Get Blitzed!

blackoutConnie Willis has won the latest Nebula Award for her two novels Blackout and All Clear, which together form a single story. These books are an exciting return to form from a writer who had not turned out a novel in years. But it’s not the first time that Willis has explored the Blitz years of WWII in a time travel novel: she took a more comic turn at the period (and also at Victorian times) in To Say Nothing of the Dog.

These are science fiction novels, but Willis writes with a graceful style and with historical authority that make her works a comfortable read for those more accustomed to literary fiction. Blackout concerns  three Oxford time travelers from 2060 who get trapped in London during the time of the Blitz and become involved, like every citizen, in putting every effort into keeping the nation intact. Each is working on a slightly different project and unable to locate the other two. It would make a lovely book group selection, as long as your readers are warned in advance that the book ends with a cliffhanger, and that if they are involved, they will need to continue to All Clear to get the full story.to-say-nothing-of-the-dog

To Say Nothing of the Dog is a strange blend, a historical comedy of manners and romance blended with science fiction adventure. It involves time traveler Ned Henry, who is sent to Coventry to recover the bishop’s bird stump, a Victorian relic that is the key to restoring Coventry Cathedral to perfection in the future. Willis plays cleverly off of Jerome K. Jerome’s comic classic, Three Men in a Boat, referencing it with glee.  The result is a book that is exciting, dottily charming, and at times hilarious. Jerome’s book is a quick read that would make a superb companion choice.

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About the Author:

Neil Hollands is an Adult Services Librarian at Williamsburg Regional Library in Virginia, where he specializes in readers’ advisory and collection development. He is the author of Read On . . . Fantasy Fiction (2007) and Fellowship in a Ring: a Guide for Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Groups (2009).

1 Comment on "Get Blitzed!"

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  1. Misha Stone says:

    I loved Doomsday Book, but haven’t read other Connie Willis. Thanks, Neil, for reminding me to move these up in my reading queue soon!

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