Sweetp-1's Reviews > Blackout

Blackout by Connie Willis
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's review
May 18, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: sci-fi, timetravel
Read from May 15 to 17, 2011

** spoiler alert ** This is my first Willis book so have no basis on which to compare the writing - I have Doomsday Book from the library currently. I read some of the other reviews and agree with many of those that complain about the length and "slowness" in getting to the crux of the book which is essentially that the time travelling historians are unable to get home to 2060. This happens approximately 300 pages in and since the blurb on the back of the book basically foreshadows this anyway I found it a bit of a anticlimax. There is a lot of character "dithering" , far too much inner monologue (more dithering) and an abhorrent overuse of the phrase "but this is time travel" - a point that should be obvious to the reader a few pages into the book. I really dont think we needed it spelt out every paragraph once they find out the drops arent working. Where this book shines for me is the descriptions of WWII London and I found some of the images very evocative especially the nightly Blitz raids and Eileen watching the planes overhead fighting in the Battle of Britain. I struggled a little with the length/time it too for "something to happen" and the requirement that I believe an establishment like Oxford would dither (yes, it seemed to be a major theme) around so much with something as fragile as time travel - all that mucking about with schedules and a lab overrun, people seemingly running in and out of time willy nilly - whether this becomes something of an issue in the next book I guess will remain to be seen but I did find it a little hard to believe that a historian travelling to Britain in that era wouldnt know what the bomb shelters were called. I read most of this in bed sick with the flu and possibly would have given up on it due to the pace if this had been a book I picked up each night. Despite my groans and "she did NOT just use that phrase again" complaints I have "All Clear" waiting to be read next - it better pick up the pace and answer some of the questions. I do think some good editing could have cut Black Out in half and both volumes could have been one book. Anyway in spite of all my moans this was an OK book and I am invested enough to want to know what happens now.

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50.0% "This is my first Connie Willis book, enjoying so far"
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