Blackout: Book summary and reviews of Blackout by Connie Willis

Blackout

by Connie Willis

Blackout by Connie Willis X
Blackout by Connie Willis
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Book Summary

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 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 frightening.

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 seventeen-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 everyone’s 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.

From the people sheltering in the tube stations of London to the retired sailors who set off across the Channel to rescue the stranded British Army from Dunkirk, from shopgirls to ambulance drivers, from spies to hospital nurses to Shakespearean actors, Blackout reveals a side of World War II seldom seen before: a dangerous, desperate world in which there are no civilians and in which everybody—from the Queen down to the lowliest barmaid—is determined to do their bit to help a beleaguered nation survive.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Willis uses detail and period language exquisitely well, creating an engaging, exciting tale that cuts off abruptly on the last page. Readers allergic to cliffhangers may want to wait until the second volume comes out in November 2010." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Willis is a consummate storyteller whose immersive style hooks readers from the start; her latest work, which is being published in two parts (the second volume is scheduled for November), should appeal to a wide readership and be a particular draw for her devoted followers." - Library Journal

"As vivid an evocation of England during World War II as anyone has ever written... 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." - The Washington Post
 
"A tour-de-force. [Willis is] one of America's finest writers." - The Denver Post
 
"[Willis has] researched Blackout so thoroughly her readers may imagine she had access to the time machine her characters use." - The Seattle Times
 
"This compassionate and deeply imagined novel... gives the reader a strong you-were-there feeling." - The Times-Picayune
 
"Starred Review. Depicts the times and the spirit of the British people remarkably vividly.... multifaceted and believable." - Booklist
 
"[A] book with something for everyone that ends up working on every level. It is adventure. It is history. It is science. It is, indeed, thrilling. And it is unforgettable." - January Magazine
 
"I loved this book. It is informative, subtle, full of great characters and has a wonderful plot.... Brilliant. Willis at her finest." - Michael Moorcock

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Author Information

Connie Willis

Connie Willis, who was recently inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, has received six Nebula Awards and ten Hugo Awards for her fiction; her previous novel, Passage, was nominated for both. Her other works include Doomsday Book,Lincoln’s Dreams, Bellwether, Impossible Things, Remake, Uncharted Territory, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Fire Watch, and Miracle and Other Christmas Stories. Connie Willis lives in Colorado with her family.

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