By (author) Connie Willis

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  • Publisher: Gollancz
  • Format: Paperback | 608 pages
  • Dimensions: 134mm x 198mm x 38mm | 460g
  • Publication date: 8 March 2012
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0575099283
  • ISBN 13: 9780575099289
  • Sales rank: 52,579

Product description

BLACKOUT is the opening movement of a vast, absorbing two-volume novel that may well prove to be Connie Willis' masterpiece. Like her multi-award winning THE DOOMSDAY BOOK, this stunning new work marries the intricate mechanics of time travel to the gritty - and dangerous - realities of human history. The narrative opens in Oxford, England in 2060, where a trio of time traveling scholars prepares to depart for various corners of the Second World War. Their mission: to observe, from a safe vantage point, the day-to-day nature of life during this critical historical moment. As the action ranges from the evacuation of Dunkirk to the manor houses of rural England to the quotidian horrors of London during the Blitz, the objective nature of their roles gradually changes. Cut off from the safety net of the future and caught up in the chaotic events that make up history, they are forced to participate, in unexpected ways, in the defining events of the era. BLACKOUT is an ingeniously constructed time travel novel and a grand entertainment. More than that, it is a moving, exquisitely detailed portrait of a world under siege, a world dominated by chaos, uncertainty, and the threat of imminent extinction. It is the rare sort of book that transcends the limits of genre, offering pleasure, insight, and illumination on virtually every page.

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Author information

Constance Elaine Trimmer Willis has won, among other awards, ten HUGO Awards and six NEBULA Awards for her writing. She lives in Greeley, Colorado with her husband Courtney Willis, a professor of physics at the University of Northern Colorado.

Review quote

"A tour de force . . . [Willis] is one of America's finest writers."--"The Denver Post""This compassionate and deeply imagined novel . . . gives the reader a strong you-were-there feeling." --"The Times-Picayune" "[Willis has] researched Blackout so thoroughly, her readers may imagine she had access to the time machine her characters use." "--The Seattle Times" "A page-turning thriller . . . Willis uses detail and period language exquisitely well, creating an engaging, exciting tale.""--Publishers Weekly"

Back cover copy

Oxford in 2060, and Mr Dunworthy's time travel lab is a chaotic place, sending scores of historians all over the place: to the Crusades, to Rome, and to World War II . . . Michael Davies is prepping for Dunkirk, to observe heroes in action. Merope Ward is coping with a bunch of bratty 1940 evacuees, and trying to talk her thesis advisor into letting her go to observe VE Day. And Polly Churchill is evaluating the lives of shopgirls in the middle of the Blitz. Then Mr Dunworthy disappears on some secret mission, and the time travel lab starts cancelling assignments and switching everyone's schedules around, much to the disgust of the historians. But when Michael, Merope and Polly reach their destinations, they discover no amount of study could have prepared them for the reality of daily life in World War II. It's not just the incessant air raids, the blackouts and frightful rations; the once-reliable mechanics of time travel are showing significant glitches, and it¹s not long before the historians begin to question their most firmly held belief: that no historian can ever change the past. Everything is spiralling out of control. 'Every detail rings true . . . Blackout is, by turns, witty, suspenseful, harrowing' Washington Post 978 0 575 09928 9 £8.99