Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Books I Want: Blackout/All Clear

Several years ago, I read Connie Willis' The Doomsday Book. It was magically delicious. The Doomsday Book reads much more like a historical novel (with a dash of time travel) than anything else. It's the most realistic time travel book I've ever read - authors will often ignore the difficulties and unrealistic aspects of time travel because they just need to use it in their book, and readers happily suspend disbelief for 300 pages to enjoy the good stuff.
Willis actually went to the trouble of explaining time travel - to some degree - in that book. Many precautions are taken to make sure no one sees travelers arrive and no one's life is radically altered by the his/her stay (because changing the past is detrimental to our present well-being, duh).

[insert in your mind the picture of The Doomsday Book that blogger wouldn't let me upload]

Many, many years after that delightful book won Willis the Hugo and the Nebula (scifi's two biggest awards), she's got a sequel out: Blackout/All Clear, which was split into two books. I'm guessing it's because Blackout is 491 pages on its own. I bought this one over a year ago, when it was still in hardcover. It's very heavy.

I've heard some great and some not-so-great stuff about this one. Whereas her first book featured Kivrin's trip to midieval England, this book goes to World War II England. So far all I know is what the dust jacket says: a 17-year-old boy is in love with an older student, and he wants to go back in time to "catch up" with her in age, so she'll take him seriously.


Blackout/All Clear has been nominated for a Nebula, and considering that, may be nominated for a Hugo, too. How cool would it be to have a book and its sequel both be worthy of scifi's two greatest awards? Sequels are so rarely worthy. But I'm hoping this one is.

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