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(All Clear #1)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  24,052 ratings  ·  3,287 reviews
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 no ...more
Hardcover, 491 pages
Published February 11th 2010 by Spectra Books (first published January 28th 2010)
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David Tate A recurring theme in Connie Willis's work is the confusing chaos of everyday life -- things go wrong, people get confused, plans go awry, frustration …moreA recurring theme in Connie Willis's work is the confusing chaos of everyday life -- things go wrong, people get confused, plans go awry, frustration is a big part of life. Without getting into spoilers, I would say that in the end there is a better payoff and explanation for all of the frustration than in many of Ms. Willis's works.(less)
Ediesmith Gotta say - disagree with the dissenters. Repetition was deliberate on the part of the author. Of all the fiction and non-fiction I've read about WWII…moreGotta say - disagree with the dissenters. Repetition was deliberate on the part of the author. Of all the fiction and non-fiction I've read about WWII - the research done to make this fantasy believable helped me to better understand what a commoner went through, particularly during the Blitz. I could not put this book ( volume 1 and 2) down. Remarkable.(less)

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Start your review of Blackout (All Clear, #1)
Warning: This review will be lengthy due to pure hatred.

Did I ever tell you that I’ve got a time machine? There was a freak accident where my laptop and my lawn mower got fused together following a lightning strike, and now I can use it to travel in time. It’s a long story. Anyhow, when I have a chance, I take the occasional trip through history. Recently, I popped into London in 1940 during the Blitz to take a look around. It’s a fascinating time with England hanging on by its fingernails durin
Sep 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
UGH i dunno guys. I know it won the Hugo but I'm ok to have a differing opinion, right? I will definitely give credit, the book is IMPECCABLY researched. So much time and detail into WWII England, just...bravo for the research ALONE it deserved an award.

But I mean, bar none, this book does NOT feel like a stand-alone. From my investigations the publisher split the plot in two, and it's so clunky with the ending it shows. The book could TOTALLY have stood an edit pass that took out tomes of unne
Jan 28, 2011 rated it did not like it
Sometimes, if it takes you 10 years to write a book, you just shouldn't. Willis has a writing tick that absolutely annoys me, but in the past, I've been able to mainly ignore it because the storylines have been good. But her annoying writing tick overwhelms any story that was to be had in this book. The tick I'm speaking of is her tendency to talk about every mundane humdrum thing and to catch up every personality-less character that walks in the room concerning these mundane humdrum things. In ...more
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
Nov 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys historical fiction or speculative fiction & time travel books
A warning: This book has no proper ending. It was meant to be the first half of a book but the publisher divided it into two books and Blackout is the first half. All Clear is the second book/second half of the book. Definitely have All Clear on hand to read immediately after this book. I finished this book and started the next the same day and that’s the way to do it. I deliberately read this slowly so there wouldn’t be a gap before I could read the next book.

I was completely enthralled! This b
Oh, I'm such a liar. This wasn't three stars, it was two. While I love some of Connie's other works, this one doesn't work for me. Logically inept, grossly meandering and strongly in need of some editing. While I liked pieces of the storyline, as a whole it lacked enough coherence to be enjoyable. ...more
Althea Ann
Sep 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Blackout/All Clear.

The two books are really one novel (thanks, publishers, for getting me to pay double!) so there's no reason to talk about them separately.

They're also part of Willis' time travel series, although they're not advertised as such. I really wouldn't recommend starting with these books; I feel that a lot of the questions and criticism of these books that I see in other reviews stems from the likelihood that readers haven't read the other books in the series: The Doomsday Book, To S
Feb 03, 2011 added it
Shelves: world-war-ii
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie Swint
Jun 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Connie Willis created a beautiful piece of time travel/historical fiction with 'Blackout.' Depending on how you want to look at this book it is either the first book in the All Clear series or the third installment of the Oxford Time Travel series. 'Blackout' includes characters from 'The Doomsday Book' with Colin Templar and Mr. Dunworthy. They are not the stars of this double-decker novel but they do play very important roles. 'Blackout' revolves around three historians from the future sent to ...more
Tim Hicks
Jul 03, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
I have a very short list of authors whose work I eagerly await. Connie Willis just stepped off that list with this turkey. This book cuts off abruptly with a promo for the second book, but if it had been decently edited the whole mess would have fit in one volume.

Three incompetent characters are dropped into WW2 London by obviously incompetent staffers. Before they even left I was thinking that I wouldn't let these dingbats put me on a bus, much less a time machine.

These folks are supposed t
It feels a little strange to review a novel that is actually only the first half of a longer novel (Connie Willis’s publisher split it in half for publication purposes), since the story at the end of this is very much incomplete, moreso than how it would be in a traditional series. I’ve read a lot of Willis’s work, and I adore her amazing Doomsday Book (her first Oxford Time Travel novel), so I was prepared to be swept away once again by her assured, richly-detailed, easygoing skill, and I was, ...more

Christmas 2010: I realised that I had got stuck in a rut. I was re-reading old favourites again and again, waiting for a few trusted authors to release new works. Something had to be done.

On the spur of the moment I set myself a challenge, to read every book to have won the Locus Sci-Fi award. That’s 35 books, 6 of which I’d previously read, leaving 29 titles by 14 authors who were new to me.

While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and beca
Dec 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
I love Willis' novels, with time-travelling anthropologists getting into all kinds of mischief in their historical setting, complicated by love and feelings of responsibility, I'd have given it 5 stars if she hadn't forced me to wait six months for the second half of the story... ...more
Oct 21, 2012 rated it did not like it
I can't do it anymore. I made it to page 250, but I can't read another page. I just can't do it - I refuse to subject myself to its badness anymore. Why should I? Why should I torture myself?!

This book is bad. That it won the Hugo and Nebula awards straight up blows my mind. KERPOWWWW my brains are mush. It'd be like if Transformers 3 had won the Oscar for Best Picture or if Kermit the Frog was elected president of the United States.

You know all that mundane, boring stuff that never gets shown i
Kaethe Douglas
2016 July 14
I love these books so much. Stories about women in wartime are catnip to me. But this book, in which the daily struggle to keep calm and carry on is so hard for Britons: it gives me all the feels, but also hope for humanity.
2013 January 1
2010 March 14

It was everything I could do not to start this so far ahead of its proper turn in the stack. Just saying.


My, what a big book. But such an enormous pleasure. Much of the time, after turning the last page on a 500 page book, and discove
Megan Baxter
Dec 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
I am, in general, a big fan of Connie Willis. Not every book has struck me exactly right, but I do enjoy them. And this series of time travel books tend to be enjoyable, although they vary wildly, from a door-slamming farce to wrench-your-heart-out, leave-you-in-tears Black Death Romps. So I was excited to start the first of two books that won the Hugo a few years ago.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why
Kara Babcock
Time travel is a sexy science-fiction trope. It's right up there with faster-than-light travel (the two are, in fact, inextricably related, and chances are you if you invent one then you'll have invented both) as something that, as far as our current understanding of the universe works, is impossible. There are some fascinating loopholes involving wormholes and general relativity, but in order to get it working you need metric shit-joules of energy and something called exotic matter, and it woul ...more
RJ - Slayer of Trolls
The latest story in Connie Willis's Oxford Time Travel series spills over into two books, of which this is the first. Those who haven't enjoyed previous installments probably won't find any reason to love this one either, since Willis's meandering prose, goofy humor, and repetitive dialogue all make an appearance. But the setting of London during the WWII Blitz is richly rendered down to minute details, and the storyline - doled out at Willis's usual leisurely pace - stays interesting right up t ...more
Joe Valdez
Nov 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
Colin is upset. It's 2060 and the lad skips class to search the Oxford campus desperately for Mr. Dunsworthy. The porter, Mr. Purdy, tells Colin that the professor is in research. The professor's secretary Eddritch is much more closed lipped, but when Colin tries the lab, the director Badri and the tech Linna are far too busy sending researchers through time.

At least, they're supposed to be doing this. Schedules are being reshuffled at the last minute, you see. Michael has trained to be sent ba
I've read a lot of negative reviews about this book and while I can understand the problems some readers have with this of Willis' works, they didn't affect me.

Yes, it is a long, drawn out story; yes, it is completely chaotic, bordering on the ridiculuous at times; yes, the characters are often more "types" than real-life-persons - but I found myself fascinated by the very well researched description of the British civilian life during WWII, by the quiet bravery of the people, the little deeds o
I’ll do a bigger, better review when I finish the sequel, All Clear.
Some overall thoughts-
Did Ms. Willis “do time travel right?”: Well, mostly. Physis currently says time travel is (mostly) impossible, so we’lll have to grant a waiver on hat part. Her engineering makes sense -- computers and calculations and a earth-fixed launch point that will be brought into alignment with the destination, then the historian steps behind the “net” and the machine is turned on. From a social perspective, “oh, h
Jul 23, 2010 rated it did not like it
The hype of Connie Willis Blackout fell short. The story sets place in Oxford 2060 and World War II England. This was my first Willis novel and perhaps some of my complaints are due to my lack of knowledge in her description of time travel. I am not clear as to why Dumbledore Mr Dunworthy is frantically sending his 20something historians out to observe WWII England in such a chaotic and disorganized fashion. Their assignments durations and details tend to change abruptly and for no clear cut rea ...more
If there hadn't been so much tedious iffing, buting, and complaining by the historians, I would have, unreservedly, given this five stars. I hope the sequel has less whinging in it. ...more
May 25, 2015 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Chrissie by: Lisa (not getting friends updates) Vegan
After 1 hour and forty minutes of the audiobook:

I am a person stuck firmly in reality. I knew when I started this that it was a time-travel book. I figured I could ignore this aspect, but this is proving much harder than I expected. I am having huge problems. All this about slipping into drop sites, about language implants, divergent points and slippage. It is hard to ignore SO much detail. I feel like I have been dropped into a movie, with people dashing around right and left. The setting is s
Apr 22, 2014 rated it liked it
These books stress me out so badly. Everyone is forever running around interrupting each other & talking over one another & no one knows what the hell is going on & no one knows where Mr. Dunworthy is - ever - goddammit, & then they head back in time anyway & of course everything is all f'ed up. B swears that All Clear is really good & I adore reading about the Blitz, but I swear, if there's anymore standing around in a department stores chatting about what we've all been Up To while bombs are f ...more
Jun 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
These characters are so stupid.

So let's get this straight. These are supposed to be time-traveling historians. From Oxford, no less. And at least one out of the three main characters is supposed to be a "seasoned" time traveler. And yet, as I was reading this, I was baffled time and again by their utter lack of knowledge on the time period to which they were traveling. Wouldn't you do some research first? And by some, I mean months and months. And months. And you're supposed to be a HISTORIA
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Three time-traveling historians from 2060 Oxford visit 1940 England to observe various aspects of life during WWII, and then they get stuck there. This is a masterpiece of epic proportions. For all of the 1400-plus pages of this duology, Connie Willis manages to keep the suspense going, about matters both relatively small (can they cope with life in the past long-term? will they survive the Blitz? will they be able to return to their own time) and large (did they accidently change the course of ...more
I’ve started All Clear already. Can’t believe they actually split this book into 2 parts and didn’t publish them basically at the same time! There is really zero wrapping up of anything and even a new mystery character introduced in the last 10 minutes!!

At any rate, I really enjoyed this half of the story, especially the detail of the backdrop of WWII in London/Dunkirk and the Blitz. The characters are wonderful and the narrator did a “first rate” job of it.

On to the next half!
Jamie Collins
October update: Bump from 4 to 5 stars, when read along with the next book, All Clear.

Typically good writing from Connie Willis, and a riveting story - or half of a riveting story, at least. This is the first half of a long novel, and seems chopped off rather than deliberately crafted to be the first volume of a duology. I look forward to the next book, and I almost wish I had waited to read this one until it was available.

The rushed and disorganized Oxford historians of the future with their t
Blackout is the third book in Connie Willis’ Oxford Time Travel series. It tells a separate story from the first two, but unlike the previous books it ends in a cliffhanger because it’s only the first half of a story that’s completed in the final book, All Clear.

We follow several time-traveling historians who are scheduled to study different areas of England during World War II, particularly around 1940. In the beginning there is a lot of schedule rearranging that causes chaos in the historians’
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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

All Clear (2 books)
  • All Clear (All Clear, #2)

Articles featuring this book

Browse through the most popular book club titles on Goodreads, and you'll notice the same genres over and over again: historical fiction,...
53 likes · 46 comments
“I’m not studying the heroes who lead navies—and armies—and win wars. I’m studying ordinary people who you wouldn’t expect to be heroic, but who, when there’s a crisis, show extraordinary bravery and self-sacrifice. Like Jenna Geidel, who gave her life vaccinating people during the Pandemic. And the fishermen and retired boat owners and weekend sailors who rescued the British Army from Dunkirk. And Wells Crowther, the twenty-four-year-old equities trader who worked in the World Trade Center. When it was hit by terrorists, he could have gotten out, but instead he went back and saved ten people, and died. I’m going to observe six different sets of heroes in six different situations to try to determine what qualities they have in common.” 21 likes
“History was full of divergence points nobody could get anywhere near—from Archduke Ferdinand’s assassination to the battle of Trafalgar. Events so critical and so volatile that the introduction of a single variable—such as a time traveler—could change the outcome. And alter the entire course of history.” 1 likes
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