Proofrdr's Attempt at 50

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Re: Proofrdr's Attempt at 50

Postby Proofrdr » 27 Nov 2010, 02:26

#22 Blackout by Connie Willis 3+stars

Left Tenant Sue, take note! This is a time travel novel.

It is pure serendipity that I got this book. I was learning how to borrow books from the library website to my e-reader. The "New Arrivals" bar was at the top of the library's "E-Zone" page, and Blackout was the first item, so I took it.

The time is 2060 and time travel is a reality but available only to historians who go back to observe and retrieve information about key events. The opening few chapters are very thready--too many characters, too much jumping around--but it establishes the parameters of the situation. Then the book settles down to the experiences of three young historians who go to Britain in 1940 to observe, severally, the evacuation of the troops from Dunkirk, the Blitzkrieg in London, and the condition of children evacuated to rural England.

Interwoven with the historical events I am familiar with are elements of social history that were not in the history books. It's fascinating reading in that respect, and the narrative threads of the three MCs are compelling.

I was totally involved...and then it ended. No resolution, no conclusion. Without a book jacket to look at, I had no idea that this was originally just half the book she wrote. Evidently, the publisher decided to publish the MS as two books. All Clear was published last month, but the library has not yet acquired it. Good book, terrible letdown.
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Re: Proofrdr's Attempt at 50

Postby FranW » 27 Nov 2010, 07:36

I HATE books like that. Thanks for the heads-up. I'd rather pay big bucks for a doorstop than buy half a book and be left frustrated.
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Re: Proofrdr's Attempt at 50

Postby Nurse Jo » 27 Nov 2010, 08:04

Proof, thank you. That sounds a fabulous book. I can cope with that sort of time travel. I've just read your post out loud to Sue and we will try and get this from the library.
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Re: Proofrdr's Attempt at 50

Postby wildlx » 27 Nov 2010, 10:12

I've never read anything by Connie Willis but I have one of her books (also a time travelling story) on my to buy list: Doomsday Book which won the Hugo, Nebula and Locus Awards
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Re: Proofrdr's Attempt at 50

Postby Proofrdr » 27 Nov 2010, 10:54

The book has its flaws...the worst being that I didn't know it had a continuation! Its peccadilloes notwithstanding, it is a fascinating read. I enjoy history couched in the social milieu.
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Re: Proofrdr's Attempt at 50

Postby Sacchi » 27 Nov 2010, 10:57

Doomsday Book is supposed to be very good but very grim (set during the Black Death period in England.) I haven't read it. But I've read and greatly enjoyed To Say Nothing of the Dog, also dealing with the same academic time travel agency, and it's one of the funniest books I know. The protagonists, on a quest to find some article called "The Bishop's Bird Stump" presumably destroyed when Coventry Cathedral was firebombed in WWII, go boating down the Thames following the course of the travelers in Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome, published in 1889. That one's worth reading. too, for the humor and period detail.
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Re: Proofrdr's Attempt at 50

Postby Proofrdr » 27 Nov 2010, 11:16

Wildlx, I had no idea of Willis' formidable credentials. I also now have Doomsday Book on my list. :-)

Next time I download a totally unfamiliar book, I'll do a little research first. In this case, I would have known this is part one of a two-part novel. I don't like to be blindsided like that, but the fault is mine for not being curious.
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Re: Proofrdr's Attempt at 50

Postby Proofrdr » 27 Nov 2010, 11:20

Jo, I knew this was something you and Sue would enjoy. ;)
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Re: Proofrdr's Attempt at 50

Postby FranW » 27 Nov 2010, 13:19

Connie Willis is a top notch author. Sadly her fame isn't only for her writing, but also for being groped by Harlan Ellison on stage at the Hugo awards.
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Re: Proofrdr's Attempt at 50

Postby Proofrdr » 27 Nov 2010, 13:25

No! That's awful.
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