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Doomsday Book Paperback – Jul 1992


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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Bantam Dell Pub Group (Trd) (July 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553351672
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553351675
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (218 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,607,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Connie Willis laboured five years on this story of a history student in 2048 who is transported to an English village in the 14th century. The student arrives mistakenly on the eve of the onset of the Black Plague. Her dealings with a family of "contemps" in 1348 and with her historian cohorts lead to complications as the book unfolds into a surprisingly dark, deep conclusion. The book, which won Hugo and Nebula Awards, draws upon Willis' understanding of the universalities of human nature to explore the ageless issues of evil, suffering and the indomitable will of the human spirit. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A Hugo and Nebula Award-winning novel of plague and time travel by an SFWA Grand Master of Science Ficiton. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By R. Plachcinski on 24 Mar 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the best books I have ever read. Kivrin, a time-travelling historian, is mistakenly sent back to a Medieval village near Oxford as the Black Death is about to strike, and sees all around her succumb to the Plague. At the same time, in her home time, a flu pandemic is laying waste to Oxford, stopping any attempts to find her and bring her home. Unlikely as it may sound, this novel also contains some wonderful comic moments - William, Mrs Gaddson, Finch and the American bellringers, to name but a few. I am absolutely caught up in this story and unable to put it down every time I read it.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By "esigvallius" on 18 Feb 2002
Format: Paperback
The evocation of the sheer nastiness of the 14th Century is brilliant. There is mounting horror as the natives of that century succumb to the Black Death over a Christmas period, witnessed by the appalled time-travelling scholar from our own near future. Some of the scenes are heartrending, as there is plenty of time to get attached to the characters before they start to become ill.
In alternate chapters the contemporary situation in Oxford at Christmas is explored, where an outbreak of highly contagious and fatal flu has broken out, thereby preventing a rescue party from setting up the equipment necessary for retrieving the scholar. The quarantine, medicalisation and bureaucracy of the situation in contemporary Oxford contrasts sharply with the superstition, dubious medicines and appeals to the Almighty that exemplify the 14th Century.
If it sounds unrelentingly grim; it isn't. There is a lot of humour, with fun being poked at characters who are vain and officious in BOTH centuries.
Anyone who has lived in/ studied in/ visited Oxford will find much to recognise in the description of the town, especially the University. Immerse yourself in this book over a summer's day, and you will surface from it as I did: wondering why it isn't freezing cold and surprised to find that you're still healthy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Mar 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book really isn't sci-fi - it uses time travel as a way of introducing the middle ages. Anyone expecting technical marvels will be disappointed. Instead this is a very solid, emotional story. I'm a 29-yo male computer engineer and I almost cried at the end. The lack of technical detail didn't bother me. In fact, it was refreshing because so many sci-fi authors try to describe tech in great detail and just end up showing how little they really understand. This book is about the plague, carries a great many details of the 1300's and is a story that educates and involves the reader. The characters are most certainly not cardboard - people who say that just read this book for the wrong reasons. My only nitpick is that the very end (the rescue) was too predictable, and I skimmed most of it because I knew what was going to happen. Perhaps the part I liked the most wa sthe brutal reality of things not going the way of the main characters in either time periods. I've had days like that myself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 July 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The heroine of Connie Willis's award-winning Doomsday Book is a grad student in history at an English university in the near future. She's gotten approval to go back in time to the 14th century to do on-site research. Armed with her implanted language decoders and her anti-plague shots, she's sent back by an operator who is coming down with a contemporary plague and makes a mistake, putting her smack-dab in the middle of an area soon to be over-run by disease. As she struggles to get back to her own time, her mentor struggles to get her back as well, but bodies are piling up---all over time. A gripping, emotional read that transcends the barriers of genre fiction. Science-fiction is the category that's been assigned to this title, but it is so much more...mystery, romance, historical fiction... A terrific read that will stay with you. You know the cliche, "I couldn't put this book down!" Here, it's true---I hated coming to the end, I loved all the characters so. Jo Manning (drmwk@juno.com)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K. Brazier on 5 Jun 2006
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up in the States a few years ago, read it several times, and have now ploughed through nearly as many reviews as pages! From an English point of view, Connie Willis's view of bureaucracy is spot-on, weather perfect (it's always raining here, and the characters' obsession with minutiae of life - Finch and the lavatory paper - well observed. The Americanisms add to the joy of her writing (Colin's muffler - isn't that a scarf?) I lived near Oxford as a girl, and still wonder where the actual village was...

The story is a gem, and has me weeping every time I re-read it. Kivrin is as real as can be imagined, as is Dunworthy, Colin and Fr Roche. Don't be put off by the bad reviews!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 Dec 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What can I say, one of the best books I've read.
Characters are real and interesting, Kivrin is simply wonderful. I missed her, having finished the book and that's what counts. If one doesn't miss the main characters, the book hadn't hit the spot. I miss most of them. I was left amazed by the detailed, interesting and flowing description of Medieval England and enjoyed every moment. The Plague seemed real and I got to feel, to a great extent, the demanding reality that was real for people then.
Finishing the book, I felt that I've lost a friend. Kivrin is the sort of girl whom I would have wanted to meet and get to know better, had she been real. I think there isn't a greater complement for a Writer.
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