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Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
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Doomsday Book (original 1992; edition 1993)

by Connie Willis

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,240236848 (4.12)631
Member:gambistics
Title:Doomsday Book
Authors:Connie Willis
Info:Spectra (1993), Mass Market Paperback, 592 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (1992)

  1. 223
    To Say Nothing of the Dog 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. 102
    Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (labfs39)
  4. 70
    The Door into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein (Kichererbse)
  5. 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.
  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. 30
    Replay by Ken Grimwood (Kichererbse)
  8. 20
    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (Rubbah)
    Rubbah: Both amazing books featuring dangerous flu like viruses and how people cope in emergency situations
  9. 10
    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
  10. 11
    Company of Liars by Karen Maitland (Othemts)
  11. 66
    The Time Machine by H. G. Wells (JGolomb)
  12. 00
    The Plague by Albert Camus (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Two books that depict how communities deal with plagues.
  13. 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.
  14. 02
    The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter (JGolomb)
  15. 47
    World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks (cmbohn)
  16. 15
    Timeline by Michael Crichton (labrick)
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» See also 631 mentions

English (232)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  All languages (236)
Showing 1-5 of 232 (next | show all)
It has been years since I read this book and I have yet to recover. Never was so much taken from so many by so few--actually, by one.

This entire plot is balanced like an upside-down pyramid on a few missed phone calls. Just one pickup and the whole novel vanishes. Would that it had. ( )
  tsgood | Aug 22, 2015 |
Doomsday Book takes place in the future at a time when historians study history by traveling back in time. In this book, Kivran travels back to the Middle Ages where she immediately falls ill. Simultaneously, an epidemic begins to spread among her colleagues in the time from which she came. Mayhem follows.

Like other reviewers said, this book would have benefited from quite a bit of editing. The beginning drags on and on. About halfway through the book, things finally started happening, and I really enjoyed it from that point on. If the book had been about half as long, it would be a four star book. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
Time-travel goes wrong and strands a historian in 14th century England right as the plague begins.
"... the Black Death. It had started in China in 1333, and moved west on trading ships to Messina in Sicily and from there to Pisa. It had spread through Italy and France - eighty thousand dead in Siena, a hundred thousand in Florence, three hundred thousand in Rome - before it crossed the Channel. It had reached England in 1348, 'a little before the Feast of St. John the Baptist,' the twenty-fourth of June." (279)
The types of plague: "... one went directly into the bloodstream and killed the victim within hours. Bubonic plague was spread by rat fleas, and that was the kind that produced the buboes. The other kind was pneumonic, and it didn't have buboes. The victim coughed and vomited up blood, and that was spread by droplet infection and was horribly contagious. But the clerk had the bubonic, and that wasn't as contagious. Simply being near the patient wouldn't do it - the flea had to jump from one person to another." (417)
  maryoverton | Aug 7, 2015 |
I didn't really know what to expect from this one, but it turned out pretty good. Symbolic bells, fighting disease, searching for answers and working with assumptions are found in both aspects of the story: Kirvin's time travel to 1320 and Dunsworthy's struggle back in the "contemporary" time. Okay, the characters are rather one dimensional: what you see is what you get, and there's not a ton of growth in any of them. Many of them are stereotypes (both in the historical and contemporary stories), but the plot is woven well, going back and forth between the two stories, slowly revealing information and building tension and suspense. Nothing of literary quality, but delightful and informative storytelling, a great mix of history and sci-fi. ( )
  LDVoorberg | Jul 27, 2015 |
Apocalyptic! Set in 2025, historians are using time travel to verify the accuracy of history. Something goes wrong and our protagonist ends up in the middle of a plague while back in England there is an epidemic. Very good. The audio was well done.

This is a fantastic story that is set in 2025 in England. Academia uses time travel to verify history. Kivrin is proposing to travel to England to study the middle ages. She is to arrive in the early 1300s before the plague but something goes awry. As she leaves 2025, an epidemic breaks out and things are in chaos. No one knows that Kivrin has actually arrived in the middle of the plague, in fact the net has been turned off and she can't get back. It really is a parallel universe with 2025 and 1348 mirroring each other. The characters are well developed and interesting. I read someone else's comment (not sure where) that stated that unlike other science fiction writers, Willis' characters are likable (or not), real and well developed. In this book, the author explores evil, suffering, the strength of the human spirit. In this way, it could be contemporary as it was written not that long ago and looks at issues that are of concern today but I feel it is stronger as historical fiction and science fiction/fantasy. If a person doesn't like reading science fiction, this is a book that would be easy to swallow and totally enjoyable. ( )
1 vote Kristelh | May 29, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 232 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Connie Willisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carella, MariaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jacobus, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuittinen, TeroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marín Trechera, RafaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sterlin, JennyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
van Son, TomTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vanderstelt, JerryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll, Jamie S. WarrenCover designersecondary 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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:05 -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 3 descriptions

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