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All Clear

by Connie Willis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: All Clear (2), Oxford Time Travel series (4)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,0811486,413 (4.06)368
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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  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 368 mentions

English (146)  Swedish (1)  All languages (147)
Showing 1-5 of 146 (next | show all)
Meh ( )
  J.Flux | Aug 13, 2022 |
The plot is based on keeping secrets from the reader. I guess you are supposed to memorize stuff from the various plot lines so it will be delightful when the connections are wondrously revealed.

The continuing mentions of Agatha Christie books are odd, because the things that make her novels fun, the gradual revelation of clues, involving the reader, the twists and trickery, are completely absent in All Clear. The reader is kept in the dark until the big reveal, then it's over.

Overlong and an infuriating read. Willis's worst, by far.
( )
  wunder | Feb 3, 2022 |
Part 2 of "Black out"
One of the best ever! ( )
  lryer | Jan 25, 2022 |
Reread:

As I was reentering the world of 2019 yesterday on my way home from 1940/2060, I was trying to figure out why I love this book, especially when there are so many critiques of it. I almost find it too good to want to critique it (and that is a serious malady I rarely experience). I was trying to figure out why. Yes, much of the book is spent stuck in the heads of anxious historians (a feature that would detract from my enjoyment of almost any other book). Yes, it's full of way too many dead ends. Yes, the Colin thing happens a little too fast.

But I can't shake the affection I feel for this book, and I think that is because it shows a couple of truths.*

1-- Willis is essentially arguing that little people, little things, make a difference for good or for evil. And I think it is true. It may even seem simplistic, but her portrayal of it is beautiful.

2-- There is beauty in sacrifice. Read that exchange between Colin and Mike and tell me that it isn't beautiful. Or the simple exchanges between Eileen and the Vicar. They change in depth throughout the series, starting with mundane and, by the second to last chapter, become deep and, well, beautiful. There is a sanctity that comes from suffering, sacrifice, and love of a higher call.

3--"The way I see it, every life", or perhaps life in general, "is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant" or even ruin the worth of them(Quote source: Dr. Who). In other words, we'll all have our Blitz that we'll have to live through. But, just like the people who lived through the Blitz, we can make lemonade from our lemons, we can go on, we can take a day, a week, or a time, to heal, let the shock wear off, and then move forward. And sometimes, the good things make the bad things worthwhile. And that is what I read here, and in Doomsday Book (even though I'm so terrified of it I haven't reread it ever).


*there are truths like "The apple is red" which is true some of the time. Other times it is yellow and green. And there are truths like " The baby is cute." It might be true to you, but simultaneously other people might think your baby is ugly. Sorry. Truth. Then there are truths like "You have value." That is a non-debatable truth (for me, at least). It will always be true, no matter your age, no matter your health, position, or relationship. And these are the truths I think that Connie Willis portrays here.


1st read:
After reading [b:Doomsday Book|24983|Doomsday Book (Oxford Time Travel, #1)|Connie Willis|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1403972500s/24983.jpg|2439628] I was hesitant to finish what I started with [b:Blackout|6506307|Blackout (All Clear, #1)|Connie Willis|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1433715206s/6506307.jpg|6697901]. Connie Willis is a very talented writer but Doomsday Book was just emotionally exhausting and emotionally destructive. But we come again to the genius of Willis. I couldn't get Mike, Polly, Eileen, and Colin out of my head. So, the day it was released I bought it. And wow! She doesn't disappoint. Willis masterfully creates a chaotic world of time-travel, throwing us as the reader back and forth from the future to the past to what may be the present but is really the past.
I stand by what I said before: [b:To Say Nothing of the Dog|77773|To Say Nothing of the Dog (Oxford Time Travel, #2)|Connie Willis|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1469410460s/77773.jpg|696] this is NOT. Sir Godfrey maintains it is a comedy. Perhaps. But it didn't feel like one at 2am, when, after the first time we see Colin in WWII time, I cried and cried. The characters live, the emotions transfer to the reader and we see that life and PEOPLE are complicated (even without time travel). Every character-- even the "minor" ones-- have roles to play. It's a wonderful piece of work.

Note: This book is a little heavy with swearwords... Those British! ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
All Clear picks up right where Blackout left off, with three time-traveling historians trapped in London during the Blitz. Optimistic Eileen (Merope), on her first time travel assignment, has assumed responsibility for the horrible Hodbin siblings while she waits on the retrieval team. Mike assumes the role of protector for his female colleagues. Polly has found a family of sorts in her shelter partners, who have formed a (mostly) amateur acting troupe, as her hope gradually fades that her 17-year-old devoted admirer, Colin, will find her and take her home as he promised to do if anything went wrong.

Willis masterfully pulls off a complex plot with threads in multiple time periods. Even the minor characters are well-rounded, and they remind me of the kinds of characters Dickens created. (And Dickens’ characters are the reason I love his books so much.) I suffered with the characters during the bombings and felt their growing despair as the retrieval team didn’t make its appearance. I rejoiced with each small victory. Even though I guessed where some of the plot threads were leading, Willis surprised me with her storytelling and its emotional impact. The books together number more than 1,000 pages, yet it seemed too short. I did not want to say goodbye to the characters I had grown to love. ( )
  cbl_tn | Aug 17, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 146 (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

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Connie Willisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brock, ChalresCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crouzet, IsabelleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kellgren, KatherineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kennedy, SteveDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kern, ClaudiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Omori, N.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Potter, J. K.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wintrebert, JoëlleTranslatorsecondary 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.

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