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Doomsday Book Mass Market Paperback – Aug 1 1993

350 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; Reprint edition (Aug. 1 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553562738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553562736
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 3.2 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (350 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #103,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

Connie Willis labored 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.

From Publishers Weekly

This new book by Hugo- and Nebula-award-winning author Willis ( Lincoln's Dreams ) is an intelligent and satisfying blend of classic science fiction and historical reconstruction. Kivrin, a history student at Oxford in 2048, travels back in time to a 14th-century English village, despite a host of misgivings on the part of her unofficial tutor. When the technician responsible for the procedure falls prey to a 21st-century epidemic, he accidentally sends Kivrin back not to 1320 but to 1348--right into the path of the Black Death. Unaware at first of the error, Kivrin becomes deeply involved in the life of the family that takes her in. But before long she learns the truth and comes face to face with the horrible, unending suffering of the plague that would wipe out half the population of Europe. Meanwhile, back in the future, modern science shows itself infinitely superior in its response to epidemics, but human nature evidences no similar evolution, and scapegoating is still alive and well in a campaign against "infected foreigners."p. 204 This book finds villains and heroes in all ages, and love, too, which Kivrin hears in the revealing and quietly touching deathbed confession of a village priest.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Trixie on July 6 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Connie Willis is simply one of the finest contemporary SF writers and here is the proof. I bought this book on a whim after reading the cover blurb. It's become one of my favorites.
The idea of time travel is a real warhorse in SF and often yields interesting results. I liked the premise of making the travellers history students; the added attraction was making the period under surveillance the Plague Years of medieval Europe. This may ring your deja-vu bell by now but Willis tackled this issue before and far better than Michael Crichton (Timeline, for those who aren't Crichton fans, covered similiar territory.)
The story involves the journey of Kivrin, an Oxford student of British history in the mid 21st century. Due to some complicated coincidences between past and present, her time travel goes off course and she lands in England 100 or so years earlier than planned at the height of the plague. Meanwhile, a mysterious illness is wreaking havoc on modern-day England which complicates rescue efforts. Kivrin is cut off from the present and attempts to save her host family and village with what modern medical knowledge she possesses and the aide of the village priest.
I expected an adventure tale and I got it but the real gift of Willis' writing is the incredible pathos she inspires toward her subjects. The story moves quickly and expertly between the present and the past and never loses steam. What I most enjoyed was the transition in Kivrin's mind from her subjects being abstracts ("contemps") to real people who love and strive and suffer. The realization is one the best historians must of necessity arrive at but most of us rarely contemplate when sitting in the comfort of a classroom or armchair.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a classic Science Fiction novel about time travel, which makes it a cool blend of 21st century sensibilities and 14th century history. Time travel has been invented and historians have taken to using it to further their research. Kivrin is a 17-year-old historian with a passion for Medieval times. She manages to get herself sent back to 1320, 24 years before the plague hits England, but when people start getting sick, she has to wonder if she got sent to the wrong time. Back in Oxford in the 2050’s, people are also getting sick, but it should be impossible for bacteria and viruses to pass through the time travel net.

One of the most interesting parts of the book for me was watching the differences in how illness was treated in the different time periods. The “modern” (2050’s) response is very similar to present day, with a couple of better medicines: quarantine, hydration, medicine. In the 1300’s, religious rites seemed to have taken precedent over sanitation, so bodies were handled more than would be advisable, and prayer was considered an appropriate treatment. The book deals with how little they had to work with back then, and Kivrin’s frustration at knowing people could be saved with better technology was heartbreaking. Watching her try to translate modern notions like “don’t touch the corpse’s fluid’s” and “disease transmission” into something that could be understood at the time was a neat mental exercise, as was figuring out how to treat something using the technology available (sterilizing knives using fire, using alcohol because it is the best available antiseptic, trying to figure out the plant that is closest to advil, etc.).

The historical fiction parts of the book were done extremely well (though I would not know how accurate) and felt very realistic.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback

The book starts in Oxford, England in 2048 during an attack of an unknown virus...At the same time a History Student is sent back into time to complete her doctorate. (Note: Only Historian's are able to time travel in 2048). Due to effects of the virus on the transporter, the historian is accidently, transported to 14th Century England during the Black Plague. Not only is there a struggle to get the historian returned to 2048 but she must struggle to stay alive in a villiage that is ranpant with the horrors of the plague. Death and suffering is all around her. This is a very gripping, horrific and emotional story with some of the most memorable characters. I had the feeling I was living through the black death too, it felt that real! I read this book many, many years ago and have never forgotten it. Now that Connie Willis has come out with 'BLACKOUT', the same wonderful time travelling team from Oxford, I felt I must let other reader know how wonderful this book was and believe me "Blackout" is just as fab.! If you love Time Travel you will love this book!

Connie Willis has written some of the most enjoyable books I have read such as: To Say Nothing of the Dog; Bellwether; Lincoln's Dreams; Passages; Blackout; Fire watch, and many more
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's impossible to speak about this book without mentioning THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE. Don't get me wrong---the only similarities happen to be time travel---otherwise totally different stories. BUT, for me, DOOMSDAY BOOK has a bit more going for it. The plot is this: Take one history student, say, in the year 2048, and transplant/transport THEM to England in the 14th century. Sounds simple, almost contrived---a sort of "Back to the Future," type of scenario, but again, it's not the idea but what the author does with it. In this capable writer's hands, the story comes to life as no other. I was really outright "shocked" at how well the tale was handled. No cliches here, folks. Just good writing and pacing that makes sense and keeps things moving.

Just to kick things up a notch, our time traveler arrives just as the Black Plague is getting underway. And why not? Now, all this is good and well for a nice story that will keep yo flipping the pages, but something else is happening here. There's an underlying metaphorical touch that I couldn't quite put my finger on---a veritable "this is really about something else" feeling that leads me to believe Willis is a much "deeper" writer than one might expect. No, I don't think I'm reading too much into this great tale, but you pick up a copy and decide for yourself. So many books disappoint---this isn't one of them.

Also highly recommended: TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE
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