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Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

Doomsday Book (original 1992; edition 1994)

by Connie Willis (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,050228892 (4.13)564
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
Tags:time travel, ukfeb2010, science fiction, 1400s, england, read2010, hugo, fiction, nebula, locus

Work details

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (1992)

Recently added byprivate library, TheoClarke, isis27, kaonevar, Dobbie, wjmcomposer, nysmith, con_girl
  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. 40
    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. 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
  8. 20
    Replay by Ken Grimwood (Kichererbse)
  9. 21
    Company of Liars by Karen Maitland (Othemts)
  10. 00
    The Plague by Albert Camus (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Two books that depict how communities deal with plagues.
  11. 66
    The Time Machine by H. G. Wells (JGolomb)
  12. 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.
  13. 02
    The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter (JGolomb)
  14. 47
    World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks (cmbohn)
  15. 15
    Timeline by Michael Crichton (labrick)

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» See also 564 mentions

English (223)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  All languages (227)
Showing 1-5 of 223 (next | show all)
I enjoyed the book more than I expected to when I began, and can definitely agree that it earned the awards that it received. I keep finding myself going back and thinking of the characters, interactions and motivations long after I've. Printed in the early 90's, a few things date the book, such as characters waiting around for phone calls. This is completely understandable, given that cell phone technology was still in its infancy, and does not detract from the content at all.

Recommended! ( )
  zephyrsky | Sep 30, 2014 |
This is a very moving book -so much so that I didn't read any novels for a couple of days after finishing this. I just needed to give the characters in this one some time.

The only real flaw is that Oxford in the near future of 2050, feels awfully like Oxford of 1980 with added digital watches and electric kettles. The academic environment has a sense of being timeless (which I rather like - I think Lord Peter Whimsey would have felt right at home)

The sections set in the past feel very very real. The characters live and breathe, and when they die, you feel it.

It's a book I definitely recommend, for the characters and the historical detail.

I wish the blurb on the back of the book didn't confirm one of the main plot points, as the author manages to keep the characters (and thus the reader) in suspense for a long time as to the nature and cause of the illnesses in the present and the past. ( )
  JudithProctor | Sep 21, 2014 |
Quick review on this one. I read this book before several years ago and it's an unusual take on time travel. In the book, time travel is used by scholars to investigate and report back about certain periods of time. One such scholar wants to check out the Middle Ages but she's accidentally placed into the middle of the Black Plague near Oxford. Fortunately she has been innoculated against it, but the people of the past have not, and to her consternation, are dropping like flies.

Back at Oxford of the 21st century, people are dying from a virulent version of the flu. Connie Willis writes in a diary style that is both interesting and provocative. I really liked the story and plan to read it again!

( )
  jmourgos | Sep 12, 2014 |
If Willis had stuck to the story of Kivrin getting stuck in 1348 England and adapting to life there, this would have been a great book. But the story set in 2054, the time from which Kivrin originally comes, and the academic infighting, the health emergency and .... oh *sigh* that part was poorly written and *boring.* Willis spent so much time pointing out one of the character's Christmas Gift muffler/scarf I was convinced it had something to do with the reason Kivrin was stuck.

How this won a Hugo and Nebula is truly beyond me. ( )
  AuntieClio | Sep 8, 2014 |
One of the very best science fiction books (time-travel) I have ever read. In this book, Willis addresses and captures not only the profound differences between life in one time period and another, but also the unexpected universals. Doomsday Book takes place in the world of the lighter, but equally captivating, "To Say Nothing of the Dog." My knowledge of the time and place is limited, but Willis's research and presentation of the history seems extremely thorough and its depiction is completely convincing, as is her depiction of her characters. The story itself is moving, sometimes shocking, beautifully structured. ( )
  NatalieSW | Aug 20, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 223 (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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"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
To Laura and Cordelia - my Kivrins
First words
Mr. Dunworthy opened the door to the laboratory and his spectacles promptly steamed up.
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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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 grim story of a 21st century academic marooned in a 14th century English village being ravaged by the Black Death. Willis' story is the greatest post-modern time travel story of them all, a novel that combines a genre work with all the required components and a tour de force piece of storytelling.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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