Written by: Connie Willis
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 491 (Hardcover)
Series: Book One of Two
The premise: ganked from BN.com: 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.
Buy the Paperback: and that's IF and ONLY IF you've already read Connie Willis's other work and can't resist learning more about time-traveling historians. If you've never read Willis's work before? For the love of all things good, DO NOT START HERE. If you want a serious time-traveling historian novel that'll break your heart, read Doomsday Book. If you want a serious book that'll break your heart but has nothing to do with time-travel, read Passage. If you want a humorous and light story featuring time-traveling historians that has the most romantic sentence in history, read To Say Nothing of the Dog.
But don't start here.
I'll have more to say about Blackout when I review All Clear, which is next in the queue. Sorry if that frustrates you, but this book is a rather odd bird, so it's hard to assign it an official verdict because as of yet, I don't even have a complete story.
But seriously, newbies to Connie Willis? DO NOT START HERE. This, so far, is NOT her best work, which saddens me a bit, but I hope that fact redeems itself in the sequel. Only time will tell (pun intended).
Review style: Because this book is part one of two, I don't want to get into details or spoilers. Instead, I want to talk about the general premise behind Willis's form of time travel and talk about some of the issues I had with it as well as the characters. We'll talk structure and history, and that's about it. I really won't have a complete verdict on this book until I read its sequel, All Clear, so no spoilers. Unless you count my discussion of structure as spoilery, feel free to click the link below to my full review at my LJ. As always, comments and discussion are most welcome. :)
REVIEW: Connie Willis's BLACKOUT
Book club selections @ calico_reaction. Hop on over! We'd love to have you!
November: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
December: Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay