Oxford in 2060 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 1940 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 17-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-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. Because suddenly the once-reliable mechanisms of time travel are showing significant glitches, and our heroes are beginning to question their most firmly held belief: that no historian can possibly change the past.
BONUS AUDIO: In an exclusive introduction, author Connie Willis discusses her fascination with WWII and the historic context of Blackout.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Blackout is the first volume of a two-part novel. To find out what happens to the time-traveling historians from Oxford, we invite you to download the concluding volume, All Clear.
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Nebula Award, Best Novel, 2010
Hugo Award, Best Novel, 2011
Best SF and Fantasy Books of 2010: Readers' Choice (SF Site)
Von BikerJoe Am hilfreichsten 23.11.2015
Blundering historians during the Blitz in London
Connie Willis, how can you do this to me? How can you write such a masterpiece like “The Doomsday Book” and then deliver such a blunder like “Blackout”. Where “The Doomsday Book” is deeply moving and touches the essence of humanity in its description of compassion, love and kindness, “Blackout” is a description of helpless blunders of some time travelling historians during the Blitz in London. The story does not do justice to the people, who showed incredible endurance and heroism during that time.
Mr. Dunworthy’s time travelling lab, which we know already from The Doomsday Book, sends 3 young historians to the United Kingdom during worldwar 2. Michael Davis is supposed to travel to Dover to observe the heroic evacuation of the British army after the disaster at Dunkirk by private yacht owners and fishermen. Merope is send to a country mansion to study the situation of evacuated children during the bombing of London and Polly is in the heart of London during the air raids acting as a sales girl in Oxford street. All 3 historians are badly prepared for their tasks and stumble from one blunder to the next. Since they observe some major difficulties with the mechanics of time travel and cannot return as planned, they set out to find each other. The major part of the book describes these boring and endless efforts and near misses until they finally meet each other and the book suddenly ends.
Overall the book is very disappointing, the prose rambles on and is simply boring at times. There are a lot of repetitive situations and pointless, long dialogs, which make it very hard to continue to listen.
I know that Connie Willis can do better than that. Simply forget this book and don’t buy the sequel.
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Von Walter Am hilfreichsten 11.12.2012
Murphy's Law of Time Travel Applied
Three historians from the future definitely get more of an experience than they expected when they find out that they are trapped in WW2 Britain. And that the supreme law of time travel apparently has Murphy as an author…
One hour into this (audio) book and you are hooked because not only is it funny in a screwball-comedy kind of way but also tremendously good history about a dark age and the power of endurance and the will not to despair.