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Fire Watch (Oxford Time Travel, #0.5)
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Fire Watch

(Oxford Time Travel 0.5)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  621 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Hardcover, 92 pages
Published October 22nd 2010 by WSFA Press (first published February 1982)
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3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  621 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Peter Derk
Feb 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Pretty good book, quick read, all that.

The main thing I wanted to talk about is time travel because I really do want to talk about what I want to talk about. That would make a great chorus for a pop country song.

What's cool about Connie Willis is that, for my money, she handles time travel well. It's not explained in this story, but I had a kindly office mate explain to me that Connie Willis' other books that take place in the same universe involve something called "slippage." Slippage is the th
Nov 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Pretty good short that introduced us to the time-traveling historians of Oxford. When comparing this to Blackout/All Clear, you can really see how much Willis has honed her craft over the years.
Karen’s Library
Interesting story about a time-traveling historian trying to save St. Paul's cathedral during the blitz in London during World War II.
This novelette which won the both Hugo and Nebula, serves as a good primer to Connie Willis' works.

I just read To Say Nothing of the Dog a few days ago, so I thought it would be good to read this novelette before reading Doomsday Book.

But my advice to anyone interested in her books would be to start directly with To Say Nothing of the Dog or Doomsday Book. Arguably, these two books could be considered to be her best efforts.
Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Scott by: Connie Willis
I read this after I finished Blackout and All Clear. There are some minor discrepancies but nothing that a little willing suspension of disbelief won't cover up. It was nice to see Kivrin again.

I think Connie Willis has it correct. How often have you romanticized about traveling to the past? I never really take into consideration language differences - let alone differences in norms and folkways - in my flights of fancy.

I looked up The Battle of Britain on 29. December 1940 on the internet and f
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Quite possibly the best bit of time-travel fiction I've ever read. 'Scuse me while I devour the rest of the series...
Sep 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Very good, but damn if the bit about Russia/Communists (who, you know, bombed places left and right) didn't age. The moment I got to it I knew when it must have been written.
Sara J. (kefuwa)
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
That was - perfect! All the feels! Man I did not expect that. And I've read Doomsday Book & Blackout/All Clear! T_T Great start to my 2019 short stories/novelettes reading!

First read: 4jan19
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Of course they're relevant!" I shouted. "They are the history, not all these bloody numbers!"
Angela Demott
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This short story isn’t as developed as the novels in the Oxford Time Travel series in terms of characterization or even plot, but it does still offer that unique and identifying style that is all Connie Willis. Some readers hate it, but this reader can’t get enough.
Luciana Darce
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Pelo que entendi das explicações do Enrique, essa história faz parte do enredo maior pelo qual Connie Willis é mais conhecida, o universo de viajantes do tempo de Doomsday Book (que está previsto para ser lançado em português ainda esse ano e definitivamente vou ler) e To Say Nothing of the Dog.

Pelo que entendi, existe uma espécie de liga de historiadores viajantes do tempo e para se formar no grupo, é necessário passar por um teste em que o estudante é lançado em determinada época histórica par
Chris Cutler
Jan 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book, sci-fi
A great introduction to Willis' Oxford Time Travel series. A short story, this excursion into WWII concisely introduces the ideas, feeling, and ethic of her approach to "History" in a way that converts her readers, rather than just informing them. Which, of course, is the whole point.
M Hamed
Oct 28, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2015, hard-sci-fi
i don't care !
Durval Menezes
Feb 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Quick read, reasonably interesting story at least for someone interested in WW2 history like me. Also informative, learned some things I still didn't know about the London blitz by further researching on some points the story brought up.

On the negative side:
1) it's a much worse story than the one told in the "Doomsday Book" novel by the same author. Also, I do not understand why Goodreads lists this as "Book 0.5" in the same series; I see no way in which it's story could somehow come 'before' th
I don't know how I would feel about this story if I had never been to St Paul's Cathedral in London. I have, though, and been awestruck. Among other things, this
story celebrates the courage and dedication people of the fire watch at St Paul's during World War II. (There is a great photograph of St Paul's surrounded by smoke taken during a German attack on London in 1940. It was taken by Herbert Mason and titled "St Paul's Survives." It can be found on Google under the title of the photograph.)

Oleksandr Fediienko
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
З цього оповідання розпочалася історія оксфордських істориків, які мандрують у часі. Бартолом’ю навчається на історичному факультеті і готується до, скажімо так, виробничої практики – зустрічі зі Святим Павлом. За два дні до початку практики його сповіщають, що натомість він працюватиме пожежником у соборі Святого Павла під час Лондонського бліцкригу. В умовах цейтноту він заганяє всю необхідну інформацію глибоко в пам’ять і вирушає в мандрівку, сподіваючись на краще.
Робота в пожежній бригаді на
Nov 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I had every intention of reading Connie Willis's Oxford Time Travel series next year, so I began this month with this prequel.
This novel features the St. Paul's Watch but, since I know nothing about war-time London, I had to go read an article about the fire watch volunteers at St. Paul's Cathedral during 1939-1945.
I used a dictionary constantly during this novella, which didn't interest me much until the last 10-15 pages. I did enjoy all the semi-philosophizing about "the historian's mission."
Kim Clarke
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Teaser intro to the series, leaving me with a lot of questions that I hope will be answered in subsequent books. 1. When the heck is the present? 2. What happened to Denver? and 3. Why are cats so rare in the future?

Possibly the best line in any book ever. "If the kippers set Lord Nelson on fire, I shall be a hero"
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hm. Well, I liked it OK because it is Connie Willis. But I didn't seem to follow or track this one as well? I often felt like I just did not have a handle of what is going on and why. After all the angst about Kivrin going out I just don't see him booting an unprepared guy out? Especially with what HAPPENED to Kivrin. Glad I read it though.
Linda S
Apr 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Short story collection. The title story is great, but some of the others fall flat
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I literally have nothing to say about this that isn't perfection, but then again I'm biased. I love this series.
Sep 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013-book-150
This novelette is a tad more techy than the Oxford Time Travel novels, so more satisfying. There were no annoying children--a plus. Willis's talent sparkles most brightly in her shorter works. I chuckled at several points, not a common occurrence for me with the OTT books.

The story is structured kind of like a diary, as we follow Bartholomew on his assignment. It's a very useful frame for a time travel story and the diary-style writing make for a much more intimate view of events.

It's apparent t
Daniel Roy
Sep 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf, taw-bookclub, novella
I read To Say Nothing of the Dog a few years ago, so Willis' world of time-traveling Oxford historians was already familiar when I began reading Fire Watch. Nevertheless, it's easy to see why this story got Willis so much critical acclaim, and how it spawned a few novels set in the same universe.

In a way, Fire Watch is a story about the relationship between historians and History. It's a plea to look at History closer, to remember the human actors who lived through it instead of the statistics a
Sep 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Suz by: TAW
This was my first Willis read, and I quite enjoyed it. It's a story about time travel, and the main character goes back in time to the Blitz and is put on the fire watch for St. Paul's cathedral (for some kind of Time Travel U degree - it's basically his final exam).

It was good, Willis handles time travel well. Apparently characters from her novels are in this story, so I will look forward to reading it again after I've read those.

I would have probably enjoyed this story more if I hadn't just re
Apr 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
I just finished #1 of the Oxford Time Travel series, after reading #2 and #3. (Fate would just not let me read this series in order!) Before I started on #2 I decided to read a summery of this novella. But when I search for the summery on online I found a link to the actual book at So, I thought why not?

It's a quick read. It does not give any special insight to any of the other books or characters. After I read the book I realized that I had heard the st
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fire Watch did an excellent job of establishing the Oxford Time Travel series. It did an even better job of bringing home just how terrifying WWII England was, and how largely damaged and broken London was by the experience. Connie Willis does a beautiful job of bringing morality and feeling back into history, and breathing life into the experiences and statistics so commonly touted about.

It's chilling and heartbreaking, and makes the rest of the series that much more moving to read.
Jan 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Questo è stato il mio primo approccio con la scrittrice statunitense, anche se iniziare con un antologia di racconti possa risultare poco significativo. Tuttavia, pur con qualche episodio poco riuscito, la Willis mostra il meglio di sè quando deve risultare o apocalittica (Lost & Found; Letter From The Clearys) o condire la sua fantascienza con toni umoristici (The Fire Watch o Blued Moon).
Clayton Yuen
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi
A brilliant story line about time travel and human relationships, beautifully written in Connie Willis' style. Often, her repetitive themes are tedious, but she excels in creating a building adventure with an unknown goal.... sort of a mystery in time.

I give this short story 5 stars for its inventive creative story, Ms Willis' story telling, and the satisfying wrap-up of this long adventure.
Oct 13, 2015 rated it liked it
I read a collection of short stories that included Fire Watch. The eponymous story wasn't that interesting yet other stories made a big impact. All My Darling Daughters was emotionally rough and quite different from the other stories. It will certainly stick with me. My favorites were Samaritan, And Come from Miles Around, and The Sidon in the Corner.
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Sci-fi and Heroic...: "Fire Watch" by Connie Willis 22 23 Jul 17, 2018 10:01AM  
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Constance Elaine Trimmer Willis is an American science fiction writer. She is one of the most honored science fiction writers of the 1980s and 1990s.

She has won, among other awards, ten Hugo Awards and six Nebula Awards. Willis most recently won a Hugo Award for All Seated on the Ground (August 2008). She was the 2011 recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award from the Science Ficti

Other books in the series

Oxford Time Travel (4 books)
  • Doomsday Book (Oxford Time Travel, #1)
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog (Oxford Time Travel, #2)
  • Blackout (All Clear, #1)
  • All Clear (All Clear, #2)