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Blackout

by Connie Willis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: All Clear (1), Oxford Time Travel (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,1172124,142 (3.82)504
When a time-travel lab suddenly cancels assignments for no apparent reason and switches around everyone's schedules, time-traveling historians Michael, Merope, and Polly find themselves in World War II, facing air raids, blackouts, unexploded bombs, dive-bombing Stukas, rationing, shrapnel, V-1s, and two of the most incorrigible children in all of history--to say nothing of a growing feeling that not only their assignments but the war and history itself are spiraling out of control.… (more)
  1. 150
    To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (pwaites)
  2. 60
    Fire Watch by Connie Willis (clee67)
  3. 30
    Farthing by Jo Walton (SusannainSC)
  4. 20
    11/22/63 by Stephen King (Navarone)
    Navarone: Both books are about time travel and how the future is affected due to the actions you make.
  5. 01
    The Little Book by Selden Edwards (becksdakex)
    becksdakex: Time travel, WWII, Change history?
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» See also 504 mentions

English (207)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  Polish (1)  All languages (211)
Showing 1-5 of 207 (next | show all)
I was really excited about Blackout: a new Connie Willis novel set in the Doomsday Book/To Say Nothing of the Dog world, focused on Willis' favorite period in history: the Blitz.

And Blackout is good. It focuses on the stories of three main historians as they travel to different parts of England during 1940 and encounter time travel hitches. Along the way, there are typical Willis flares -- cute, yet annoying children; lovable & brave young women with lots of pluck; comedies of errors and confused details; despair redeemed only by having friends to cling to. Her characters are lovable, her comedy is gold, her prose is affecting. It is pure Willis.

And yet. It feels sacrilegious, and maybe I'll go back and revise the three stars once All Clear comes out, but I just didn't love Blackout. The pacing felt a little slow, like I was reading the same day in the life over and over. I resent having to buy two books to get one story and Blackout ended just as it was getting to the point in the plot that I wanted to read. The whole thing feels like a historical set up for a great scifi story, rather than the story itself. ( )
  settingshadow | Aug 19, 2023 |
Aaaarrrrrgggghhhhh! It's a part one of two kind of book! Now I'll have to wait until September 2010 to find out how it ends. :(

That said, I really liked this book! Connie Willis is so talented. It's going to be a long wait until the fall. ( )
  beentsy | Aug 12, 2023 |
A rather fragmented story with different timetravellers points of view, jumping across 2060 and spread out during WWII.
Everybody seems to be rushing around, missing their clues, tied up in bureaucracy. If it was funny, I'd call it a comedy of errors or maybe a screwball comedy, but as it is not, it seems more Kafkaesque than anything else.
Neither particularly entertaining or engaging, this was a bit of a slog to get through. Annoying people, annoying narrative. ( )
1 vote amberwitch | Apr 9, 2023 |
I'm a big fan of Connie Willis, and my hopes for this book were very high. Blackout has the same premise as the other two books by her that I've read - it's 2060 in Oxford, and there are historians who regularly time travel to the past to study and observe. I loved To Say Nothing of the Dog and The Doomsday Book for their compelling plots, interesting characters, and rich settings. Willis mixes humor, historical fiction, and science fiction with mystery to create the perfect kind of book to get lost in for days. To be honest, Blackout seemed much less compelling than her previous books. I was about halfway into the book before I started to feel really hooked. Although the action and intrigue were very slow to build, the characters and setting were as captivating as I hoped. Blackout is the first of two companion novels, so I suppose that there was so much groundwork to lay that it took a while for the story to build. By the second half of the book I was completely absorbed, and now I'll be anxiously awaiting the second half of the story in All Clear, which is due to be published in November. ( )
  kamlibrarian | Dec 23, 2022 |
Wow, I love time travel books and enjoyed Connie Willis' Doomsday Book, but I couldn't even finish this one. I got to 59% waiting for the plot to actually begin, but no such luck. Great characterizations but slooooooow. ( )
1 vote MikeMcGuire | Nov 12, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 207 (next | show all)
Science fiction and the historical novel only seem to be utter opposites. I mean, future vs. past, right? In fact, the two genres are closely related. Both transport the reader to strange, disorienting worlds, where the people, beliefs and social norms are often distinctly alien to a present-day sensibility.

In certain kinds of time-travel stories, it's often difficult to tell the two genres apart. Is "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" historical fiction or proto science fiction? Certainly, Connie Willis's new novel, her first since "Passage" (2001), about near-death experiences, is as vivid an evocation of England during World War II as anyone has ever written. It's also indisputably science fiction. . . .

If you're a science-fiction fan, you'll want to read this book by one of the most honored writers in the field (10 Hugos, six Nebulas); if you're interested in World War II, you should pick up "Blackout" for its you-are-there authenticity; and if you just like to read, you'll find here a novelist who can plot like Agatha Christie and whose books possess a bounce and stylishness that Preston Sturges might envy.

That said, "Blackout" does end with a cliffhanger, which may leave some readers dissatisfied: The whole story won't be completely resolved till October when Ballantine/Spectra publishes a second and concluding volume titled "All-Clear." Still, this is Connie Willis, my friends, which means she's worth reading now, and she's worth reading in the future.
 
What she's also able to do is to play her reader like a newly tuned piano. Scenes that could be milked for every last mawkish drop somehow get around your defenses and wring out your heart.
 

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Connie Willisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brock, ChalresCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kellgren, KatherineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kennedy, SteveText Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Omori, N.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Potter, J.K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vicens, PaulaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wintrebert, JoƫlleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
History is now and England. - T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
Dedication
To Courtney and Cordelia, who always do far more than their bit.
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Colin tried the door, but it was locked.
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When a time-travel lab suddenly cancels assignments for no apparent reason and switches around everyone's schedules, time-traveling historians Michael, Merope, and Polly find themselves in World War II, facing air raids, blackouts, unexploded bombs, dive-bombing Stukas, rationing, shrapnel, V-1s, and two of the most incorrigible children in all of history--to say nothing of a growing feeling that not only their assignments but the war and history itself are spiraling out of control.

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Average: (3.82)
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