All Clear



❴KINDLE❵ ✽ All Clear Author Connie Willis – E17streets4all.co.uk In Blackout, award winning author Connie Willis returned to the time traveling future of the setting for several of her most celebrated works and sent three Oxford historians to World War II England In Blackout, award winning author Connie Willis returned to the time traveling future ofthe setting for several of her most celebrated works and sent three Oxford historians to World War II England Michael Davies, intent on observing heroism during the Miracle of Dunkirk Merope Ward, studying children evacuated from London and Polly Churchill, posing as a shopgirl in the middle of the Blitz But when the three become unexpectedly trapped in , they struggle not only to find their way home but to survive as Hitler s bombers attempt to pummel London into submission Now the situation has grown even dire Small discrepancies in the historical record seem to indicate that one or all of them have somehow affected the past, changing the outcome of the war The belief that the past can be observed but never altered has always been a core belief of time travel theory but suddenly it seems that the theory is horribly, tragically wrong Meanwhile, inOxford, the historians supervisor, Mr Dunworthy, and seventeen year old Colin Templer, who nurses a powerful crush on Polly, are engaged in a frantic and seemingly impossible struggle of their own to find three missing needles in the haystack of history Told with compassion, humor, and an artistry both uplifting and devastating, All Clear is than just the triumphant culmination of the adventure that began with Blackout It s Connie Willis s most humane, heartfelt novel yet a clear eyed celebration of faith, love, and the quiet, ordinary acts of heroism and sacrifice too often overlooked by history.All Clear

Constance Elaine Trimmer Willis is an American science fiction writer She is one of the most honored science fiction writers of the s and sShe 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 She was the recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America SFWAShe lives in Greeley, Colorado with her husband Courtney Willis, a professor of physics at the University of Northern Colorado She also has one daughter, CordeliaWillis is known for her accessible prose and likable characters She has written several pieces involving time travel by history students and faculty of the future University of Oxford These pieces include her Hugo Award winning novels Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog and the short story Fire Watch, found in the short story collection of the same nameWillis tends to the comedy of manners style of writing Her protagonists are typically beset by single minded people pursuing illogical agendas, such as attempting to organize a bell ringing session in the middle of a deadly epidemic Doomsday Book , or frustrating efforts to analyze near death experiences by putting words in the mouths of interviewees Passage.

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    If you re looking for a CBR and CBZ reader survive as Hitler s bombers attempt to pummel London into submission Now the situation has grown even dire Small discrepancies in the historical record seem to indicate that one or all of them have somehow affected the past, changing the outcome of the war The belief that the past can be observed but never altered has always been a core belief of time travel theory but suddenly it seems that the theory is horribly, tragically wrong Meanwhile, inOxford, the historians supervisor, Mr Dunworthy, and seventeen year old Colin Templer, who nurses a powerful crush on Polly, are engaged in a frantic and seemingly impossible struggle of their own to find three missing needles in the haystack of history Told with compassion, humor, and an artistry both uplifting and devastating, All Clear is than just the triumphant culmination of the adventure that began with Blackout It s Connie Willis s most humane, heartfelt novel yet a clear eyed celebration of faith, love, and the quiet, ordinary acts of heroism and sacrifice too often overlooked by history."/>
  • Hardcover
  • 656 pages
  • All Clear
  • Connie Willis
  • English
  • 22 August 2019
  • 0553807676

10 thoughts on “All Clear

  1. says:

    Let me begin by saying that The Doomsday Book is one of my all time favorite novels definitely top ten, quite possibly top five , and I m also tremendously fond of Connie Willis s Lincoln s Dreams, as well When I knew she had a new book well, duology, though the two books are really one chopped in half set in the same time travel universe as The Doomsday Book, I was beside myself with anticipation I blame her publishers for the decision to splice the book and then wait months between Let me begin by saying that The Doomsday Book is one of my all time favorite novels definitely top ten, quite possibly top five , and I m also tremendously fond of Connie Willis s Lincoln s Dreams, as well When I knew she had a new book well, duology, though the two books are really one chopped in half set in the same time travel universe as The Doomsday Book, I was beside myself with anticipation I blame her publishers for the decision to splice the book and then wait months between the first and second volume Now I m simply incredibly frustrated I think there was a good novel somewhere in there, but it was lost beneath everything else First and foremost, Willis needed a better editor the sheer amount of constant repetition, useless detail, and point of view hopping between one line and the next is inexcusable I got the feeling Willis had invested so much effort researching every angle of the period the Blitz in World War II England that she became determined to fit it all in, whether the story needed it or not Second, the way she handled the issue of time travel was troubling Anyone trained to be a historian goes through multiple courses on the theory of history, philosophy of history, etc I m a historian, and I m speaking from personal experience For those in the future training to be time traveling historians, I can only imagine how thoroughly they would study the theories behind time travel, as well Yet several of these students seem utterly clueless about the very premises of what they re doing Allow me to paraphrase Historian X went to the Blitz Z years ago when he was in our department So that was in the past, even though we re in the Blitz now No, wait He d be here now, too, even though we left at different times Golly gee, I never thought of that Time travel s funny Or, for another example Maybe the retrieval team hasn t found out yet where we went As soon as they do, they ll come and get us Wait, you mean that, if they d found our location, they would already have gone back before Q happened to get us Time travel s so crazy Who d ve thought it Augh Also, for a two volume book, I would have expectedcharacter development The two female protagonists were so flat they were easy to confuse until the very last section The best characters Mr Dunworthy, Sir Godfrey begged forattention The fascinating ideas the story raised about the net, the drops, and the meaning failure of time travel only received a random few infodumps, and I would ve loved to know , especially since this was the supposed crux of the two volumes I realize that I came into this with very high expectations, but I think Willis could have delivered a very good novel if she hadn t been impatient with the science fiction and self indulgent with all of her research The World War II material was fascinating, but less in service to an overall story than by itself, in isolated chunks If you re looking for an excellent work that blends science fiction and historical fiction, read The Doomsday Book Then, when you re done, bypass this and read The Doomsday Book again

  2. says:

    Time traveling historians fight their way home This book was ridiculous I feel bad writing that, because 1 so many people liked it so much, and I m sad to think I didn t understand how to appreciate it, and 2 it s a celebrated author s book about a WAR But the only way I remotely got through it was by treating it as a comic novel and mentally tallying up all the ridiculousness, including but not limited to 1 every time a character s mission was completely stymied by one single, non malici Time traveling historians fight their way home This book was ridiculous I feel bad writing that, because 1 so many people liked it so much, and I m sad to think I didn t understand how to appreciate it, and 2 it s a celebrated author s book about a WAR But the only way I remotely got through it was by treating it as a comic novel and mentally tallying up all the ridiculousness, including but not limited to 1 every time a character s mission was completely stymied by one single, non malicious individual, and 1a every time that individual was a child, 2 every time a character whose career and passion involved time travel displayed total ignorance about rudimentary elements of time travel, 3 every time a character repeated verbatim trivial information, internally and externally,than a dozen times in a chapter, and 4 every time anything interesting as a point of tension was written off as a ok, because if it wasn t a ok, well then, it never would have happened By and large, whenever it wasn t boring, it was annoying

  3. says:

    It s here It s here The only reason why this is not a 5 is because the middle section of Blackout and All Clear and I count them as one book, because really they are annoyed me a bit with the obsession over whether they changed the outcome of the war and where the retrieval team, over and over I understand why Willis did this complete anxiety but it was too much Probably because I have gone through times in my life when I too get completely stuck in the broken record of a mind loop, and t It s here It s here The only reason why this is not a 5 is because the middle section of Blackout and All Clear and I count them as one book, because really they are annoyed me a bit with the obsession over whether they changed the outcome of the war and where the retrieval team, over and over I understand why Willis did this complete anxiety but it was too much Probably because I have gone through times in my life when I too get completely stuck in the broken record of a mind loop, and they were not good times at all.Other than that, I am completely moved by this book, loved it And feel like I lived through WWII blitz and bombing in England too Once again, Connie Willis manages to write both a brilliant historical fiction and science fiction book wrapped in one She s so expansive she can t be categorized into one genre

  4. says:

    I hate this book so much I hate it so much that it hurts I hate that I spent an audible credit on it I hate that it s about subjects I LOVE WWII Bletchley Park And it still sucks It s not badly written it s just a terrible story, and the lead characters are whiny, dumb, ignorant, and keep switching voices that last isn t the author s fault I HATE that I knowWWII trivia than these historians do That part is the worst That and the idea that three professional time travellers, I hate this book so much I hate it so much that it hurts I hate that I spent an audible credit on it I hate that it s about subjects I LOVE WWII Bletchley Park And it still sucks It s not badly written it s just a terrible story, and the lead characters are whiny, dumb, ignorant, and keep switching voices that last isn t the author s fault I HATE that I knowWWII trivia than these historians do That part is the worst That and the idea that three professional time travellers, stuck in some kind of boring time travelling paradox shit thing, would NOT PUT THEIR HEADS TOGETHER but spend what seems like fifty years KEEPING THINGS FROM ONE ANOTHER Oh my brain, my poor poor brain To spare one another worrying They suspect that the very fabric of time and space has been damaged or something but they are worried about WORRYING ONE ANOTHER.And what the HELL is that CRAP with the whole Importance of Being Ernest thing WHAT IS THAT Oh your God The only excuse for that is if they re code names or something to confuse Jerrah but No I think these idiots are really called Ernest and Prism and Lady Bracknell I CANNOT TAKE ANY MORE.And really, mentioning Shakespeare all the time doesn t make all the missed connections and mistaken identities allusive It s just crap Same goes for Agatha Christie.Also, I guessed the BIG SURPRISE It hasn t been revealed yet but I already guessed it Unless I m wrong So I guess I ll keep listening til the bitter end And rant someat that time 19 3Well I think I m within a few minutes of the end of this instalment Aren t there meant to be 3 Gah In the last say 2 hours I m listening to audio or I never would have got this far the plot has finally tightened up to the point where there is not an hour of unnecessarily literal descriptions of confused frustrated people running around in circles, and keeping things from one another The actual STORY of Blackout and All Clear is ok but you could cut great chunks out in between actual happenings, and not lose a thing except me driving down the freeway yelling SHUT UP a lot.Oh, but I apologise about my rude Importance of Being Ernest outburst It WAS code Whatever, it still sucked.I was also wrong about the surprise, but mine was better I ll update again when I finally have really finished

  5. says:

    I found this book to be both amazing and frustrating I don t recall ever having such mixed feelings about a book When it s rolling it s a rare and rewarding page turner and when it bogs down it feels like a week of reading before the story moves on There are way too many pages where we go inside a character s head and we listen to that character wonder She ll wonder if she did something wrong and lost the war for England, she ll wonder where another character is and what they are doing and i I found this book to be both amazing and frustrating I don t recall ever having such mixed feelings about a book When it s rolling it s a rare and rewarding page turner and when it bogs down it feels like a week of reading before the story moves on There are way too many pages where we go inside a character s head and we listen to that character wonder She ll wonder if she did something wrong and lost the war for England, she ll wonder where another character is and what they are doing and if he or she is doing something to lose the war She may wonder if she ll get out of London before she arrives, she ll wonder about this, about that, about whether or not she ll get to work on time, if something she did at work has changed history She ll wonder someabout her friends in the future, if they are looking for her or why she is even stuck in the blitz Then she ll wonder someThere are points in this novel where there is way too much telling and not showing It could be shorter.That being said, it s still a beautiful book with amazing characters that are full of life and we are truly with them as they scrape through life during mostly the London Blitz It s an ode to the bravery of the average person and the England she gives you is a fully realized world It s worth it alone for the two Hodbin children that run havoc throughout both novels

  6. says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here All Clear and Blackout are an excellent way to learnabout World War II The Blitz in England It is, however, an extremely frustrating book on many other levels.Of particular concern to me was the tendency for the historians to explain details that the other historians should hand in their degrees for not knowing It was one thing in Book 1 to have to explain that Agatha Christie was a novelist It s another thing altogether to revolve a major plot point on the fact that one of the histor All Clear and Blackout are an excellent way to learnabout World War II The Blitz in England It is, however, an extremely frustrating book on many other levels.Of particular concern to me was the tendency for the historians to explain details that the other historians should hand in their degrees for not knowing It was one thing in Book 1 to have to explain that Agatha Christie was a novelist It s another thing altogether to revolve a major plot point on the fact that one of the historians is not able to remember the name of the airfield another historian has been assigned to, and for chapters to be taken up in the quest for the airfield.The name of the place Bletchley Park.The historians then explain to that historian that Bletchley Park is not, in fact, an airfield, but instead, the location of the most important and critical achievement in the entire war To a historian.That incident killed the book for me, but the repetitive nature of the plot made a lot of this a slogging read The characters are always stuck in a loop of trying to get somewhere and having a series of minor obstacles get in the way, and while this is in itself a plot point, it s not a fun one to read All the people they meet seem like vivid and living characters, but the historians are forever brushing them off or trying to avoid them or dealing with them as another obstacle getting in the way of whatever minor task they re involved in.I did enjoy many aspects, and enjoyed the last quarter of the volume but it took way too long to get there

  7. says:

    This is a wonderful and amazing book It really is the second half of a book On the same day, I went from finishing Blackout and started reading this book, and it was like going from one chapter to another, not like going from one book to another.Thank you to Goodreads friend and fellow group member Sarah Pi who didn t let me see answers to my questions and therefore helped me avoid unwanted spoilers.I am very proud that less than 1 3 the way through this book, I figured something out, probably This is a wonderful and amazing book It really is the second half of a book On the same day, I went from finishing Blackout and started reading this book, and it was like going from one chapter to another, not like going from one book to another.Thank you to Goodreads friend and fellow group member Sarah Pi who didn t let me see answers to my questions and therefore helped me avoid unwanted spoilers.I am very proud that less than 1 3 the way through this book, I figured something out, probably because of all of the mysteries I ve read, and I m often able to prematurely guess their outcomes too Even though I figured out that important plot point, the book managed to stay suspenseful for me all the way until the last page The farther I got into the book, the harder it became to take any breaks from reading it I was enthralled.I love Blackout and this book so much didn t even mind that they re books 4 and 5 in the Oxford time travel series normally, I d want to read the books in exact order, but once I started these books I couldn t put them aside to read the earlier books first.This is a brilliant historical fiction and time travel speculative fiction book, with a very complex time travel story It s ingenious and a great deal of fun It s funny, tragic, romantic, heartwarming, and completely engrossing I cared a great deal about many characters I got in lots of chuckles and smiles, and tears also.I adored how Agatha Christie makes appearances I ve loved her mystery books for decades Very cool Also appropriate were all the mentions of Ernest Shackleton and his expedition to the South Pole.This is a beautifully crafted book I enjoyed how the dialogue between characters was in quotes and characters internal dialogue thoughts were in italics The quotes that are at the beginning of each chapter are fabulous both their literary and historical origins and how they relate to what is going on in the book s story are perfect.I knew a fair amount about the Blitz, have read about it and listened to people who were there talk about it, I think that I learnedfrom this book books than any other source to date I think I fully appreciated for the first time what people in that time and place experienced I can recommend this book to any reader who likes reading historical fiction and or time travel books and or any type of speculative fiction It s imperative to read Blackout and then this book, preferably one right after the other as I was fortunate to do.The very best thing about this book, and why I think it has appeal for all readers whatever their favorite genres are, is how it shows the importance in life of loving and caring about and caring for others I was practically bawling by the end, but this theme runs throughout the entire story

  8. says:

    This was unnecessarily long It should have been combined with the first part, Blackout and edited into one book The characterizations are very good, but what is done with those characters is often pointless All they do is worry and speculate running around not asking vital questions and refusing to tell one another the truth So much crazy squirrel behavior from what are supposed to be highly trained Oxford graduates, it s ridiculous.Because Willis can write and I enjoyed Sir Godfrey and the This was unnecessarily long It should have been combined with the first part, Blackout and edited into one book The characterizations are very good, but what is done with those characters is often pointless All they do is worry and speculate running around not asking vital questions and refusing to tell one another the truth So much crazy squirrel behavior from what are supposed to be highly trained Oxford graduates, it s ridiculous.Because Willis can write and I enjoyed Sir Godfrey and the Hodbins, I m giving it three stars

  9. says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here Last time, on Ben s reviews there s a very palpable, somewhat ironic fear here, because in a way these three arefrightened of the Blitz than the stalwart contemporaries or contemps as the historians call them So for a moment, there s a justifiable and interesting suspense Unfortunately, Willis attempts to sustain that suspense entirely too long all the characters in this book are ninnies They complain about the retrieval team not showing up and they lie to each other and keep Last time, on Ben s reviews there s a very palpable, somewhat ironic fear here, because in a way these three arefrightened of the Blitz than the stalwart contemporaries or contemps as the historians call them So for a moment, there s a justifiable and interesting suspense Unfortunately, Willis attempts to sustain that suspense entirely too long all the characters in this book are ninnies They complain about the retrieval team not showing up and they lie to each other and keep secrets to avoid worrying each other unnecessarily.Slippage is a safety mechanism, then, of the universe, and time travellers shouldn t be able to alter the past Willis leaves us wondering if this interpretation is true, or if there is something else happening, and I admit I want to know the answer time travel creates a headache for those of us mired in the swamps of linear time, and inevitably, time travel stories demonstrate why it s a good thing we don t have to comprehend paradoxes in real life.And now, the conclusion to Ben s reviews of Blackout All Clear Time travel to the past inevitably raises the spectre of altering the past, and specifically whether one can change the outcome of events that have already happened This generally depends on the rules the author sets up Connie Willis doesn t actually explain the rules to us, only hints at them, and determining what type of universe our Oxford historians inhabit becomes central to the plot of All Clear When Mr Dunworthy joins Polly and Eileen in the past, he has bad news he fears he has doomed them all, because he altered events on his first trip to the Blitz, when he was only seventeen years old, and now the continuum is trying to repair itself By killing all the time travellers, and everyone with whom they have had contact Fortunately for all of our historians, it turns out Mr Dunworthy is mistaken they live in a type 1.1 universe instead of type 1.2, and the Novikov self consistency principle is in effect Everything that happens has already happened, and they are in a nice and comfortable causality loop.Now that I have completely spoiled the ending of All Clear you did take that spoiler warning seriously, didn t you , it is time to process my feelings Having finished the book, I have to admit that all the fans of this story are correct having already read Blackout, reading All Clear is worthwhile It s a significant investment, but at least I have some closure now Unfortunately, I didn t feel that way while reading All Clear, particularly during the first half I remember checking my progress and lamenting, I still have 300pages There was some heavy skimming happening at some points too Blackout All Clear are definitely a package deal, but it s a package with a long, dull slog in the middle.Picking up literally where Blackout concludes, All Clear continues its tradition of long and repetitive discussions of how the historians might have altered events This builds to an egregious climax on December 29, 1940, when Polly, Eileen, and Mike attempt to find John Bartholomew, a historian from their past who has joined the St Paul s Cathedral Fire Watch for this one night They want him to take a message back to Oxford for them, but the continuum gets in their way and leads them on a merry chase across London, constantly interfering when they are so close to finding Bartholomew It gradually becomes clear that these near misses and coincidences are a result of the continuum s self consistency and not just exuberance on the part of Willis, and I suppose that is fair enough Yet there is a vast gulf between justifiable and enjoyable, and All Clear fails to bridge it.When considered as a whole, Blackout All Clear is a very clever and well planned time travel story It s possible to tell a time travel story in a linear fashion, but I kind of feel like this misses the point Willis, on the other hand, clearly enjoys and exults in the intricacy time travel affords the structure of her narrative Characters whose identities were initially unclear and, indeed, seemingly irrelevant to our main story turned out to be familiar faces In hindsight, Willis left plenty of clues scattered for the clever reader to deduce on his or her own, but I am not that smart We actually read The Importance of Being Earnest in one of my first year English classes, and I have it sitting on my shelf, but I honestly didn t remember it enough to recognize the importance of names like Earnest and Lady Bracknell Shame on me Despite my misgivings about her characterization and the conclusion itself, I can t fault Willis for her planning and preparation, and that is one of the two things that saved me from utterly condemning this book The other reason is that the science fictional devices are, as always, secondary to the story and its themes.Blackout All Clear is about time travel, but it s also, according to Connie Willis, about Dunkirk and ration books and D Day and V 1 rockets, about tube shelters and Bletchley Park and gas masks and stirrup pumps and Christmas pantomimes and cows and crossword puzzles and the deception campaign And mostly the book s about all the people who did their bit to save the world from Hitler Shakespearean actors and ambulance drivers and vicars and landladies and nurses and WRENs and RAF pilots and Winston Churchill and General Patton and Agatha Christie heroes all.Heroism and the question of what makes someone heroic are central to Blackout All Clear Mike originally plans to visit Dover as but one of several trips into the past, each of which will allow him to observe ordinary people who get swept up in events and become heroes as a result Even though his trip to Dover is hasty and he is ill prepared and everything that can go wrong seems to go wrong, he still thinks he has found such a person in Commander Harold Yet Mike s ideas about heroism evolve quite a bit as he himself is forced to go undercover, change his identity, and participate directly in the British disinformation campaigns This complements the heroism demonstrated by civilians during the Blitz, when regular people became ambulance drivers and firefighters and planespotters and rescue workers, when even keeping one s cool became an act of heroism In this way, Blackout All Clear is Willis tribute to everyone who lived through the Blitz, through D Day, through the war itself they are all heroes, because as her use of time travel makes explicit, every little action affects history.I wish this alone were enough to make me love this book It s enough to make me regret that I did not enjoy it , but even an appreciation for what Willis is saying cannot improve the black and bored mood that descended upon me as I was reading Although I hate echoing others, I have to agree with several other reviewers love it or hate it, there seems to be a general consensus that Blackout All Clear didn t have to be this long As it stands, the book suffers from a serious risk of losing its plot through diffusion There are too many scenes that serve well to depict greater historical detail and further Willis themes but seem completely redundant to the story itself, and noticing this was sufficient to pull me out of the story and make my inner grumpy critic put on his snooty monocle and sneer mostly at the characters.I keep coming back to this, but if I were the head of the Oxford Time Travelling Society or whatever it s called , I wouldn t let Polly, Mike, and Eileen near the net And I probably wouldn t let Mr Dunworthy stay in charge, even if he means well I m not sure if Willis is just worried that her readers won t get it, but the historians spend a lot of time speculating why their drops won t open, why the retrieval team hasn t arrived, etc When Colin Mr One Man Retrieval Team himself finally arrives to take them home, I thought the story would, you know, conclude there He s back, and now they can go home But no, I was wrong, and we get another thirty pages in which Colin and Eileen explain to Polly again why things are happening the way they are because they ve already happened I had already clued into Willis predestination plans before the big reveal, but even for those taken unawares, such a lengthy and repetitive explanation seemspatronizing than helpful I very much dislike it when authors succumb to the temptation to stop and point at their own clever resolutions, and while I don t think this was Willis intention by any means, I think that s what the conclusion to All Clear becomes.Causality loops aren t my favourite type of time travel universe I much prefer the idea that history can be altered and that the continuum would inexorably collapse if time travel were possible, so we should be thankful it s not One of the beautiful things about fiction is its diversity, of course, and so I don t have to like Willis rules in order to appreciate them My opinion of Blackout All Clear as a time travel novel has improved, slightly, because of the obvious care that has gone into working out the tangled chronology of its narrative And my opinion of this as a work of historical fiction, as a tribute to those who lived through the war and the myriad unsung heroes of the everyday, has only increased as well Willis works carefully to avoid any actual paradoxes in her novel, but she has managed to create one with me Blackout All Clear is obviously deserving praise and acclaim, yet it was also one of my worst experiences reading this year Somewhere within these two massive volumes is a single, worthwhile story, struggling to escape and it is the glimpse at that story that I find so alluring and so easy to appreciate, even as the surrounding chaff chokes and cloys

  10. says:

    The second half of Blackoutthan a sequel Weird experience I have massive problems with this book, but I also could not put it down Hrm.I think that this book succeeds at its smaller scale purpose It s clear from what she s said that Willis did massive amounts of research about the Blitz, and that she really wanted to make it come alive Which she did She takes this sense of fear and purpose, this keep calm and carry on, this practicality and humor and misery, and she nails that basta The second half of Blackoutthan a sequel Weird experience I have massive problems with this book, but I also could not put it down Hrm.I think that this book succeeds at its smaller scale purpose It s clear from what she s said that Willis did massive amounts of research about the Blitz, and that she really wanted to make it come alive Which she did She takes this sense of fear and purpose, this keep calm and carry on, this practicality and humor and misery, and she nails that bastard to the wall for hundreds of pages A lot of bombs fell, a lot of people died, a lot of people survived and drank tea and put on plays and did their Christmas shopping That part works.But the bigger agendashakes head Putting aside the pacing problems, and the structure choices that feellike authorial withholding than the slow progression of the story, and that nothing surprising happens in a Willis book if you ve ever seen Doctor Who, ignoring the fact that Willis has managed to write about a bunch of people with no families, context, or personal history again These books have no momentum They re just about a bunch of people stuck in bad situations frantically trying and failing to do things to help themselves, until the time continuum readjusts itself in a series of quotidian accidents and coincidences And I m supposed to feel good about that I m supposed to believe the pat message at the end about the value of our sacrifices when I ve just swallowed over a thousand pages of story about people who never managed to effect change any way but by accident I think Willis thinks she s writing about people doing their best in crisis, and how the sweep of history is just an accumulation of tiny choices But from where I m sitting, it s just a bunch of people helplessly flailing around inside a weirdly anthropomorphic mechanism she calls the continuum, with all their grace and their bravery and their personal responsibility nullified by the fact that it s history, it s already happened, and if it doesn t, hey, the continuum will make sure it does anyway.Huh More put off even than I thought

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