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All Clear by Connie Willis
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All Clear (edition 2012)

by Connie Willis

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1,321985,899 (4.07)237
Member:littlebookworm
Title:All Clear
Authors:Connie Willis
Info:Gollancz (2012), Paperback, 800 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:read 2013, sci-fi

Work details

All Clear by Connie Willis

  1. 20
    Farthing by Jo Walton (ryvre)
  2. 00
    Blackout by Connie Willis (sturlington)
    sturlington: This is really one long book divided into two parts.
  3. 00
    The Little Book by Selden Edwards (becksdakex)
    becksdakex: Time travel, WWII, change history?
  4. 02
    The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie (sturlington)
    sturlington: Referenced several times in All Clear.
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» See also 237 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 98 (next | show all)
The initial piquancy of my contempt for this book has faded (couldn't even sustain my contempt) and I can't be arsed to tear it a new one (arse, that is), but do let me solemnly affirm that it has all the discouraging flaws of its predecessor, Blackout (tabulated in my review of that book, if you care), and that none of the stuff you hope is on a slow burn ever pays off, and the thing where it's like "she had a bad feeling he had been on that bus--and he had! but no! that was another dude who looked like him! but wait, he was right behind that dude! but it's okay, he was okay! but no he has internal injuries but the doctor will make him better but he will take a turn for the worse and die but we will save him because time travel but oh it was all a dream, that thing is absolutely compulsive and on every page (basically, whatever she says, it's the opposite, for 700 pages). Um, and her view of history is like, WWII-->9/11-->"the terrorists blow up St. Paul's with future tech"-->???-->undergrad time travel utopia. And but worst of all, though, the book almost came up with a novel take on timestream physics: we know about the time travel where you can kill Hitler as a baby and change the world, and the one where you can't because it is ordained, and the one where you create an alternate universe and so on, but Willis stood perched on the edge of a really good idea, where we can go back and change things but then the timestream weaves us into its fibres and mends the tear we made, uses us to get everything back on the track it was on, keeping us from going home. Kinda cool, right? Only her take is not fixing the tapestry, not things go the way they go because they are threads and have trajectories and the warp and weft guide the perpetual production of the fabric of things; no, instead things go the way they go because that's how it was "meant to be" because God said so. Germany can't win because the moral universe will prevent it. I wish I could go back in time and not read this book. ( )
  MeditationesMartini | Jun 27, 2015 |
Wow! Such a rich tapestry of a story. I couldn't put it down because I wanted to find out how the story turned out, but in my hurry I missed so much. I look forward to rereading it to more fully unpack and savor the book.

"All Clear" is the second half of the story begun in Connie Willis' book, "Blackout." I've read somewhere that Willis considers this one book/story and not two and it is essential for the reader to begin with Blackout.

This book earned five stars because it is well-written, entertaining and thought-provoking. ( )
  pmackey | May 21, 2015 |
This was a really good book, but I wonder if there is going to be a sequel. She really leaves you hanging at the end with the Collin reference. This book is about historians who time travel and their drops don't work. They are all stuck in the Blitz trying to find a way out. The ending was a bit sad. Not teary sad but sad. I really liked the movement of the book. It always kept me interested. ( )
  bwhitner | May 2, 2015 |
Wonderful audio book! I've read it before (and will again I'm sure). ( )
  mrklingon | Jan 2, 2015 |
I don’t think I’ve ever been so sad to leave a set of characters behind. After spending more than 1,000 pages with them between All Clear and its predecessor Blackout, most of it set during the Blitz of London with lots of high tension twists and turns, heartaches and triumphs, I feel like we’ve been through the war together and it’s hard to let go. With three time traveling historians as protagonists and numerous less prominent but well developed supporting characters, both books have lots of varied Blitz experiences for readers to live through vicariously.

While at times the narrative seemed overly long, Willis is highly skilled at weaving plot lines together and involving you deeply in her characters’ lives such that the ending is a masterpiece of emotional catharsis. A distracted and clumsy Alan Turing, the code breaking genius of Bletchley Park, is among the notables who make brief cameo appearances, but most of the story involves ordinary people and their everyday acts of determined coping and homefront heroism. I listened to the audio version of All Clear and the narrator is absolutely wonderful and so very good at creating different voices that I still hear her in my head when reading the text. ( )
  Jaylia3 | Oct 4, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 98 (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 (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Connie Willisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kellgren, KatherineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Omori, N.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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
Dedication
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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