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Blackout Hardcover – Feb 2 2010

16 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; 1st Edition edition (Feb. 2 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553803190
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553803198
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 4 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 739 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #484,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“A tour de force . . . [Willis] is one of America’s finest writers.”
The Denver Post

“This compassionate and deeply imagined novel . . . gives the reader a strong you-were-there feeling.”
The Times-Picayune
“[Willis has] researched Blackout so thoroughly, her readers may imagine she had access to the time machine her characters use.”
—The Seattle Times
“A page-turning thriller . . . Willis uses detail and period language exquisitely well, creating an engaging, exciting tale.”
—Publishers Weekly

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

Connie Willis, who was recently inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, has received six Nebula Awards and ten Hugo Awards for her fiction; her previous novel, Passage, was nominated for both. Her other works include Doomsday Book, Lincoln’s Dreams, Bellwether, Impossible Things, Remake, Uncharted Territory, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Fire Watch, and Miracle and Other Christmas Stories. Connie Willis lives in Colorado with her family.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Alison S. Coad TOP 50 REVIEWER on March 12 2010
Format: Hardcover
Connie Willis is a wonderful writer, primarily in the field of science fiction but often in a humourous vein, of which there are few good sf/f practitioners. Her most recent novel, Blackout, is not among her funny stories, however; instead, she returns to future-Oxford, the setting of her earlier novels Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog, where time travel has been developed and historians are sent to different eras in order to observe what really happened. There are rules to time travel, including that historians cannot travel back to events that are considered to be "divergence" points, incidents that, if changed, will change the course of history. But when Polly, Merope (Eileen) and Michael are sent to various parts of Great Britain during WWII, in order to observe how people coped during that time, things start going wrong and they wonder if history has somehow been changed by their presence. Especially as they find that none of the "drops" from which they arrived in 1940 are working or available, and no retrieval team has come to take them out of a very dangerous situation....I'm not big on WWII stories, in fact I won't usually read novels set in that period or watch movies set then, but I put that dislike aside for the sake of Willis' writing, and I'm glad I did - this novel as is full of richly observed characters and intense dramatic scenes and, yes, a few moments that come across as keystone-kop zany, as any she's ever written. My only real quibble with it is that the story is unfinished; we must all wait unti the Fall of 2010 for All Clear, the second half, to be published in order to find out what happens to everybody. Recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By mabel on Feb. 1 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is part 1 of 2 (the second part is out in October) but so far so good--I read it in two days. Connie Willis fans, and WW2 fans, won't be disappointed. Great historical detail, likable characters, and a time travel mystery is a-brewing! --> I docked one "star" because the last third of the book bogs down a bit.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carole A. Freeman on April 14 2010
Format: Hardcover
...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.....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JJ Zazubek on June 23 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I borrowed this form the library a few years ago, and finished all the other books in the setting.
But re-reading this has been on my mind, so I had to own my own copy.
I wish I could live in this time! I even took my last holiday in Oxford and London just to see the sights from the book (and I'm from Canada) !
worth reading over and over
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Format: Kindle Edition
I am puzzled at how the stars rating can only be 3.1 when almost as many people voted 4 stars or above as vote 3 or below. Don't the stars have some species of weighting?

There is a problem with the book, and that is that it is really only the first 500 pages of an 1150 page story which was released in two books. Don't rate the books individually, rate them together.or apply the ratings system equally to both books. Do film critics, or even movie goers watch the first 45 minutes of the film then leave and write their review? (Actually they do, which is why some rather pretentious trash has been highly praised.) The second problem is that the story is very, very, VERY complex and requires you to keep track of a lot of characters as the action jumps back and forth and from story line to story line. If you need to, keep notes ;-)

This is a very well done book, with remarkable accuracy in the portrayal of Britain and the history of the period. I am an amateur specialist on the Blitz and British conduct of their war effort, and it all seems remarkably true to both social and historical fact. My Mum was Englsh and met my father during the war. I have been back a number of times, and even lived there for 5 years.
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