Blackout

Blackout

Book - 2010
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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.
Publisher: New York : Spectra Ballantine Books, c2010.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780553803198
0553803190
9780345519832
Branch Call Number: Fic Will
Characteristics: 491 p. ; 25 cm.

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IndyPL_SteveB Nov 30, 2018

*Blackout* is the first of two separate volumes (along with *All Clear*) published in the same year, but they really make up one long novel. And it is terrific.

It is May, 1940, England. American reporter Mike Davis accidentally gets on a leaky boat in Dover which is headed to rescue English soldiers from Dunkirk. Eileen O’Reilly is a servant at an English country home taking care of bratty children evacuated from London. Polly Sebastian is a sales girl at a London department store, heading for air raid shelters every night. In London the Blitz is on, with Hitler’s planes attempting to bomb London into submission. The future of England and Western Civilization is at stake, and it doesn’t look good for England.

But these three people – and others besides – are not who they say they are. Actually they are historians – from the year 2060, when reliable time travel has been developed. They were just supposed to be observers of the war, but now they are trapped in the past with no way home. Could their presence here cause some small event that tilts the victory toward Germany? Could they die in the bombings?

The best writers of fiction have an almost magical ability to weave a setting, plot, and characters so well that the supposedly imaginary world seems more intense, more focused, and more REAL than the world that surrounds you. Connie Willis is one of those writers, especially in this gigantic combination of science fiction and historical novel. This book is the result of many months of research into the daily lives of ordinary people during the Blitz.

If you have the time to spend, this will be a reading experience that you won’t forget. You will certainly have a new appreciation of what millions of people went through and accomplished against what seemed like the highest of odds.

v
vancouverville
Nov 28, 2017

Great description of civilian life in WW ll London. However, the was book slow moving and frustrating. After persevering , I got to the end only to find I now had to read another equally thick book to find out what happens to the characters. Sneaky trick. I won't be reading All Clear.

t
tjdickey
May 08, 2017

As with so much of her work in this area, the pacing is fast, the historical details strong, and the mixture of time-travel shenanigans and absurd academic politics keeps a frenetic plot flowing.

j
JaniceDeG
Oct 06, 2016

An outstanding read! I could not put this book down, and was so glad that I had book 2 ready to go. Very well written, and fast paced.

m
mamabadger56
Jul 25, 2016

Like all Connie Willis' work, this novel was clever, engrossing, and simply fun to read. Looking forward to reading the second volume, All Clear.

k
Kregel
Jul 15, 2015

Where has this writer been all of my life? Willis has an expert pacing, comic timing, a clear understanding of tension, and able to hide twists only to reveal them at the right moment. This could have been a really, really boring novel fully cliches and sentimentality about "The Greatest Generation": no, instead she provides a great yarn. Looking forward to reading other things from her, mainly because this is my first entry in her world.

c
Chapel_Hill_KenMc
Dec 20, 2014

Not up to the quality of its predecessor, "The Doomsday Book." Willis has us bouncing around between multiple protagonists stuck at various points in WWII Britain, and she finds it difficult to maintain the momentum. This is the first of two parts, ending on a cliffhanger.

s
Steve_Read
Apr 30, 2014

Seems you are either going to love or hate this book. For me is was the most annoying book(s) I have ever read. The characters should not be let out of the house without a guide dog let alone 100 years back in time. They can't wait to get to the past & spend the next 500 pages trying to get back to the future & then we find the climax is going to be in another book, 650 page later.
On the other hand, I liked the descriptions of ordinary peoples lives during the Blitz etc. Something my family did but refused to talk about.

The best bit about time travel would be for me to go back & save the time I wasted with reading 11 hundred pages, when 2 or 3 would have sufficed.

And now you don't have to

z
zipread
Sep 22, 2013

Historians of the future, three of them, employ time travel to explore the past. Their destination is England at the time of WW II when something seems to go wrong and they seem to become stranded in time. One of our travellers participates in the evacuation of British forces from Dunkirk; another shepherds a couple of engaging street urchins evacuated from London to the English counryside while a third, contrary to expectations, ends up hunkered down in the London tube during the blitz.There isn't much shoot 'em up violence in this novel but there is suspense for sure. The plot, however, is not resolved within the confines of this book. To find out how the story ends, we have to ante up the money (or the library card) for the next installment of this story. Read this book: it is a good yarn of historical fiction.

Pippi_L Dec 21, 2012

Connie Willis won the 2011 Hugo Award for this book.

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andreareads
Mar 10, 2011

Open for business. And we do mean open. - SIGN IN BLOWN-OUT WINDOW OF A LONDON DEPARTMENT STORE

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andreareads
Mar 09, 2011

Any one of us could be killed tonight, or next week, and if that's the case, then why not go out dancing and all the rest of it? Have a bit of fun? It would be better than never having lived at all.

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andreareads
Mar 09, 2011

The steps were perilously steep and one was broken, and the beams in the low-ceilinged cellar looked as if they might give way at the mere sound of a bomb, let alone a direct hit.

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