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All Clear by Connie Willis
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All Clear (edition 2012)

by Connie Willis

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1,4511105,161 (4.06)267
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. 10
    11/22/63 by Stephen King (Navarone)
  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 267 mentions

English (109)  Swedish (1)  All languages (110)
Showing 1-5 of 109 (next | show all)
Sorry--much as I love Connie Willis, the release date of this book was so long since the last one I had forgotten who everyone was and what particular fix they were left hanging in so I was confused and lost the entire time. I hate, hate, hate the current trend of writing strings of books that are conceived as one long story without some kind of resolution at the end of each book. ( )
  JudyGibson | Jul 17, 2016 |
All Clear – Connie Willis
Audio performance by Katherine Kelligren
4 stars

What if…, what if….. what if…… and more what if ?

The saga continues, WWII continues and the perpetual circular self-talk continues.

The actual story line of this sequel is action packed historical fiction. The three trapped time travelers band together as they become less detached observers and more active participants in the war effort. Tube station shelters, evacuated children, volunteer ambulance drivers and the covert war are all depicted with humor and pathos. The disjointed time lines begin to straighten out as everything is revealed. The ending was very sentimental, but that felt appropriate.
As I listened to Katherine Kelligren, I learned to ignore the endless internal self-questioning that these time travelers indulge in. (Actually, my mind began to wander. I imagined a Jasper Fford type of therapy session for time traveling characters in which Clare Fraser of Gabaldon’s Outlander series could give Willis’ Merope and Polly some practical, mental health advice.) Kelligren did a fabulous job of voicing the numerous characters and creating the continual sense of impending danger. I did feel as if I’d spent hours and hours with someone yelling at me, but that is a natural consequence of someone speaking over the noise of bombs and air raid sirens.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
Only fans of Connie Willis’s previous books about time traveling Oxford historians: The Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Fire Watch, and this story’s first half, BlackOut (like myself) will enjoy another volume about the harried interns stranded in World War II London.

Once again, Willis demonstrates her subtle genius for dropping clues in the midst of the overwhelming, often hilarious, red tape of ordinary life. In this volume all the loose threads are tied up and the pattern in the chaos is revealed – unfortunately, there is a lot of chaff to go through and I fear most readers will not have the patience. Willis is truly at her best in the short story format, if you have not read Impossible Things, please run out and get a copy.
( )
  memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
This is not a stand alone book. It continues from where the story ended in Black Out. It felt too long but was enjoyable ( )
  bradylouie | Apr 27, 2016 |
Note: This review may contain spoilers for Blackout.

Historians Eileen, Mike, and Polly have finally found each other in the midst of the London Blitz. But while each had hoped that finding the others would allow them to finally go back to Oxford in 2060, they quickly realize that the drops that will allow them to time travel back are still not working. As they grapple with the reality that the likely reason for their inability to travel back is that they have altered the past and caused the Allies to lose the war, they must continue to carry on like everyone else around them. But is time travel really as clear cut as that? In a chaotic system, not everything is as it seems.

Picking up immediately after Blackout, this second half of the duology is a fantastic bit of time travel writing. With immersive historical detail of the realities of London during the Blitz, there is also the building tension as Eileen, Mike, and Polly desperately attempt to get back to their own time. I highly recommend reading the two novels back-to-back as the novels are really more like two volumes rather than two separate books. With the tension caused by the events of the Blitz as well as the trio of historians own quest the book barrels along at a fantastic pace with a lovely resolution that I stayed up late to finish. Even better than my expectations for this book. ( )
  MickyFine | Apr 12, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 109 (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 editionsconfirmed
Brock, ChalresCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kellgren, KatherineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kennedy, SteveDesignersecondary 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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