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Blackout by Connie Willis: 06/18/12

cover art

Blackout by Connie Willis is another of her Oxford time travel books. It has a sequel, All Clear. While not as silly as To Say Nothing of the Dog, Blackout is more lighthearted than Doomsday Book.

Three Oxford researchers in 2060 are preparing for their trips back to WWII. Time travel works like the old days of scheduling time on the supercomputer. Time is precious and limited in the Net and budget cuts are making access to it even more tenuous.

The rescheduling of launch times and the need to scramble to prepare sets the tone for this book. Going unprepared to the past, combined with the dreaded time slip, gives each of the three researchers an impossible task — conduct the research and make it to their pick up location at the agreed up on date.

Blackout is the longest and most complex of the Oxford time travel stories. There are some slow bits and some incorrect details — I still found it a compelling read. I think it helps to have an understanding of how academic research works — and how it is often affected (for better or worse) by budgetary concerns.

Five stars

Comments (4)

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Comment #1: Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 20:53:56


I've heard lots of good things about this book and All Clear. Glad to know that the slow parts and the inaccuracies can be overlooked.

Comment #2: Sunday, June 24, 2012 at 12:43:05


I really liked the book and found it a quick read. Yes, it's not a perfect rendition of life during the blitz but that's also part of the point. The researchers are working on inaccurate data. I have All Clear and need to make time to read it.

Comment #3: Monday, June 25, 2012 at 11:16:45


I read and reviewed this book too, and I loved it. I plan to re-read it then read All Clear. I am also looking forward to The Doomsday Book.

Comment #4: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 19:49:11


I have All Clear on my TBR. I have a trip to Southern California coming up. I think I'll take it along.

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