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Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
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Doomsday Book (original 1992; edition 1994)

by Connie Willis (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,976224919 (4.14)542
Member:divinenanny
Title:Doomsday Book
Authors:Connie Willis (Author)
Info:Bantam Books (1994), New York, Mass Market Paperback, 578p.
Collections:Your library, eBooks, LonCon3, Read, Read 2010, The List, Buy and Get 2010, Readable
Rating:****
Tags:time travel, ukfeb2010, science fiction, 1400s, england, read2010, hugo, fiction, nebula, locus

Work details

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (1992)

  1. 213
    To Say Nothing of the Dog; or, How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last by Connie Willis (amberwitch, Othemts, Patangel)
    amberwitch: A much lighter story set in the same universe.
    Othemts: To Say Nothing of the Dog is a more light-hearted time travel adventure which is sort of a sequel to Doomsday Book. Both are excellent, enjoyable novels.
  2. 142
    Blackout by Connie Willis (bell7, loriephillips)
    bell7: Some characters return in this story, set in 1944 England, and involving similar themes of how people react in a crisis.
  3. 92
    Eifelheim by Michael Flynn (Ape)
    Ape: Far from identical stories, but both are sci-fi takes on the black death (Eifelheim: Aliens, Doomsday Book: Time Travel.) There are numerous similarities, and I think if you like one the other might be worth looking into.
  4. 70
    The Door into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein (Kichererbse)
  5. 92
    Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks (labfs39)
  6. 30
    The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century by Ian Mortimer (Sakerfalcon)
    Sakerfalcon: A non-fiction book about everyday life in C14th England, written as though you the reader are there. Kivrin would have found this essential reading to prepare for her journey into the past.
  7. 64
    The Time Machine by H. G. Wells (JGolomb)
  8. 20
    The Annals of Ireland by Friar John Clyn (the_awesome_opossum)
    the_awesome_opossum: The Annals of Ireland was referenced and quoted a few times in Doomsday Book
  9. 20
    Replay by Ken Grimwood (Kichererbse)
  10. 21
    Company of Liars by Karen Maitland (Othemts)
  11. 02
    Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: This is another book that really brings a period of history to life around you.
  12. 02
    The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter (JGolomb)
  13. 47
    World War Z by Max Brooks (cmbohn)
  14. 15
    Timeline by Michael Crichton (labrick)
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» See also 542 mentions

English (220)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  All languages (224)
Showing 1-5 of 220 (next | show all)
A great time-travel story with paralel descriptions of a future and a past epidemic. A great story and great book although the hungarian translation is lame a bit. ( )
1 vote TheCrow2 | Jun 16, 2014 |
Terrific story set in Willis' Oxford Time Travel universe. And you know what's going to happen, but it is still devastating when it does. Poor Kivrin. ( )
1 vote sloopjonb | Jun 7, 2014 |
In th mid-21st century, historians can travel to the past to study history as it happens. Kivrin Engels makes the first trip to the Middle Ages (it had been deemed too dangerous a destination before), and things immediately go wrong, both for her and for the historians she leaves behind in the present. As Kivrin navigates a time that seems even less familiar than it should and her colleagues back home handle a sudden flu epidemic, their stories begin to parallel one another as we see crisises handled seven hundred years apart.

The book is written pretty well (with the glaring exception of an extreme repetitiveness, especially in the medieval sections, of events, character thoughts, and even words), and one does get sort of caught up in the book, but it doesn't really DO anything. I kept waiting for a reveal (about history, about time travel, about the characters, about anything), but it never comes. The parallels between the two stories were interesting (especially those to do with faith in an unseen savior), but they never rose to the level of theme, never became what the book was about. The book is supposed to be an excellent piece of science fiction, but as the only science fictional aspect (the time travel) is never explained or explored, I don't see where it gets the label "science fiction," never mind "excellent." Disappointing, perhaps most because it comes so close to being very good indeed. ( )
2 vote lycomayflower | Jun 5, 2014 |
Historians who travel back in time necessarily take a lot of risks. But when Kivrin goes back things definitely go pear-shaped. Firstly, she arrives extremely ill, and nearly dies, and then things go from bad to worse.

Meanwhile, back in her own time, a major outbreak starts up and puts the team who she hopes will open the net to retrieve her are equally ill and have no idea that she isn’t where she should be, but is instead in the midst of the Black Death.

I can see where some people found this book repetitive and slow going. It is that, especially in the first 200 pages or so. But at the same time, it is riveting, and emotional and awesome in its breadth and depth of understanding. ( )
1 vote majkia | May 31, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 220 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Connie Willisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jacobus, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuittinen, TeroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sterlin, JennyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"And lest things which should be remembered perish with time and vanish from the memory of those who are to come after us, I, seeing so many evils and the whole world, as it were, placed within the grasp of the Evil One, being myself as if among the dead, I, waiting for death, have put into writing all the things that I have witnessed. And, lest the writing should perish with the writer and the work fail with the laborer, I leave parchment to continue this work, if perchance any man and any of the race of Adam escape this pestilence and carry on the work which I have begun . . . " - Brother John Clyn, 1349
Dedication
To Laura and Cordelia - my Kivrins
First words
Mr. Dunworthy opened the door to the laboratory and his spectacles promptly steamed up.
Quotations
I'm in a lot of trouble, Mr. Dunworthy. I don't know where I am, and I can't speak the language. Something's gone wrong with the interpreter. I can understand some of what the contemps say, but they can't understand me at all. And that's not the worst of it. I've caught some sort of disease. I don't know what it is.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553562738, Mass Market Paperback)

Connie Willis labored five years on this story of a history student in 2048 who is transported to an English village in the 14th century. The student arrives mistakenly on the eve of the onset of the Black Plague. Her dealings with a family of "contemps" in 1348 and with her historian cohorts lead to complications as the book unfolds into a surprisingly dark, deep conclusion. The book, which won Hugo and Nebula Awards, draws upon Willis' understanding of the universalities of human nature to explore the ageless issues of evil, suffering and the indomitable will of the human spirit.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:56 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A time-traveler is stranded in medieval Europe during the Black Death.

(summary from another edition)

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