemingly small things, like the cracked skin on the hands of aristocratic women.
In the end, Doomsday Book is more concerned with History than with Futurism. You won't find a thoroughly explored technological future here. What you will find is a touching story about seemingly unlimited human compassion. Even in a time of pestilence and witch-burning, there are those who are still willing to help out a stranger who is afraid and far from home.
One of my favourite scifi books; but it is perhaps better describes as an historical novel.
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.
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.
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.
It was worth the money for purchasing this audiobook, but I also think Hugo and Nebula awards dropped their standards here...
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.
Lots of Death
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
The characters in the village and their relationship with each other were most interesting and memorable.
I have never listened to this narrator but I can surprisingly compare her to my two favorites: Davina Porter and Geraldine James.
Most definitely would see this if it were a movie!
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.
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