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Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

Doomsday Book (1992)

by Connie Willis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Oxford Time Travel series (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,230235849 (4.12)629
  1. 223
    To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (amberwitch, Othemts, Patangel)
    amberwitch: A much lighter story set in the same universe.
    Othemts: To Say Nothing of the Dog is a more light-hearted time travel adventure which is sort of a sequel to Doomsday Book. Both are excellent, enjoyable novels.
  2. 142
    Blackout by Connie Willis (bell7, loriephillips)
    bell7: Some characters return in this story, set in 1944 England, and involving similar themes of how people react in a crisis.
  3. 102
    Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (labfs39)
  4. 70
    The Door into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein (Kichererbse)
  5. 92
    Eifelheim by Michael Flynn (Ape)
    Ape: Far from identical stories, but both are sci-fi takes on the black death (Eifelheim: Aliens, Doomsday Book: Time Travel.) There are numerous similarities, and I think if you like one the other might be worth looking into.
  6. 40
    The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century by Ian Mortimer (Sakerfalcon)
    Sakerfalcon: A non-fiction book about everyday life in C14th England, written as though you the reader are there. Kivrin would have found this essential reading to prepare for her journey into the past.
  7. 30
    Replay by Ken Grimwood (Kichererbse)
  8. 10
    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (Rubbah)
    Rubbah: Both amazing books featuring dangerous flu like viruses and how people cope in emergency situations
  9. 10
    The Annals of Ireland by Friar John Clyn (the_awesome_opossum)
    the_awesome_opossum: The Annals of Ireland was referenced and quoted a few times in Doomsday Book
  10. 11
    Company of Liars by Karen Maitland (Othemts)
  11. 66
    The Time Machine by H. G. Wells (JGolomb)
  12. 00
    The Plague by Albert Camus (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Two books that depict how communities deal with plagues.
  13. 02
    Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: This is another book that really brings a period of history to life around you.
  14. 02
    The Time Ships by Stephen Baxter (JGolomb)
  15. 47
    World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks (cmbohn)
  16. 15
    Timeline by Michael Crichton (labrick)

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» See also 629 mentions

English (230)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  All languages (234)
Showing 1-5 of 230 (next | show all)
I didn't really know what to expect from this one, but it turned out pretty good. Symbolic bells, fighting disease, searching for answers and working with assumptions are found in both aspects of the story: Kirvin's time travel to 1320 and Dunsworthy's struggle back in the "contemporary" time. Okay, the characters are rather one dimensional: what you see is what you get, and there's not a ton of growth in any of them. Many of them are stereotypes (both in the historical and contemporary stories), but the plot is woven well, going back and forth between the two stories, slowly revealing information and building tension and suspense. Nothing of literary quality, but delightful and informative storytelling, a great mix of history and sci-fi. ( )
  LDVoorberg | Jul 27, 2015 |
Apocalyptic! Set in 2025, historians are using time travel to verify the accuracy of history. Something goes wrong and our protagonist ends up in the middle of a plague while back in England there is an epidemic. Very good. The audio was well done.

This is a fantastic story that is set in 2025 in England. Academia uses time travel to verify history. Kivrin is proposing to travel to England to study the middle ages. She is to arrive in the early 1300s before the plague but something goes awry. As she leaves 2025, an epidemic breaks out and things are in chaos. No one knows that Kivrin has actually arrived in the middle of the plague, in fact the net has been turned off and she can't get back. It really is a parallel universe with 2025 and 1348 mirroring each other. The characters are well developed and interesting. I read someone else's comment (not sure where) that stated that unlike other science fiction writers, Willis' characters are likable (or not), real and well developed. In this book, the author explores evil, suffering, the strength of the human spirit. In this way, it could be contemporary as it was written not that long ago and looks at issues that are of concern today but I feel it is stronger as historical fiction and science fiction/fantasy. If a person doesn't like reading science fiction, this is a book that would be easy to swallow and totally enjoyable. ( )
1 vote Kristelh | May 29, 2015 |
It's December 2054. Oxford history student Kivrin Engle will be spending her Christmas holidays in a nearby village...in the year 1320. Kivrin thinks she's prepared for any eventuality. That doesn't prevent her former tutor, Dunworthy, from worrying. He doesn't fully trust Gilchrist, who is acting head of the history department while the head is on a fishing vacation somewhere in Scotland. As it turns out, Dunworthy was right to worry. Things begin to go wrong in Oxford almost as soon as Kivrin goes through the net to the Middle Ages, and the Christmas holidays further complicate a situation that grows worse by the minute. Kivrin has growing worries of her own, particularly after she discovers that she landed not in December 1320, but in December 1348...when the Black Death reached Oxford and its environs...

The story alternates smoothly between past and future. While the time travel aspect still feels futuristic, unfortunately the pandemic scenario does not with the recent Ebola outbreak reaching all the way to Europe and the United States. Telecommunications technology is the most glaring anomaly in the future section of the novel. Telephones include video, but they're all landlines. Mobile phone use wasn't nearly as widespread when this book was first published as it is more than twenty years later, but it did exist then, and I would have thought anyone imagining the future at that time would anticipate its growth, if not its explosion within the next decade.

Several characteristics of this book will appeal to readers who normally don't read science fiction or fantasy. Many historical fiction fans will like the focus on the Middle Ages. YA readers will identify with Kivrin and 12-year-old Colin, who has a prominent role in the story. Readers whose interests lean more towards literary fiction may appreciate the imagery and themes woven throughout the book that provoke reflection on religious faith and doubt, research and medical ethics, and culture. ( )
3 vote cbl_tn | May 6, 2015 |

Good story, adventurous and thought-provoking. Though too long for my taste and not my favorite genre, I had trouble putting it down. Recommended.
( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
Didn't finish, just read the summary. The writing makes this book unreadable. ( )
  kenzen | Feb 23, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 230 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Connie Willisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jacobus, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kuittinen, TeroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sterlin, JennyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"And lest things which should be remembered perish with time and vanish from the memory of those who are to come after us, I, seeing so many evils and the whole world, as it were, placed within the grasp of the Evil One, being myself as if among the dead, I, waiting for death, have put into writing all the things that I have witnessed. And, lest the writing should perish with the writer and the work fail with the laborer, I leave parchment to continue this work, if perchance any man and any of the race of Adam escape this pestilence and carry on the work which I have begun . . . " - Brother John Clyn, 1349
To Laura and Cordelia - my Kivrins
First words
Mr. Dunworthy opened the door to the laboratory and his spectacles promptly steamed up.
I'm in a lot of trouble, Mr. Dunworthy. I don't know where I am, and I can't speak the language. Something's gone wrong with the interpreter. I can understand some of what the contemps say, but they can't understand me at all. And that's not the worst of it. I've caught some sort of disease. I don't know what it is.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553562738, Mass Market Paperback)

Connie Willis labored five years on this story of a history student in 2048 who is transported to an English village in the 14th century. The student arrives mistakenly on the eve of the onset of the Black Plague. Her dealings with a family of "contemps" in 1348 and with her historian cohorts lead to complications as the book unfolds into a surprisingly dark, deep conclusion. The book, which won Hugo and Nebula Awards, draws upon Willis' understanding of the universalities of human nature to explore the ageless issues of evil, suffering and the indomitable will of the human spirit.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:05 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A grim story of a 21st century academic marooned in a 14th century English village being ravaged by the Black Death. Willis' story is the greatest post-modern time travel story of them all, a novel that combines a genre work with all the required components and a tour de force piece of storytelling.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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