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All Clear by Connie Willis

All Clear (edition 2011)

by Connie Willis (Author)

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1,7231286,159 (4.07)319
Title:All Clear
Authors:Connie Willis (Author)
Info:Gateway (2011), 802 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:science fiction, connie willis, 2019 : my reads

Work details

All Clear by Connie Willis

  1. 20
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  2. 10
    11/22/63: A Novel by Stephen King (Navarone)
  3. 10
    The Little Book by Selden Edwards (becksdakex)
    becksdakex: Time travel, WWII, change history?
  4. 02
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    sturlington: Referenced several times in All Clear.

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» See also 319 mentions

English (127)  Swedish (1)  All languages (128)
Showing 1-5 of 127 (next | show all)
After spending 1,000? pgs w/ these characters you'd think you'd find some affection growing toward them. But I feel nothing for these characters.

You'd think you'd love or hate London or at least know your way around a little bit, nothing there either the city and its neighborhoods and distances remains a named place not a known place.

On a scale of 1-10 I'd give Blackout and All Clear a 2 for character development, a 2 for developing the characters' visual and physical world, a 6 for plot dev, and a 7 for structure.

Avg score = 4.3 sigh. ( )
  nkmunn | Nov 17, 2018 |
Well, it is a comedy after all. ( )
1 vote Jon_Hansen | Oct 15, 2018 |
In All Clear, Hugo and Nebula Award winner Connie Willis concludes her two-part novel about time traveling historians stuck in World War II England. The first novel, Blackout introduced historians Michael Davies, Merope Ward, and Polly Churchill, who travel from 2060 Oxford to 1940 London, Dover, and Backbury. Events colluded to prevent all three from returning to their own time when they should and Michael and Merope converge on London to seek Polly's help.

This second part begins with them attempting to survive the Blitz and worrying about how their actions could impact the outcome of the war. Willis rarely describes exactly how time travel works in her novels, but the concept of slippage recurs. Slippage is when an historian arrives before or after the time to which they intended to go and, as it becomes clearer and clearer that the historians are influencing events, the head of Oxford's time travel program postulates that "it wasn't a line of defense guarding against damage we might do to the continuum. It was a rearguard action against an attack that had already happened—an attempt to hold a castle whose walls had already been breached" (pg. 398). The historians must grapple with the uncertainty of chaos theory and decide what to do as it appears they are stuck in one of the most critical times in modern history.

Willis expertly researched her period and the focus on the ordinary heroism of everyday people is certainly entertaining, but the story feels rather unnecessarily long at points, as characters find their attempts to get back to their own time thwarted again and again. One interesting element is Willis' moving backward and forward in time as Polly had visited World War II out-of-order, with a trip to VE-Day, to 1944, and then to the Blitz. Similarly, Michael's story jumps around in time a bit between "contemporary" events and those that occur later, but are connected. This may be disconcerting for casual readers, but the connections are rewarding as they become apparent. Those who enjoy Willis' writing will find plenty to enjoy here and the story has a rewarding conclusion for those who stick through till the end. She endows her characters, even minor ones, with such life that one cannot help but become invested in them. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Jul 6, 2018 |
When I finished Blackout I was thoroughly ticked off at Connie Willis. Seriously, Blackout is not really a novel; it's half of a novel. It just stops at the end. It was ridiculous and I have no idea what Willis and her publishers were thinking.

Having said that, now that I've read All Clear, the second half of Blackout, all is forgiven. It took me several pages to get caught back up--because I do not have instant recall of a several-hundred page book that I read eight months ago--but once I did I really was swept into the book and found it incredibly difficult to put down. Yes, the two books should have been edited down into one; yes, you could probably cut 300 pages of near-misses and searches for drops and Alf-and-Binnie escapades and not miss a thing. But the ending of All Clear is so good, and I loved seeing all the plot strands resolve themselves. I only wish that the editing had been stronger; this might have been Willis's finest novel. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
The time travel in Blackout/All Clear didn't feel like a natural evolution from To Say Nothing of the Dog. It felt for most of it like they should be taking place before To Say Nothing of the Dog, actually, based on their time travel theories. At over a thousand pages, it did definitely start to feel repetitive. ( )
  natcontrary | May 21, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 127 (next | show all)
For this reviewer, it’s not every day these days that a book arrives that makes you want to jump in the minute it lands at the doorstep. However, after my review of Black Out (the first part of this duology, reviewed HERE) this is one for me. Like many other Connie Willis fans, this book’s been a long time a-waiting for.

After the cliff-hanger ending of the first part, we get straight back into the tale. There’s a little bit of reminding of what went before (note: do read the first book first!) but pretty soon we’re back into the WW2 dilemma of Polly, Mary, and Mike. This can be a little confusing if it’s been a while since you read Black Out: you really do need to read this as one continuous novel.

The complexities of the time travel element become a little more involved here as the apparent changes in Black Out have their effect. We now find that there is a great deal of slippage: over four years, when the longest previously was about six months. Mr Dunworthy finds himself entering the fray from 2060, Mary finds herself involved with an RAF officer, whilst Mike, in his search for Gerald Phipps, finds himself at Bletchley Park and intermixing with the mathematicians involved in the ultra-secret Enigma code-breaking project. There’s also the welcome return of a character from the beginning of Black Out who has a pivotal part to play in this tale.

So we’re combining Enigma or Cryptonomicon with our previous tale. This gives Connie a chance to get away from the seemingly endless bombing of London and the London Underground shelters and tell of the quiet war, with Alan Turing and his team working in intense secret, on devising a computer/machine to be able to break the German’s unbreakable codes.

This is great fun. We also switch between times, as Phipps is in 1944 looking at the Normandy invasions and setting up false trails for the Germans.

However, by this stage it’s not easy to keep all those plot threads going. The Enigma tale is soon forgotten as we look to wider issues and the future. Managing that great balance between telling a tale in a historical context and giving readers a feel of what the place was like in the 1940’s is not easy. To say that Willis manages this is a great achievement.

On the negative side there’s a lot more running from place to place and an increasingly frustrating inability to get to drop zones. This is explained as the tale progresses - it’s all part of the book’s plan – but at times, whilst entertaining, it all seems (until the end) as a little unnecessary.

I’m also not sure that all this running around during bombing raids, and leaving messages for people about V1 and V2 attacks could have been got away with without someone becoming suspicious.

Nevertheless, by that end, the reader may feel, as I did, that they have been through a lot. There is love, death, sacrifice and complications within complications, and yet, in the end, the overall feeling is one of optimism and hope. The difficulties of the war in 1940’s England may have been replaced by bombings and global change in 2060, yet the endurance of the human condition comes through. This is a book that not only appreciates the sacrifices of the past but is a testament to endurance against crushing difficulties. What this book celebrates is that heroism comes in many ways, and not just the big heroic acts but the many minor actions often overlooked.

Whilst it is rather long – clearly a tale that grew in the telling – it is still a wonderfully worthwhile read. Most fans of Connie Willis will not be disappointed. This is a pleasure, from a formidable writer whose storytelling skills are still a treat. I’m very pleased to write that this book sustains its tale for over 1000 pages and it is a wonderfully thrilling and compelling immersive story with characters you care about.

Please don’t leave it so long before the next tale, Connie.

added by PLReader | editSFF World, Mark Yon (Dec 2, 2010)

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Connie Willisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brock, ChalresCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kellgren, KatherineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kennedy, SteveDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Omori, N.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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You will make all kinds of mistakes; but as long as you are generous and true, and also fierce, you cannot hurt the world or even seriously distress her. --Winston Churchill
To all the ambulance drivers, firewatchers, air-raid wardens, nurses, canteen workers, airplane spotters, rescue workere, mathematicians, vicars, vergers, shopgirls, chorus girls, librarians, debutantes, spinsters, fishermen, retired sailors, servants, evacuees, Shakespearean actors, and mystery novelists who won the war.
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By noon Michael and Merope still hadn't returned from Stepney, and Polly was beginning to get really worried.
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When three Oxford historians become unexpectedly trapped in 1940, they struggle not only to find their way home but to survive as Hitler's bombers attempt to pummel London into submission. Meanwhile, in 2060 Oxford, the historians' supervisor and seventeen-year-old Colin Templer are engaged in a frantic and seemingly impossible struggle to find them.… (more)

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