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4.0 out of 5 stars If you love historical fiction and don't mind a character driven book ...
Quick Review: If you love historical fiction and don't mind a character driven book I would recommend it but if you are looking for more of a science fiction book with big battles and drama I wouldn't.

I have been reading all the joint Hugo/Nebula winners and after reading Doomsday book (Another by Connie Willis) I was really looking forward to reading All...
Published 2 months ago by Paula

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Like opening a beautifully wrapped parcel and finding a pair of socks...
...this book seriously failed to live up to its potential. The premise is interesting and there's no doubt that Connie Willis can write engagingly but that's where the good stuff ends, I'm afraid. It's awful to speak negatively about the hard work of a talented author. I blame my need to do so entirely on the fact that someone failed to sack this book's editor (and...
Published on 5 Jun 2012 by L Robinson


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science not Magic!, 25 Sep 2011
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This review is from: Blackout (Kindle Edition)
Loved The Doomsday Book and have been looking for more to no avail until now. This is half The story, The other half is available in America but not here unfortunately, so am still waiting for the next book. Love the concept of scientifically developed time travel being used to develop knowledge of future historians, and the fact that human error can affect the situation catastrophically.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story, 20 Sep 2011
By 
Book Addict "jackie" (ABERGAVENNY, MONMOUTHSHIRE United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Blackout (Kindle Edition)
Imagine a world, sometime in the future when time travel is a reality and is used as a tool by universities to study the past. Historians can elect to visit any era they choose, and live through events with the people of the time, the 'contemps'.
In 'Blackout' three visitor arrive in Great Britain during World War 2. They all travel to slightly different times and to different parts of the country. Polly is looking for work in a store in London during the blitz, Michael wants to watch the events surrounding the evacuation of Dunkirk from Dover and Merope finds herself caring for evacuees in the country while hoping be present at the VE Day celebrations.
But things suddenly become more complicated. In addition to coping with the privations and dangers of living in a war zone they find that perhaps the firmly held belief that it is impossible to alter the past is not quite as true as they thought.
Each of them arrives in a slightly different place or time than they had anticipated, this is called 'slippage'. To add to that they find that they can no longer use location in which they arrived, the 'Drop' to get back to their Oxford.
A series of events unfold in which they have a clear impact on events of the time and they fear that these 'alterations' are what is causing the difficulty in returning to their own time. And if that is so, then are they also altering what is meant to happen?. Will the allies lose the war?, will the Germans invade successfully?
This book is beautifully written, for an American, the author has an excellent grasp of how British society and language differ from that of our overseas friends.
It moves slowly but that only makes it more enjoyable for me, I was fascinated by the facts about the Blitz that were dropped in by the author.
It is a little frustrating that it is only half a book, but luckily for me I was able to get hold of the follow up 'All Clear' to read straight away.
Some people have complained about historical inaccuracies, I am too young to have lived through that time and so was unaware of them, But even if I did notice any, it probably wouldn't have spoiled the story for me, after all, it is fiction and not a school textbook.
So, in conclusion, if you are a historian specilaising in WW2, then this is not the book for you ,but if you are looking for a good story then try it out, you might really enjoy it as I did.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but you need the sequel for closure, 9 Sep 2010
By 
John Tierney (Wirral, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Blackout (Hardcover)
I'm a big fan of Connie Willis, but my main criticism of her is that her books are too long. I was half-hoping for some kind of conclusion at the end of this book, whilst knowing that it's a 2-parter, but no such luck. So we'll have to wait for All Clear to find out what happens. That said, this is an enjoyable book, with tons of period detail. She's certainly done her research into WII and I felt like I was at Dunkirk or sheltering in air-raid tunnels in London during the blitz. If you want to know a bit about the plot it mainly concerns 3 time-travelling historians, Michael, Merope and Polly who are investigating various aspects of WWII having travelled back from 2060 (you may be familiar with Willis's other time-travelling stories e.g. Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing Of the Dog, Firewatch etc).

The aspects are WWII covered are interesting - heroes at Dunkirk, evacuees and shop-girls in the blitz. There is much to enjoy - I never knew what an applecart upset what before I read this book. But 491 pages are a lot when you're only half way through and (as usual for Willis) there are multiple frustrations, delays, near-misses, misunderstadings. Whether the conclusion in All Clear will merit something getting on for 1000 pages remains to be seen. I will buy it anyway.

I'd have gone for 3.5 stars because it's very readable, but had to round down because 4 stars would be too much for half a book.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OH, TO BE A HISTORIAN IN CONNIE WILLIS FUTURE..., 14 April 2010
This review is from: Blackout (Hardcover)
OH, TO BE A HISTORIAN IN CONNIE WILLIS FUTURE...
...I am a huge fan of Connie Willis books, especially "Doomsday Book", which will always be in the top of my most memorable books I have read. Those of you who have read "Doomsday",(winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Science Fiction) as well as "To Say Nothing of the Dog" and "Fire Watch", will be reunited with Mr. Dunworthy and his team of Time Travelling Historians from future Oxford.

In `BLACKOUT', a team of historian's are sent to study/observe the different aspects of the effect WW2 had on the lives of ordinary people who lived through the war in England. We meet Evacuated Children, London Shop Girls, Nurses and many others including the amazing ordinary hero's who attempted to rescue British Troops from Dunkirk, in fishing boats regardless of the Danger to themselves.

Unlike Doomsday, this book does not alternate between future and past, but once the time travelling historians leave their present (2060), the story remains fixed in the early 1940's during WW2 England.

Regardless of the desperate, chaotic and sometimes very frighteningly dangerous situations the Brits and the time travelling historians find themselves in, Connie Willis adds the needed humour now and then.

I felt totally immersed into the story. I felt it was very believable and I learnt how the Brits reacted to the crisis at hand and how life went on regardless. As the famous WW2 poster stated "KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON" and they certainly did. Meanwhile, the Historians are desperate to return back to the future, but because of what seems to be a technical time travelling glitch they are stranded in a very dangerous time and the fear of changing the course of history is forever present.

NEGATIVES: Yes, `BLACKOUT' is the first of two books in the series.....Yes, "ALL CLEAR" the second book does not come out till fall....Yes, it leaves you hanging....and sure there are some very "small" flaws in the writing...but hey, get over it! this is a very exciting, suspenseful book which I highly recommend reading.

...I LOVED IT AND I KNOW YOU WILL TOO!... I am pre-ordering the second and last book in the series `ALL CLEAR' right away.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I hoped..., 3 July 2011
This review is from: Blackout (Paperback)
I don't have any trouble with time-travelling, and I like the author's writing. The story is jumping not only from year 2060 to the 1940s but also to and from different places and different times during the war and I tend to like a story better if you follow one or two people. I got a bit bored in fact...
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Return To World War II, 8 July 2012
This review is from: Blackout (Paperback)
Connie Willis returns to a premise she has used a few times before in "Blackout". Historians in the mid-21st century are involved in time travel to observe events in history for research. "Blackout" was published originally on February 2nd, 2010, but it is only the first half of the story, the rest of it was published as "All Clear" on October 19th, 2010. What becomes clear while reading "Blackout", if it wasn't pretty much assumed from Willis' other works, is that the historical research was meticulous and thorough. Willis clearly drew on numerous sources to paint a picture of the "Blitz" which was extremely detailed and allowed her to write a story which puts the reader into that time and place.

Willis is, of course, an excellent writer, and like other books this one is no exception, though it has the unusual situation where it wins the 2011 Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards not for just itself, but as part of the "Blackout/All Clear" combination. The books also was a finalist for the 2011 Campbell Memorial award and finished 7th on the SF Site Poll for 2011. When one finishes "Blackout" it is immediately clear as to why the two novels are completely tied together, and that is because "Blackout" cannot stand on its own as a story. Willis takes us into the story and leaves us at the height of the unsolved mystery.

At nearly 500 pages just for "Blackout" (and near 650 for "All Clear") it is easy to understand why it was decided to split it into two volumes, though it is not impossible for a single volume to get to 1200 pages, it would certainly be more difficult for the reader to lug around. That being said, there was another choice, and at the end of nearly 500 pages and no end in sight, I had to ask the question regarding is all this necessary, or would it have been better to edit the story down to something a bit more manageable.

Of course I knew, as probably most readers did, before starting the first book, that it was a two volume work, but that didn't deter me because it is certainly possible for an interesting story to last for more than 1000 pages, but I am far from convinced that this one is it. In reading it, I felt more like the author was, at least at times, making sure she used all of the incredible research she did, to not let it go to waste, rather than finding each chapter to be important to the overall story. I can't point to anything specifically wrong with any chapter, but I am sure the pace of the story could have been increased.

While slow pace is an issue with this novel, it is not a huge problem, and this is still a very good book to read, the story is interesting, and as already mentioned the attention to historical detail is incredible. Connie Willis is almost always worth reading, and "Blackout" is not one of those you should miss, but you will need to get "All Clear" as well.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A different deeper title, 13 Jun 2011
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Blackout (Paperback)
Whilst Connie has written other titles previous to this one, this was my first "journey" with her and as such I love the concepts, characters as well as overall arc, yes it moved slowly in places but that added to the atmosphere and confusion of the time period which felt to me like it added a touch more authenticity to the piece. Whilst this is the first part of one huge book (the second currently is down for release in October) it does take the reader on a journey of discovery, enlightenment and personal evolvement for the characters concerned who, while they do not all gel together allows the reader to understand as well as discover the full beauty of this title.

It has something for everyone and while a few may claim that it wasn't quite up to her previous titles, I think judgment has to be held off until the second title is released in order to gain the full picture. I really can't wait to see what she has in store.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 11 Aug 2010
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This review is from: Blackout (Hardcover)
I'll always love Doomsday Book best but this is still pretty terrific - builds up slowly and really gives you a feel for what it must have been like during that period. Plus of course the time travel element - and Colin once again appears to be riding to the rescue. It's nice finding out what's happened to him since Doomsday - looking forward to the second part.
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Blackout
Blackout by Connie Willis (Paperback - 8 Mar 2012)
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