Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Blackout by Connie Willis
MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,8921383,624 (3.85)305
Authors:Connie Willis
Info:Spectra (2010), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 512 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:science fiction, Hugo winner novel, Nebula winner novel

Work details

Blackout by Connie Willis

  1. 150
    Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (loriephillips)
  2. 130
    To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (pwaites)
  3. 50
    Fire Watch by Connie Willis (clee67)
  4. 30
    Farthing by Jo Walton (SusannainSC)
  5. 20
    Ha'penny by Jo Walton (sturlington)
    sturlington: Both set in World War II-era London, one an alternate history and the other incorporating time travel.
  6. 00
    All Clear by Connie Willis (sturlington)
    sturlington: This is really one long book divided into two parts.
  7. 01
    The Little Book by Selden Edwards (becksdakex)
    becksdakex: Time travel, WWII, Change history?

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 305 mentions

English (135)  Polish (1)  German (1)  All languages (137)
Showing 1-5 of 135 (next | show all)
Substantive comment on half a novel, when I haven't yet read the second half, would be uncalled for. I will just say that (1) passing off half a novel as a whole novel would be unethical if publishers had ethics, and (2) even a publisher should be ashamed to put B-17s on the cover of a book about the London Blitz.
  sonofcarc | Apr 22, 2015 |
This was a pretty good book. It kept me interested. It was about historians who time traveled. There were three main characters Mike, Eileen and Polly. They all traveled back to different points in WWII. They weren't supposed to change anything that originally happened. I found the book very interesting. The interactions between the people in the shelters. How close they became. I guess if your stuck together night after night for hours you build a relationship with those around them. I could never begin to know what it's like to live in a country a war. I think the author did a good job portraying this. I just found the topic interesting and not something that has been written too much about. ( )
  bwhitner | Mar 28, 2015 |
An interesting historical time travel novel, although it grew a bit tedious with the multiple questioning of 'why won't the drop open?' from multiple characters. I thought initially this was the Hugo award winner book, only to learn that the sequel is. Reading the authors note at the end saying how this book grew from one into two books had me thinking that there certainly was enough to cut this one in half. Probably will have to read the second one to find out what happened that they can't be recalled back through the drop, etc. Very unsatisfying as a standalone book. ( )
  skraft001 | Dec 27, 2014 |
The idea behind this book made me snatch it off the library shelf, but I found myself completely underwhelmed by the opening-- it seemed confused and the teen cast as the main character had motives I found really unsympathetic (I want to go into the past so I grow up and... an older woman will notice me then? What?)

I might give this book another try in the future, simply because of the premise. ( )
  eaterofwords | Nov 16, 2014 |
Blackout, by Connie Willis

First Impressions:

I love time travel stories and so when I found out about Connie Willis writing one, I had to pick this up. One of my favorite books of hers was “Doomsday Book”, about historians of the late 21st century journeying back to the Black Plague and how they coped. In that story, Connie weaved a tale of a historian who got a first-hand glimpse of how hard life was, and the people she became attached to slowly died from the Plague – which she, thankfully, was inoculated from.

But I digress! The same Oxford 21st Century professor, Mr. Dunworthy from “Doomsday Book” reprises his role as various characters mingle with him and our heroes gather up their scholarly wits and go off to England during the Blitz (a horrific time, with Hitler bombing England to soften it up for invasion – which invasion thankfully never happened).

The usual format is for the historians to make their observations and return to Oxford, except something is very wrong. The portals that are supposed to open are not opening. And the retrieval team who is supposed to be coming to help in case a historian is trapped or delayed is not coming. What’s going on?

Style & Plot:

Connie writes in a way where we as readers ask the same questions as the historians in the novel – how much longer can I endure this? Why is the portal not opening? Kind of like being trapped on an island with no way off – literally.

Connie breaks the book down into three episodic narratives – Polly (her last name is Churchill, so she changes it for obvious reasons since she’s jumping into 1940), Mike and Merope (who takes the name Eileen) – and jumps to each person’s tale every other chapter. This style is new to me and took some getting used to. For example, just as Mike was shanghaied on a barely navigable boat to pick up British soldiers at Dunkirk we jump to Eileen’s problems with a measles epidemic and then I have to wait three or so chapters to get back to Mike and see what happens. I had to flip a few chapters over to catch what happened! As I said, this style of writing took some getting used to.

Time Travel Trouble:

Time travel is interesting where the historians talk of it, as being unchanging. Yet Mike saved a man who saved 500 soldiers who would have died otherwise – did this change history? Could this be why Oxford never came to retrieve them? That England had lost the war?! Nonsense, thinks Polly. Meantime, Eileen is developing shell-shock!

Exciting scenes include saving men from Dunkirk, as Mike struggles with his conscience – if he helps in the rescue, will he change history? Eileen as she deals with Alf and Binnie, two brats who cause much confusion and trouble – what is their connection in the future? And Polly, who comes across as a bit arrogant in her time-travel knowledge (example: A person will mention a place getting blown up and Polly will think “Oh, yes it will.” Willis does this several times rather than on occasion which comes across pedantic and annoying).

Bottom Line:

Despite its flaws, Blackout develops three characters that we really care about and as the three historians meet and confer and involve their 1940s friends in their lives, I get the same kind of feeling I got on “Doomsday Book” – these people of the past are not just pictures on paper or facts in a history book, but living, breathing humans. Is foreknowledge an advantage or a curse when you’re a 21st century historian?

“All Clear” which is essentially Part II of this series, not actually a sequel, follows right after “Blackout.” You can’t have one without the other, so buy both!

( )
  jmourgos | Sep 12, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 135 (next | show all)
Science fiction and the historical novel only seem to be utter opposites. I mean, future vs. past, right? In fact, the two genres are closely related. Both transport the reader to strange, disorienting worlds, where the people, beliefs and social norms are often distinctly alien to a present-day sensibility.

In certain kinds of time-travel stories, it's often difficult to tell the two genres apart. Is "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" historical fiction or proto science fiction? Certainly, Connie Willis's new novel, her first since "Passage" (2001), about near-death experiences, is as vivid an evocation of England during World War II as anyone has ever written. It's also indisputably science fiction. . . .

If you're a science-fiction fan, you'll want to read this book by one of the most honored writers in the field (10 Hugos, six Nebulas); 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.

That said, "Blackout" does end with a cliffhanger, which may leave some readers dissatisfied: The whole story won't be completely resolved till October when Ballantine/Spectra publishes a second and concluding volume titled "All-Clear." Still, this is Connie Willis, my friends, which means she's worth reading now, and she's worth reading in the future.

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Connie Willisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kellgren, KatherineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Omori, N.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Potter, J.K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
History is now and England. - T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
To Courtney and Cordelia, who always do far more than their bit.
First words
Colin tried the door, but it was locked.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
In Oxford, 2060, time-traveling historians are sent into the past so they can learn more about the events that have shaped world history, and as a new group of historians, including Merope, Michael, and Polly, travel back to World War II, they find that instead of being simple observers, their assignments are causing history to spin out of control.
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

When a time-travel lab suddenly cancels assignments for no apparent reason and switches around everyone's schedules, time-travelling historians Michael, Merope, and Polly find themselves in World War II, facing air raids, blackouts, unexploded bombs, rationing, and two of the most incorrigible children in all of history.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
755 wanted4 pay6 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.85)
1 16
1.5 5
2 33
2.5 8
3 96
3.5 53
4 244
4.5 47
5 142


2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 96,795,922 books! | Top bar: Always visible