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Fire Watch [short story] by Connie Willis
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Fire Watch [short story] (1982)

by Connie Willis

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Showing 5 of 5
Connie Willis’ Fire Watch begins her Oxford Time Travel series by focusing on a time traveling historian who visits St. Paul’s Cathedral during the Blitz after a computer error changes his assignment from visiting St. Paul to visiting the cathedral named after him. The story includes characters that appear in other stories, such as Mr. Dunworthy and Kivrin Engle, with Kivrin preparing for the assignment she undertook in the subsequent novel, Doomsday Book (pg. 74). As much as the historian muses on the nature of time travel, he also admits “there are no guidelines for historians, and no restrictions either” (pg. 28). Willis explains how the Oxford History Department of the future encodes information using endorphins (pg. 18) while describing the destruction of St. Paul’s Cathedral in 2007 (pg. 74) as the result of disgruntled communists after the fall of the Soviet Union (pg. 50). As Willis originally published this story in 1982, the events are somewhat dated, but that doesn’t affect the emotional weight of them based on the quality of her character-building. Those who enjoy the other books in the Oxford Time Travel series will enjoy seeing how it all began—and enjoy the connections to later novels Blackout and All Clear—while fans of historical fiction or sci-fi will like Willis’ world-building. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Jul 12, 2018 |
[b:Fire Watch|24986|Fire Watch|Connie Willis|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1339503624s/24986.jpg|2324159] did an excellent job of establishing the Oxford Time Travel series. It did an even better job of bringing home just how terrifying WWII England was, and how largely damaged and broken London was by the experience. [a:Connie Willis|14032|Connie Willis|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1199238234p2/14032.jpg] does a beautiful job of bringing morality and feeling back into history, and breathing life into the experiences and statistics so commonly touted about.

It's chilling and heartbreaking, and makes the rest of the series that much more moving to read. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
This novelette which won the both Hugo and Nebula, serves as a good primer to [a:Connie Willis|14032|Connie Willis|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1199238234p2/14032.jpg]'s works.

I just read [b:To Say Nothing of the Dog|77773|To Say Nothing of the Dog (Oxford Time Travel, #2)|Connie Willis|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327943222s/77773.jpg|696] a few days ago, so I thought it would be good to read this novelette before reading [b:Doomsday Book|24983|Doomsday Book (Oxford Time Travel, #1)|Connie Willis|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1332036910s/24983.jpg|2439628].

But my advice to anyone interested in her books would be to start directly with [b:To Say Nothing of the Dog|77773|To Say Nothing of the Dog (Oxford Time Travel, #2)|Connie Willis|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327943222s/77773.jpg|696] or [b:Doomsday Book|24983|Doomsday Book (Oxford Time Travel, #1)|Connie Willis|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1332036910s/24983.jpg|2439628]. Arguably, these two books could be considered to be her best efforts. ( )
  Veeralpadhiar | Mar 31, 2013 |
This was my first Willis read, and I quite enjoyed it. It's a story about time travel, and the main character goes back in time to the Blitz and is put on the fire watch for St. Paul's cathedral (for some kind of Time Travel U degree - it's basically his final exam).

It was good, Willis handles time travel well. Apparently characters from her novels are in this story, so I will look forward to reading it again after I've read those.

I would have probably enjoyed this story more if I hadn't just read a series of stories/novels that seemed to have sucker punched me emotionally. This story doesn't give me a strong emotional reaction, and so I can't say I really enjoyed it more (though I did enjoy the break). ( )
  suzemo | Mar 31, 2013 |
This was my first Willis read, and I quite enjoyed it. It's a story about time travel, and the main character goes back in time to the Blitz and is put on the fire watch for St. Paul's cathedral (for some kind of Time Travel U degree - it's basically his final exam).

It was good, Willis handles time travel well. Apparently characters from her novels are in this story, so I will look forward to reading it again after I've read those.

I would have probably enjoyed this story more if I hadn't just read a series of stories/novels that seemed to have sucker punched me emotionally. This story doesn't give me a strong emotional reaction, and so I can't say I really enjoyed it more (though I did enjoy the break). ( )
  suzemo | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 5 of 5
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September 20 -- Of course the first thing I looked for was the fire watch stone.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the entry for the novelette. Please don't combine it with the collection.
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