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Blackout Audiobook

Blackout

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Publisher's Summary

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.

Listen to Connie Willis and Carrie Vaughn: A Conversation. And listen to All Clear.

©2010 Connie Willis (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

  • Nebula Award, Best Novel, 2010
  • Hugo Award, Best Novel, 2011
  • Best SF and Fantasy Books of 2010: Readers' Choice (SF Site)

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (2895 )
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  •  
    Amazon Customer Wellington, South Africa 09-03-12
    Amazon Customer Wellington, South Africa 09-03-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Blackout Whitewashes the Competition"
    Where does Blackout rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I really enjoyed Blackout and definitely rank it in the top 5 audiobooks I have listened to so far.
    I was pleasantly surprised by this book because I am not the biggest fan of science fiction novels. Although this book uses time travel, it does so in a way which enhances the story line and you see the war from the viewpoint of someone from a generation much like our own.
    This book brings the civilians of the 1940's to life and makes you feel like you are walking the burning streets of London with them. It helps you imagine what it must have been like to have to survive on rations, live in bomb shelters and be grateful that they have just found penicillin!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Blackout?

    The battle of Dunkirk was one of my highlights. I had no idea how involved the civilian population was in the evacuation.


    What does Katherine Kellgren and Connie Willis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Katherine Kellgren is a wonderful narrator and I think the various British (& American) characters she manages to bring to life with her wonderful accents added a wonderful dimension to the story.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book has made me want to read up on WWII and I must admit that I have been telling everyone I meet about all the interesting details which Connie Willis has managed to dig up (after many many hours of research I'm sure!).


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenny Foley Pasadena, CA, United States 09-02-12
    Jenny Foley Pasadena, CA, United States 09-02-12
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    "Riveting listen"
    What did you love best about Blackout?

    Blackout drew me in right from the beginning and made it almost impossible to put down. Well narrated and a good story. A nice blend of fiction and nonfiction. A note to the listener - be sure to download All Clear at the same time....you will not want to wait even a moment to start the second book!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SHARON Taylors, SC, United States 08-07-12
    SHARON Taylors, SC, United States 08-07-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Blackout by Connie Willis"
    What made the experience of listening to Blackout the most enjoyable?

    I very much enjoued this book. I am very fond of time travel stories and their intricacies.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Blackout?

    One of the best moments in Blackout was when Polly tries to go home and finds that her portal does not work. Also when the windows of the Department store are blown out and they think they are seeing multiple bodies in the debris but find that they are really the store window mannequins.


    What about Katherine Kellgren and Connie Willis ’s performance did you like?

    I loved the performance. The accents were wonderful.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but it is very long and I had to break it up into several days.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barry M. Eisenberg Orange County, CA 08-06-12
    Barry M. Eisenberg Orange County, CA 08-06-12 Member Since 2010

    DigitalCameraFan

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    "Mildly intersting story line, but way too wordy"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    People who are interested in the day to day life of WW2 London.


    What could Connie Willis have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    The book needed to be shorter. It was way too wordy. The same idea was expressed day page after page and chapter after chapter with little change. I get it already.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The performance was OK, but the accent got to be annoying after a while. Especially grating was the bratty kids. I felt like I was actually there and wanted to punch the narater.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Frustration. It just dragged on.


    Any additional comments?

    I realize this was book one of two, and I have not read the second one yet. I generally love reading a series. In this case, I'm not sure I will even get the second book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. Dan B Denver, CO 07-05-12
    Dr. Dan B Denver, CO 07-05-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Well narrated, but terrible plot!"
    Has Blackout turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Yes! The book is very boring and tedious (there is literally 5 hours of a woman taking care of poorly behaved children) and then there is no ending to the book! It just stops and basically says, "Buy my next book also to see what happens with the lady and the bad kids". I wish I had my time back!


    Do you think Blackout needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Yeah, because the stupid thing didn't have an ending!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 06-26-12 Member Since 2007
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    "How to Become a Time Traveling Historian"
    What made the experience of listening to Blackout the most enjoyable?

    It's a wide open experience of the time period with vignettes of ordinary people performing extraordinary acts under the duress of circumstance. Anyone who has listened to first hand accounts by veterans or home front survivors would be entranced by this kind of storytelling that weaves some of the greatest known events into personal sensations involved in the time period.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Blackout?

    The vivid tableau of a firsthand historian witnessing VE day becomes the centerpiece of this 'doubledecker' novel and successfully builds this story into a multi-faceted mystery with a resolution Agatha Christie could be proud of: it's a prodigious blend of chaos and common sense.


    Have you listened to any of Katherine Kellgren and Connie Willis ???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have followed Connie Willis' Oxford Historian series and marveled at her projection of primary source research onto contemporary characters' values and moral ethics. Ms. Willis covers extremes in humanity from dire to whimsical in "The Doomsday Book" and "To Say Nothing of the Dog". In this paired novel, "Black Out" and "All Clear" she spans the same depths and heights, but they combine it into one gloriously solid work that fits seamlessly.


    Any additional comments?

    If you're interested in completing one of the best time travel experiences available before Oxford comes up with the real thing, read Connie Willis' paired novels "Black Out" and "All Clear".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    simon 05-07-12
    simon 05-07-12 Member Since 2017
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    "Can't see into the future"
    What would have made Blackout better?

    do you think people in 2060 will really need to pick up a phone to get ahold of each other? I actually liked the historical stories that is the main part of this book, but without the time travel element, I don't think there is much to hold this book together. And a second novel to complete this farce? Please.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RB 04-29-12
    RB 04-29-12
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    "Endless agonizing but good basics"
    Would you try another book from Connie Willis and/or Katherine Kellgren and Connie Willis ?

    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.


    Would you recommend Blackout to your friends? Why or why not?

    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.


    What about Katherine Kellgren and Connie Willis ???s performance did you like?

    Very good narrator. Different voices done very well.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennis SCHAUMBURG, ILLINOIS, United States 03-15-12
    Dennis SCHAUMBURG, ILLINOIS, United States 03-15-12 Member Since 2006
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    "Disappointing"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine HILLSBOROUGH, NC, United States 01-28-12
    Christine HILLSBOROUGH, NC, United States 01-28-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Very satisfying!"

    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.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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