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All Clear characters ¶ 100 À [Ebook] ➥ All Clear Author Connie Willis – Dogsalonbristol.co.uk In Blackout award winning author Connie Willis returned to the time traveling future of 2060 — the setting for several of her most celebrated works — and sent three Oxford historians to World War In Blackout award winning author Connie Willis rIn 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 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. Let me begin by saying that The Doomsday Book is one of my all time favorite novels definitely top ten uite 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 volumeNow 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 happened to get us Time travel's so crazy Who'd've thought it AughAlso for a two volume book I would have expected character 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 for attention 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

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’s bombers attempt to pummel London into submissionNow 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 wrongMeanwhile in Oxford the historians’ supervisor Mr Dunworthy and seventeen year old Colin Temple. 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 know WWII 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 ANOTHERAnd 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 MOREAnd 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 ChristieAlso 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 some at that time 193Well 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 lotOh but I apologise about my rude Importance of Being Ernest outburst It WAS code Whatever it still suckedI was also wrong about the surprise but mine was better I'll update again when I finally have really finished

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All ClearR 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 historyTold 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 uiet ordinary acts of heroism and sacrifice too often overlooked by history. Last time on Ben's reviews there's a very palpable somewhat ironic fear here because in a way these three are frightened 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 unnecessarilySlippage 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 lifeAnd now the conclusion to Ben's reviews of BlackoutAll ClearTime 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 11 universe instead of type 12 and the Novikov self consistency principle is in effect Everything that happens has already happened and they are in a nice and comfortable causality loopNow 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 300 pages There was some heavy skimming happening at some points too BlackoutAll Clear are definitely a package deal but it's a package with a long dull slog in the middlePicking 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 itWhen considered as a whole BlackoutAll 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 themesBlackoutAll 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 allHeroism and the uestion of what makes someone heroic are central to BlackoutAll 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 uite 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 BlackoutAll 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 historyI 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 BlackoutAll 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 charactersI 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 seems patronizing 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 becomesCausality 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 BlackoutAll 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 BlackoutAll 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