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All Clear [Paperback]

Connie Willis
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
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Book Description

12 July 2012

Traveling back in time, from Oxford circa 2060 into the thick of World War II, was a routine excursion for three British historians eager to study firsthand the heroism and horrors of the Dunkirk evacuation and the London Blitz. But getting marooned in war-torn 1940 England has turned Michael Davies, Merope Ward, and Polly Churchill from temporal tourists into besieged citizens struggling to survive Hitler's devastating onslaught. And now there's more to worry about than just getting back home: The impossibility of altering past events has always been a core belief of time-travel theory - but it may be tragically wrong. When discrepancies in the historical record begin cropping up, it suggests that one or all of the future visitors have somehow changed the past - and, ultimately, the outcome of the war.

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.

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All Clear + Blackout + Doomsday Book (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (12 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575099321
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575099326
  • Product Dimensions: 4.6 x 12.9 x 20.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 102,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Enthralling . . . a story so packed with thrills, comedy, drama and a bit of red herring that the result is apt to satisfy the most discriminating, and hungry, reader."--"The Denver Post"

"[Connie] Willis can tell a story like no other. . . . One of her specialties is sparkling, rapid-fire dialogue; another, suspenseful plotting; and yet another, dramatic scenes so fierce that they burn like after-images in the reader's memory."--"The Village Voice
"Ambitious, and moving . . . with a lovely twist at the end."--"The San Diego Union-Tribune"

"[Willis's] re-creation of wartime England is meticulous, energetic and exhaustive."--"The Wall Street Journal
"[A] tour de force."--"The Charlotte Observer" --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

The thrilling sequel to BLACKOUT, and a superb WWII novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overlong but diverting enough 27 Mar 2011
By John Tierney VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the second and final part of the time travel story set in WWII started in Black Out. You can't really read All Clear without reading Black Out, so don't start with this part if you haven't already read the first.
The story of our three students from 2060 stuck in WWII continues and it suffers from the problems that Black Out had, namely that it takes another 641 pages to resolve everything. When you add that to Black Out's page tally we are talking a total of over 1100 pages, which is just far too long. As I also said in my Black Out review I am a big fan of Willis, but with her time travel stories there is just too much spinning out of the story. Things almost - but not quite - happen again and again and again. It's really frustrating.
Not to say that the scope, ideas and detail are not good - they are, especially the detail. There is lots of good stuff in here about how the Allies tried to fool the Germans into thinking the Normandy landings would happen elsewhere, and this is at least partially based on fact. And really interesting. But the number of times Michael, Merope and Polly almost get rescued/work everything out but don't quite manage it this time starts to frustrate.
I think the book is somewhat saved by the details mentioned above and also some plot twists that I didn't see coming - but they just take far to long to happen.
I wish Willis would put her books on diets - if she did they would be small masterpieces of wit and intelligence. For an example of this see Bellwether.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Infuriating! 3 Jan 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The good news is that "All Clear" is an improvement on "Blackout", the first part of this novel that turned out so long that it only seems to go by the name of its two parts, "Blackout/All Clear". "Tinhead" and "J. Irish" have summed up its strengths and weakness perfectly in their reviews: in "Blackout" the time-travelling protagonists investigating different aspects of World War Two were all involved in their separate activities, and we had a soap opera with masses of very dull detail and next to no dramatic tension. In "All Clear" the time-travellers find each other in London and begin to seek a way out of their predicament, which is that they are stuck in the middle of the Blitz because their time gates won't open. This brings some genuine dramatic tension to the book, and you begin to care a bit about the characters. The time complications start to become more interesting, and Connie Willis's enormous amount of research begins to pay dividends. And in the end she makes a pretty good job (in so far as anyone can!) of resolving the time paradoxes. And yet! ... the book remains infuriating: like "Blackout", it is still far too long, too soapy, and too full of dull minutiae. If only the book had been 300 or 400 pages long rather than well over 1,000, we could have had a terrific time travel novel fully deserving of the Hugo and Nebula Awards it has won, instead of simply rewarding Connie Willis's undoubted effort and her status in the American science fiction community.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars overall. 8 April 2012

Oxford in 2060 is a chaotic place, with scores of time-traveling historians being sent into the past. 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 into letting her go to VE-Day. Polly Churchill's next assignment will be as a shopgirl in the middle of London's Blitz.

But now the time-travel lab is suddenly canceling assignments 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, and dive-bombing Stukas--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.

Overall I enjoyed the story. The problems came when there was a time lapse between me reading book 1A and book 1b (this is one book spit into two parts). I had a bit of difficulty trying to remember what had gone on in Blackout. Then Polly really frustrated me when she withheld information from Mike and Eileen.

Really, this book needed to be trimmed down, and I'm blaming her editor for that.

I also got frustrated with the inner monologues/thoughts of the individuals which just seemed to go on and on.

Finally, sorry to be dim, but what did the ending mean? Was Colin Merope's great grandchild? I was puzzled by the ending and read it three times, but I still can't tell. Someone PLEASE leave and comment and clue me in.

I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't read it again.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Connie Willis's latest novel picks up exactly where the last one, Blackout, left off, with the young 21st century historians Polly Churchill, Merope Ward, and Michael Ward trapped in England during the Blitz. Having finally located each other, the three struggle to survive in war-ravaged London, desperately attempting to locate other time travelers and trying to contact the future to alert them to their plight. Adding to their urgency is a deadline Polly faces, when she must depart before her presence on an earlier trip jeopardizes her existence. And preying upon all of them is the growing fear that their actions may have changed the past and undone the future to which there are trying to return.

As she does in her previous novel, Willis interweaves the narratives of multiple characters amidst a vivid portrait of wartime England and the perils her characters face. This often can be confusing, but her richly detailed plot rewards the reader, gradually revealing its secrets as developments unfold. In this respect, it is unfortunate that the two volumes were published separately, as both are required to fully appreciate her success in developing a carefully layered narrative. Together they combine to create a suspenseful work of the first caliber, one in which many of the themes characteristic of her work - single-minded characters whose agendas interfere with the plans of the protagonists, the impact of technology on personal lives, the effort to cope with tragedy and loss - are on full display. Fans of well-written science fiction or historical works will enjoy her gripping and intricate novel, one that is sure to become one of the classics of the genre.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Its half a book
Blackout and All clear are a single book, not two parts of a series, a single book.

I bought this (and blackout) as I was so impressed with "Doomesday Book", a... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Lesley
2.0 out of 5 stars Bloated and packed full of howlers
Warning, this is a continuation of Blackout. There is no summary of the story so far and neither book stands alone. You cannot read this volume before or without the first. Read more
Published 7 months ago by PR
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing - suggestions for optimal joy
My introduction to Willis was through the Doomsday Book.

First up, I think that Willis is an absolutely astonishing novelist and thus the question that you should be... Read more
Published 10 months ago by jonathan505154
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard going
Got this book as i didnt realise the the story was in 2 parts .

Not very interesting and am still reading it after 12 months. Read more
Published 12 months ago by paul g chambers
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth reading
I Only read a couple of chapters to see if it improved on blackout but it didn't. Very poor book.
Published 13 months ago by Sarah g
4.0 out of 5 stars atmospheric
Although Connie Willis is from Colorado, she has managed to evoke the atmosphere of Eng;and durng the second world war very well.
Published 16 months ago by Liz H-L
2.0 out of 5 stars .... and on and on ... after "Blackout"
After a promising "plot" in "Doolmsday" I found both "Blackout" and "All Clear" sadly lacking in actual "Time Travel" although - to give... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Bob, Fareham.
5.0 out of 5 stars Gets Better Each Reading
I agree with most of the reviews here -- EXCEPT -- I just found myself picking up these books again, a few years after first reading them. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Jennie Lyn
4.0 out of 5 stars Complicated but good!
This is a sequel to a previous book 'Blackout' so I would recommend reading that first.It was brilliant to be able to download this book on to my kindle having read 'Blackout'... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Mrs. H. F. Charles
3.0 out of 5 stars Return From World War II
In "All Clear", Connie Willis finishes the story she started in "Blackout". "All Clear" was published on October 19th, 2010. Read more
Published on 9 July 2012 by Dave_42
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