Blackout PDF/EPUB Ê Audiobook

Blackout ❰PDF / Epub❯ ☉ Blackout Author Connie Willis – In her first novel since 2002 Nebula and Hugo award winning author Connie Willis returns with a stunning enormously entertaining novel of time travel war and the deeds great and small of ordinary peop In her first novel since Nebula and Hugo award winning author Connie Willis returns with a stunning enormously entertaining novel of time travel war and the deeds great and small of ordinary people who shape history In the hands of this acclaimed storyteller the past and future collide and the result is at once intriguing elusive and frighteningOxford in is a chaotic place Scores of time traveling historians are being sent into the past to destinations including the American Civil War and the attack on the World Trade Center Michael Davies is prepping to go to Pearl Harbor Merope Ward is coping with a bunch of bratty evacuees and trying to talk her thesis adviser Mr Dunworthy into letting her go to VE Day Polly Churchill's next assignment will be as a shopgirl in the middle of London's Blitz And year old Colin Templer who has a major crush on Polly is determined to go to the Crusades so that he can catch up to her in age But now the time travel lab is suddenly canceling assignments for no apparent reason and switching around everyones schedules And when Michael Merope and Polly finally get to World War II things just get worse For there they face air raids Blackouts unexploded bombs dive bombing Stukas rationing shrapnel V s 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 Because suddenly the once reliable mechanisms of time travel are showing significant glitches and our heroes are beginning to uestion their most firmly held belief that no historian can possibly change the pastBONUS AUDIO In an exclusive introduction author Connie Willis discusses her fascination with WWII and the historic context of BlackoutLENGTH hrs and mins.

10 thoughts on “Blackout

  1. Kemper Kemper says:

    Warning This review will be lengthy due to pure hatredDid I ever tell you that I’ve got a time machine? There was a freak accident where my laptop and my lawn mower got fused together following a lightning strike and now I can use it to travel in time It’s a long story Anyhow when I have a chance I take the occasional trip through history Recently I popped into London in 1940 during the Blitz to take a look around It’s a fascinating time with England hanging on by its fingernails during nightly bombings and waiting for a German invasion that seemed certainI was getting ready to return to 2010 and started firing up the time mower when suddenly three people two women and a man ran up excitedly and started wildly shouting uestions at me “Are you from the retrieval team?” “Where is your drop?”“What took you so long?”After a few minutes they finally calmed down enough to introduce themselves They were Polly Eileen and Mike They saw me with the time mower and figured out I was from the future They demanded to know from when“My name’s Kemper I’m from 2010” I told them “Oh no” Polly wailed “You’re not from Oxford?”“Uh no I’m from Kansas” I replied“So you’re not a historian from 2060 like us?” Mike demanded“Nope You guys are from 2060? That’s incredible what’s it like?” I asked“Well it used to be grand We got assignments to go back and observe points in history by going undercover to live and work during these times” Eileen said“That sounds like it would be a really exciting adventure” I said “No it’s awful” Eileen said “You see something terrible has happened We each had different assignments I was working with evacuated children in the country Mike was supposed to observe the ships returning from the rescue of the British army at Dunkirk and Polly was going to work as a shop girl at one of the department stores”“What happened?”“Well first my assignment was terrible The English lady I worked for made us do all this extra war work while she wouldn’t lift a finger and I had to deal with all these children There was this brother and sister Alf and Binnie that were always getting into mischief and causing me problems Then there was measles outbreak so I was uarantined for months with the kids so I was long overdue When the uarantine finally lifted my drop wasn’t working You see the drops are the spots where we can go back to Oxford in 2060” Eileen said“Yes and my drop isn’t work either I got a job at a department store just as planned but when I tried to check in it isn’t working” Polly said“Is your drop not working?” I asked Mike“We’re not sure See I was supposed to arrive in Dover but there was slippage That’s when we don’t arrive exactly when and where we were supposed to So I ended up 30 miles away in this little village and three days late A lot of stuff happened after I met Commodore Harold and it was months before I got back to my drop and now there are always people around it They won’t open if anyone from this time frame can see it” Mike said“Who is Commodore Harold?”“He was this old man at the village I was trying to get him to take me in his boat to Dover because I had already missed part of the evacuation But he wouldn’t listen to me and kept insisting that he was going to Dunkirk Then I fell asleep on his boat and he took me there Which was terrible because I probably changed history and now we’ll lose the war” Mike said Tears came out of the corners of his eyes “We can’t change history” Polly said“Yes we can I did” Mike cried“You don’t know that” Eileen said“Yes I do It’s all my fault” he said and sobbed harder“Well if you think you had it bad I had a terrible time getting a black skirt” Polly said“A black skirt?” I asked in confusion“Yes shop girls must wear a black skirt and everything was confused at Oxford when we were leaving because of schedule changes so wardrobe could only get me a dark blue one I got the job but the woman in charge would fire me if I didn’t get a black skirt And I kept trying to get back to the drop so I could go back to Oxford and get one but I kept getting delayed When I finally got there the drop wasn’t working Plus I couldn’t wrap the packages properly so I had to spend ever so much time practicing it” Polly said Her lip uivered slightly as she remembered the horror of wrapping packages“Uh didn’t they give you any money when you came to the past?” I asked“Oh yes Tons of it” Polly said“And you were working in a department store?” I said“Yes”“So why didn’t you just buy a black skirt there instead of spending all that effort trying to time travel to go home and get one?” I said Polly only looked at me blankly“I had problems too I tried and tried to get out of the uarantine and sneak back to the drop but Mr Samuels locked the doors” Eileen said“Who is Mr Samuels? A cop or doctor?” I asked“No just the old gardener at the estate” she said“I had a lot of bother getting a newspaper” Mike volunteered “A newspaper?” I asked“Yes I had to spend some time in a hospital and I wanted to see the war news to see what I had changed But the nurses thought it was making me too upset So I had to pretend that I wanted to do the crosswords so they’d leave me the paper” Mike said proudly“OK forget about the skirt and the uarantine and the newspaper Don’t you people have some kind of back up plan if something went wrong and you couldn’t get to your drops?” I asked“Yes the retrieval teams” they shouted in unison“I was sure that you were with the retrieval team” Polly said“I’ve spent so many hours wondering what was keeping my retrieval team” Eileen said“I’m sure that my retrieval team hasn’t been able to locate me” Mike said“Where oh where could our retrieval teams be?” Polly said“I thought Mike and Polly were my retrieval team when they found me” Eileen said“And I thought Mike was my retrieval team” Polly said“I know that you two are women and all that but the next person to say ‘retrieval team’ is getting punched in the throat” I said “OK so those retre Er people were supposed to come and get you if something went wrong but they haven’t shown So what was your Plan B?”“Plan B?” Eileen said“Yeah for if something really went wrong and they couldn’t find you or whatever? Didn’t you have a pre determined spot to meet out some time later? Or since all you people were running around this time did they set up some kind of safe house you could go to in case of emergency?”“That’s a good idea” Polly said“We’ll have to tell Mr Dunworthy that we should do that after the retrieval team OW takes us back” Mike said“So no plan other than just sitting around fretting and speculating about what happened? Since you’re worried that they can’t find you have you put an ad in the paper or anything?” I asked“Oh I checked the personals to see if the retrieval teamOWplaced an ad trying to find us I thought about putting an ad in so that they could find me but haven’t done it yet” Mike said proudly“Uh You guys do research in the future before you go into the past right?”“Of course” Polly said“That would include reading newspapers?”“Yes we get a lot of information from newspapers” Eileen said“And it’s never occurred to any of you that if you put a message in that says something like ‘Hey Oxford 2060 come pick me up at noon outside Buckingham Palace on Oct 1?’ that they might see it and meet you there then?” I asked“That’s another good idea” Eileen said “You’ve got a knack for this Kemper”“Are you kidding me? You’re goddamn time travelers and you never thought of doing that? Or leaving a letter with a lawyer for delivery to Oxford in 2060? Haven’t you ever seen the Back to the Future movies? Or that episode of uantum Leap where Sam and Al switched places?” I said“Well I’m not sure that it’s a matter of Oxford not being able to find us I think something went wrong and that they can’t come back for some reason” Polly said“It’s my fault” Mike shrieked“Oh do shut up” Polly snapped “Even before we left something was going on Mr Dunworthy was changing assignments like mad and they were having a terrible time finding drop sites And they were very worried about us reporting any slippage”“That’s true” Mike said “Mr Dunworthy changed my assignment from Pearl Harbor to Dunkirk so I had almost no time to prepare And Polly couldn’t get the right clothes and Eileen had a hard time getting the driving lessons she needed”“So this Mr Dunworthy is a douche bag that sends you guys into the past with no preparation?” I said“Oh no He cares about us ever so much He sets very strict rules about where we can live and work in the past and if there’s so much of a hint of danger he’ll pull us right off an assignment He’d send a retrieval team OWin a second if he knew we were in trouble” Eileen said confidentlyI sighed and rubbed my temples for a couple of minutes Then I took a deep breath“Let me see I’ve got this straight You’re all historians from 2060 at Oxford who work for a guy named Dunworthy who is supposedly very strict about your safety Yet he did a last minute change of schedule with no explanation that left people going to England in 1940 unprepared and ill euipped for the assignment You were stupid enough to come anyhow and you’re all seemingly incapable of dealing with anything as mundane as unruly children or overbearing people Plus the simplest task like obtaining a black skirt or a newspaper turns into a major undertaking for you Even outwitting a senile boat captain or a gardner was beyond your abilities Now something has gone wrong and your only plan is to sit around whining about your ‘retrieval teams’ Is that about it?” I said“Yes that’s about the size of it” Mike said“Please Kemper We really need your help” Polly said“Well you all may be morons but it’s your lucky day because a guy with a time mower showed up I guess I can’t leave you here” I said“That’s wonderful So you’ll take a message to Oxford?” Eileen said“A message?” I asked“Yes We’ll write a message to Mr Dunworthy and you can take it to him Then he’ll send a retrieval teamOWback for us” Polly saidThey just kept grinning and smiling at me as I looked at them in disbelief“Guy with a working time machine standing right here” I said slowlyThey nodded“And all you want me to do is to take a message to the future for you?”They nodded“Not you know just take you to Oxford in 2060?”“Oh no” Mike said “What if we left and the retrieval teamOWshows up?”“Changed my mind Not doing shit for you Sit here and wait Hopefully the Germans will drop a bomb on your stupid wussy worthless whining asses See ya in hell” I said as I fired up the time mower and started to fade awayThe last thing I heard before leaving 1940 was “When do you think the retrieval team will arrive?” In Summary of a Shitty BookI have never been subjected to such painful characters in my life All three of the major players are exactly the same Almost the entire book is their inner dialogues which consist solely of fretting about stupid trivial crap wild speculation that turns out to be completely wrong and repeatedly asking “Oh when will the retrieval team arrive?”You’d think that time travelers should be hardy adventurers with the ability to improvise and adapt to problems These dumbasses can’t complete the simplest of tasks without it becoming a story of epic proportions Seriously the first chapter of this book is a guy trying to find Dunworthy at Oxford and having all these internal discussions with himself about where he might be where he should look for him what his secretary will say blah blah blah blah blah someone please shoot me The rest of the book consists of characters doing pretty much the same thingEven worse this is the first of two books so even after reading all this drivel you don’t get any resolution to the story When I’m on my deathbed I’ll be cursing the name of Connie Willis for writing this piece of shit and tricking me into wasting precious hours of my life

  2. Felicia Felicia says:

    UGH i dunno guys I know it won the Hugo but I'm ok to have a differing opinion right? I will definitely give credit the book is IMPECCABLY researched So much time and detail into WWII England justbravo for the research ALONE it deserved an award But I mean bar none this book does NOT feel like a stand alone From my investigations the publisher split the plot in two and it's so clunky with the ending it shows The book could TOTALLY have stood an edit pass that took out tomes of unnecessary info and just compiled the two books into oneOk BARRING THAT I am a HUGE Connie Willis fan To Say Nothing of the Dog is one of my all time FAVORITE books so I'm into her time travel world and setup Unfortunately this book really just felt static to me I mean the whole point of it is that people are traveling back in time and know EXACTLY WHATS GOING TO HAPPEN and then it kind of seems like it's not gonna go like they think it's supposed toand then it does ugh And then most of the OTHER part of the book is basically Will X get to Y or will their paths never cross? And THEN I feel like the main charactersI mean seriously they are all so plain you could have switched each character out of their plot and into another and it felt like they would have acted the same Could one of them had no scruples or one of them have sex with someone? Or be a bully? Or anything other than just going along with the plot? I dunno there were parts I was SO INTO but the verbosity and lack of character just compel me to post a bit critically which I often don't do but I felt that there were people who might love this book so feel free to try it I'm not sorry I read it for sure just a few frustrating aspects that make me reluctant to finish the second installment

  3. Amy Amy says:

    Sometimes if it takes you 10 years to write a book you just shouldn't Willis has a writing tick that absolutely annoys me but in the past I've been able to mainly ignore it because the storylines have been good But her annoying writing tick overwhelms any story that was to be had in this book The tick I'm speaking of is her tendency to talk about every mundane humdrum thing and to catch up every personality less character that walks in the room concerning these mundane humdrum things In Doomsday Book which shares a world and characters with this one Willis had a character tell everyone that walked in the door that there was no toilet paper and why In this book Willis has the main character wandering around looking here and there and yonder for someone and everyone telling him alternate ideas of where this person might be She has characters ramble off lists of what they should do and alternative lists if the hoped for scenario doesn't work out Experiencing this book is like being stuck inside one of those exhausting dreams where you relive and repeat some mundane task you've done over and over for the day If you have writers block for 10 years for the love of God don't write until you have something for your characters to do other than run around looking for things making lists and getting lost Somewhere in all this mess is a time travel story involving World War something or the otherI hate to admit that I was absolutely unable to finish reading this book Willis' tedious daily grind style of writing nearly drove me mad I couldn't take any of the characters re hashing EVERYTHING over and over to everyone and thinking out loud about every step of their day to day life Plus the characters as usual have no discernible personality Listening to this book in CD in the car would eventually always makes my baby cry she rarely cries probably because the reader is so blasted annoying especially when she does children's dialogueI read an interview at the I09 book club with Willis concerning this book I found it interesting that the interview uestions are mainly asking her why she wasted so many words having her characters run around in circles in their brains and in their actions in this book At least I'm not alone in my analysis Yeesh

  4. Lisa Vegan Lisa Vegan says:

    A warning This book has no proper ending It was meant to be the first half of a book but the publisher divided it into two books and Blackout is the first half All Clear is the second booksecond half of the book Definitely have All Clear on hand to read immediately after this book I finished this book and started the next the same day and that’s the way to do it I deliberately read this slowly so there wouldn’t be a gap before I could read the next bookI was completely enthralled This book is so much fun to readI can’t believe that this is my first Connie Willis time travel book and it’s very rare that I don’t read series even loose series in order This is book four in the Oxford time travel books although it is the first of two of the All Clear books I could tell that at least two characters had made prior appearances in other books and normally that would bother me but I was so engaged with this book that I truly didn’t care I felt perfectly content to go back and after I read All Clear I’ll in the near future read Doomsday Book and the other two books I don’t mind going backward to read them uite appropriate for time travel books which I do love I am a bit embarrassed that I haven’t read this author’s books given that her books are exactly my cup of teaI was in heaven historical fiction where I really learned so much about what it was like to be a civilian in London and evacuation areas and other parts of England during WWII speculative fiction which is one of my favorite genres and time travel for which I have a particular penchant and even a favorite time travel books shelf here at GoodreadsI like that it’s a character named Ira Feldman a Jewish man who invented time travel and that his parents seem to have lived during WWII That fact is mentioned just in passing but I definitely noted itI enjoyed all the main characters Polly MeropeEileen Mike and also many others in 2060 and 1940 They’re characters that I cared about and they all seemed completely authentic I was starting to list a few memorable characters but there were too many so I’ll just say that and leave readers to meet and get to know them when they read this book There was a bunch of repetition during the book particularly the long last part but it worked for me because it’s the kind of obsessive and repetitive thinking and worrying I would do in those circumstances and having the characters in the book do it gave the events such a feeling of immediacy Most of the action takes place in 1940 and thereabouts but the world of Oxford in 2060 was also fascinating I love the way the time traveler historians from 2060 have to learn the ways of 1940 such as how to drive a gasoline powered car of the timeWillis was already a well known and published author so I was somewhat surprised by the many spelling grammatical etc errors especially in the beginning of the book but I also caught a couple of mistakes at the end of the book as wellHowever the story and characters are so riveting and the premise is so creative that while not perfect this was a wonderful 5 star book for me It was a rollicking ride and a perfect comfort read I will shelve it at the Comfort Reads group if another member hasn’t already done that It was just a blast for me to read I’m about to happily dive into All Clear

  5. carol. carol. says:

    Oh I'm such a liar This wasn't three stars it was two While I love some of Connie's other works this one doesn't work for me Logically inept grossly meandering and strongly in need of some editing While I liked pieces of the storyline as a whole it lacked enough coherence to be enjoyable

  6. Stacey Stacey says:

    Blithering idiotsRead rageThat is all

  7. Althea Ann Althea Ann says:

    BlackoutAll ClearThe two books are really one novel thanks publishers for getting me to pay double so there's no reason to talk about them separatelyThey're also part of Willis' time travel series although they're not advertised as such I really wouldn't recommend starting with these books; I feel that a lot of the uestions and criticism of these books that I see in other reviews stems from the likelihood that readers haven't read the other books in the series The Doomsday Book To Say Nothing of the Dog and Fire Watch At the very least you MUST read Fire Watch before reading these booksThat said the books are excellent Blackout starts slowly but Willis does a great job of gradually but surely building the tension and intensity of the story working from trivial humor up to tragedy and the tragedy that can spring from the trivial although it never gets as intense as The Doomsday Book The pacing is the main reason why I feel that the book should not have been split in two The end revelations also came dangerously close to getting too sentimentalreligious for me but I think they fall on the OK side of that lineI found the representation of London during the Blitz to be completely convincing and memorable I found myself saying wow I didn't know And I've also decided that it is virtually incomprehensible that I've been to London over a dozen times and I don't think that I've ever been inside St Paul's cathedral I'm sure Willis would think that was sad and horrifically neglectfulFor another depiction of the Blitz which also focuses on its effect on ordinary individuals I'd highly recommend Sarah Waters' The Night Watch

  8. Elizabeth Elizabeth says:

    “The past is a foreign country they do things differently there” L P Hartley“Say GRRRR it helps soothe the pain” S GatlandGRRRRRRRI have to give Blackout a very mixed review Wonderful as it was to read it’s either supremely naïve or grandly arrogant to assume you don’t have to introduce PLOT to a “thriller” until page 254 It is true that I enjoyed reading the first 90000 words or so that’s a decent novel’s worth of words I enjoyed the characters and the premise and all the little unrelated incidents enough to keep reading at a good clip until I got to the twisty bit But I wasn’t hooked until the defining moment on page 254 when Polly realizes things really are not as they should be And I wish I hadn’t had to spend 90000 words being annoyed at the historians’ smug asides and dopey preconceptions and wishing something intriguing would happen Eileen taking care of the measly evacuees entertaining yes but terribly Doomsday Book I kind of felt like I was watching a re runBut then page 254 and onward for a bit Polly’s night under fire waiting for the drop that never opens really swallowed me and I do appreciate that the effectiveness of this scene is due in part to the 90000 word build up of her complacency about being able to get home I loved her falling apart the chaos was vivid and I really felt the gulf of time of being both stuck and damned with the possibility of death and the unknown looming ahead curious and ironic and of course planned that the FUTURE is what becomes the terrible unknown Love it And then Eileen watching the dogfight between the Me 109 and the Spitfires and suddenly realizing that she is watching the Battle of Britain It is wonderfulSo then I expected the Plot to begin and I was decidedly disappointed 100 pages later when I realized that in fact the plot had been going on for a while and was simply “Please sort my schedule out Oh noes I am stuck here when are you going to rescue me?” Because for some reason everything I’d heard about this book led me to believe that there was intrigue involved and possibly romance And I have to say if Mike is going to be the romance better Polly or Merope than me I would have to smack him in the head 20 times a day I feel kind of cheated and a little baffled that the total intrigue of this “thriller” amounts to three totally unprepared historians hunting for a way out of their chosen field of study I was REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THE INTRIGUEAlso my God didn’t the Oxford tech team learn ANYTHING from their previous trips? How can each historian be euipped with ONE DROP only? How is the ONLY WAY back if a drop doesn’t work dependent on a whole damn retrieval team going in like the Marines? Why is there not a permanent safety drop somewhere in Northumbria or a fixed communication point for people who might be visiting the same time period? I’m thinking a LETTERBOX uite simple really Why are the historians so TOTALLY unprepared for the possibility they might be stuck in their fieldwork a little longer than expected to the point where they don’t know ANYTHING about the events immediately preceding and following their highly esoteric 3 days’ worth of specialization? Why does NO ONE have a contingency plan? They are RESEARCHERS not TOURISTS and they have chosen to go into a WAR ZONE They are like reporters in Gaza They MUST know they might get stuck there or fired on or kidnapped or whateverBlimey I wish one of them HAD been kidnapped Now THAT would be a PLOTThere are a lot of little Americanisms that make me smile Granted Mike has got an language accent implant but that shouldn’t make him not know what a cryptic crossword is or think that the shot down aircraft stats printed in the paper are like “baseball scores” A camp bed isn’t called a cot here a hole in your stocking isn’t called a run The hats are trilbies not fedoras Maybe as an American writer living in the UK I am aware of these things I suffered a bit as an amateur historian too I know too many curious little factoids that kept making me doubt Willis’s historical accuracy OVERALL The Battle of Britain did not end the moment the Blitz began Margerie saying that it was “dark by half past three in the afternoon” because of the blackout on page 341 makes no sense at all except between 19 Nov ’39 and 25 Feb ’40 Britain actually set its clocks an hour ahead to save on daylight 2 hours ahead in the summer and anyway Margerie lives in London not in Scotland where it DOES get dark at half past three but only in the dead of winter Leslie Howard did not become an RAF pilot; he was a passenger aboard a commercial flight a BOACKLM DC 3 which was shot down by the Luftwaffe under shady circumstances ET CETERA They are tiny flaws but they jar meThe Washington Post reviewer who gushes that this book is “as vivid an evocation of England during World War II as anyone has ever written” has obviously never read any Robert Westall But Willis does capture something atmospheric and unidentifiable that makes it feel real riddled with inaccuracy and yet TRUE and now I realize I’m kind of uoting someone else here which comes as a surprise and I suppose it’s a compliment If you take Willis’s detailing with a grain of salt and skip over the ponderous air raid schedules some of Polly’s catalogues of safe underground shelters and train times read like Five Red Herrings and make me LOSE THE WILL TO LIVE still Blackout is gripping and evocative in its own right I think Willis rather aspires to Sayersdom and I suppose she succeeds in that I can read her and adore her books despite their flaws uite an achievement for any writer now that I have become so incredibly hypercritical in my jaundiced old age I am psyched to have rediscovered this wonderful writer nearly 20 years after my own memorable fieldwork experience in Oxford’s score of bell towers and yeah I remember her grasp of bell ringing and ringers was flawed too But we still love Doomsday Book So I’m off to order All Clear Can I just point out that these could easily have been ONE BOOK if Willis and her editor had cooperated a wee bit closely and left out all the dithering the train schedules the interminable lists of air raid shelters and the tour of every department store in London And the relentless repetition on every other page for the reader’s benefit I suppose lest we forget of someone wailing “But this is time travel”

  9. Stephanie Swint Stephanie Swint says:

    Connie Willis created a beautiful piece of time travelhistorical fiction with 'Blackout' Depending on how you want to look at this book it is either the first book in the All Clear series or the third installment of the Oxford Time Travel series 'Blackout' includes characters from 'The Doomsday Book' with Colin Templar and Mr Dunworthy They are not the stars of this double decker novel but they do play very important roles 'Blackout' revolves around three historians from the future sent to observe different key events during World War II 'Blackout' is the story of what happens when their assignments end but they can't get back home They either can't get to their drops or they are damaged and won't work Oxford should send a retrieval team 'Blackout' is what happens when they don't show upI've read this and 'All Clear' three times I've listened to them and read them and enjoy it both ways What Connie Willis does extraordinarily well with these books is make the experience of the everyday person who didn't enlist in the war accessible During World War II people in London were shop girls children and old men She focuses on the every day heroics of the people who lived at the time and took the famous words of Churchill to heart Keep calm and carry on These words that have been appropriated by a new generation were originally meant to steady a people who were sleeping in bomb shelters and waking to find their homes and places of employment bombed People who would never have been thought of heroes are highlighted as old clerics joining the fire brigade to keep St Paul's safe the shop girls who signed up to become Ambulance drivers and WRENS children under the age of 16 who were collecting scrap metal and lying to become ARP wardens Willis paints a realistic picture of rationing and living conditions during one of the coldest wettest and bleakest winters in England during 1940 Our historians experience this from the perspective and benefit of privilege They are from the future where the living conditions and medical breakthroughs make life much easier They haven't had to deal with shortage They are historians and they researched the conditions but research and experience are two different things They have the advantage of knowing that they win the war but the tables are turned when they can't get home There is a fear that they have changed events What if they did something to alter the course of the war? They become the contemporaries they were studying Their only hope is to find other historians studying World War II If they can find another drop site they will have found a way homeWillis explores the invasion of Dunkirk experiences of the evacuated children the fall of the service class the Blitz and the V1 attacks Her research is solid She did eight years of research to complete these two books Some have found the books to be daunting and long due to the amount of detailed historical information included This however is what makes this book special for me She provides great information sources but one in particular caught my attention She utilized the Mass Observation Diaries heavily and credits them as being invaluable The diaries came from observers and volunteers in London recruited by Mass Observation Harrison founded the organization in 1937 with Madge and Jennings to create an 'anthropology of ourselves' The writers chronicled the lives of ordinary people in Britain By luck the study neglected to tell the volunteers writing the journals the study was ending prior to the start of World War II creating an amazing resource of first hand accounts detailing the everyday lives of Brittish citizens during the war Follow this link to find out about the original Mass Observation project I can see why some people would have a hard time engaging in the All Clear Series It is a commitment to read them Blackout is 512 pages and All Clear is 643 pages Willis refers to them as a double decker novel because Blackout ends abruptly and starts up immediately with All Clear Many have argued it should have been one book but if two is a bit unwieldy one would have been extremely off putting You will want the seuel immediately Plan to either download 'All Clear' buy the physical book when you get three fourths of the way done or download the fabulous narration by Katherine Kellgren immediately after finishing 'Blackout'I do not recommend this for people with a short attention span or those who are looking for a light read It is hopeful but it is also drenched in data If you want a light time travel piece I would encourage you to pick up Rysa Walker's 'Timebound' or 'Just One Damned Thing After Another' by Jodi Taylor 'Blackout' is a great time travel novel and is a personal favorite Rarely have I seen an author be able to weave such great fiction around factual history Usually you get one or the other If you enjoy historical fiction with the added enjoyment of science fiction time travel this is perfect for youIf you like this you may like The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis Crytonomicon by Neal Stephenson

  10. Tim Hicks Tim Hicks says:

    I have a very short list of authors whose work I eagerly await Connie Willis just stepped off that list with this turkey This book cuts off abruptly with a promo for the second book but if it had been decently edited the whole mess would have fit in one volume Three incompetent characters are dropped into WW2 London by obviously incompetent staffers Before they even left I was thinking that I wouldn't let these dingbats put me on a bus much less a time machine These folks are supposed to check in regularly with their home time After each of them is stymied by implausible coincidences they can't connect It's not hard for the reader to figure out that something's wrong but our heroes are each stuck in a loop of optimism and keep trying unable to even consider the possibility of a problem It's like watching Homer Simpson stick his finger in an electrical socket over and over again OK the descriptions of life in the Blitz are very good But two of the lead characters are dithering wimps and even brave in action Mike is channeling moany groany Thomas Covenant the rest of the time The characters around them are mixed some cardboard some ludicrously exaggerated and a few believable Alf Binnie and Mrs Rickett are right out of Dickens and Terry Pratchett could probably place them in Ankh Morpork but they're just too unsubtle for this bookIn the first 50 pages we're introduced to the mysterious Head Guy through his many arbitrary decisions and to a teenager who makes Mickey Rooney look unenthusiastic 500 pages later we haven't seen the slightest hint of them I don't know if I can stand another 500 pages of this mucilage or another 217 descriptions of the exact date and time when a particular building was bombed or what time a siren went off Willis's Doomsday Book was excellent but this just isn't It's not even good If you want time travel go read Kage Baker

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