12 March 2012 ~ 1 Comment

Blackout by Connie Willis

I’m a huge fan of time travel. In a lot of time travel stories you get a glimpse of a believable future, and a reminder (or a lesson) on times long past. In “Blackout” the future seems a lot like the past. The way the characters talk and act remind me more of the late 80’s and early 90’s than what I would think of 2060. Of course, this is a time travel novel, and only the first 1/2, so maybe there is a reason. If so, it is not explained and it left me feeling disconnected from the world of the future.

In the past, the story lines begin to get a bit confusing. However, I love the facts that are thrown in about the time period. We are introduced to both the fear and bravery of a generation that is almost gone. At a time when they were at their peak.

I have to admit, I’ve never read a Connie Willis book. I can’t say that this one makes me want to read another, but it definitely hasn’t crossed her off my reading list. As an introduction to this author, I really don’t recommend it especially after seeing reviews on her other titles (such as The Doomsday Book).

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.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Book count for 2012: 1

One Response to “Blackout by Connie Willis”

  1. Gwen Nicodemus 15 March 2012 at 12:00 am Permalink

    This book, and the sequel, were up for the Hugo nomination last year. I didn’t read them, because I have trouble with WWII themed books.

    But Connie Willis wrote a medieval time travel book called Doomsday Book, and it was most awesome.

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