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After finishing "Blackout" (SPOILERS)

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 16, 2010 8:19:10 AM PDT
Sourismom says:
I was glad I knew going it that it was to be continued, because otherwise I would have wailed at the end.

I found the multiple viewpoints a bit confusing and disjointing at first, but after a while, I got used to it and enjoyed seeing what was going on with each person. I admit that a couple of times I skipped over a chapter or two to continue a specific person's story and find out the resolution to a mini-cliffhanger. I did find I was more interested in Polly and Merope/Eileen's stories than I was Mike's. Perhaps because I'm traditionally more interested in what was going on on the "home front" with the Blitz than the actual fighting and military stuff.

I had never heard about the inflatable-tank decoys. Funny!!

Since we never heard anything else from Mary after she got caught outside in the bombing, I figured that sadly meant she had died. Did others draw the same conclusion?

My guess for the unnamed time traveler at the end is Colin. I wonder what's going on in Oxford to make all the drops fail, but yet allow someone else through? I rather wonder if it's deliberate on Dunworthy/Oxford's part -- the rampant drop-switching was extremely suspicious. Perhaps they're trying to disprove the time-travel opponent's theory, though that strikes me as dangerous and I can't believe Dunworthy would endanger the time-travelers like that. Theories?

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 1:33:52 PM PDT
E. Honig says:
I guess she must have died--I was completely thrown by that, too. It happened so suddenly, out of nothing, in the middle of the book. But I suppose she saved the girl she threw herself on top of--perhaps that's what will play out in some other part of the story.

Posted on Mar 17, 2010 10:07:01 AM PDT
My guess is that Colin has come back to rescue Polly as well. I think that the time-travel opponent's theory is going to be proven correct, thus ending time-travel and closing Willis's universe - that is just my feeling, but I think Ms. Willis is closing this universe after giving us her masterpiece.

I'm not sure about mary, I can't quite decide if she is dead or not - and I am waiting for October to come around so that I can read this book and find out the answers to all of the problems that Willis has dropped on us with this one.

Posted on Mar 24, 2010 3:08:22 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 24, 2010 3:15:58 PM PDT
A note to consider--Polly is a nickname for Mary (as is Molly). :)

And the jacket blurbs mentions spies...who votes for Hugh Tensing, the chap Mike meets in hospital at Orpington, as Most Likely to Be a Spy?

Posted on Mar 25, 2010 9:12:56 PM PDT
Ah, now that is an interesting idea Marissa. Willis definitely drew our attention to the other wounded man determined to rehabilitate himself quickly didn't she? Hmmm.

Posted on Mar 28, 2010 1:23:02 PM PDT
I was struck by three chilling assertions - first that Hitler planned to have himself crowned Emperor of Europe at Westminster, second that he planned to hang Churchill, the King and Queen and the Princesses and third that he planned to relocate the Trafalgar Square statues to Berlin. Does anyone know if there is a documented basis for these or are they simply literary license?

Posted on May 11, 2010 7:23:33 AM PDT
duskstarjds says:
David, I couldn't direct you to the documents that mention this. However, Connie Willis tends to do significant amounts of research for her books (I think that is something they emphasized with Doomsday Book when it was first released), so it is quite possible she found a reference to those assertions. The reference though, might have been something like a propaganda newspaper article that was released by the British government to reinforce how wicked the Nazis were, rather than actual Nazi plans.

Sourismom, I agree that is probably Colin at the end of the book. It would fit with his personality from Doomsday Book, and he was clearly trying to find a way to travel back in time. And while many people seemed to find this really abrupt, to me it seemed like a good spot to end the book, because the travelers were together and then this mysterious one suddenly appears. I also agree with you that the multiple viewpoints was initially confusing. For me it wasn't because I was not used to the style, but because at the beginning, each time the viewpoint changed it seemed like it was a totally new character I had not even heard of, and I had to figure out where they fit into everything before I could enjoy reading their part of the story. I also don't think that the drop switching is deliberate. Instead I think that it could be Connie Willis showing how complicated running a time travel research center could be (because really, in her previous books there's really only been one story told). The issues with the drops, I think, could be caused by the time continuum trying to sort itself out and fix everything (sort of like what happened at the end of To Say Nothing of the Dog). Of course, I'm often wrong when I try to guess what an author's up to, so I might be totally surprised in autumn when the conclusion's out.

Posted on Sep 21, 2010 3:19:50 PM PDT
claudia says:
It took me a second read to figure a few things out of these confusing (but riveting) story lines. The beginning, it seems to be, to be an illustration of 'chaos' with all the switching around of the times and assignments. it was a way to illustrate that 'chaos' theory is involved in this story - with small changes that get magnified hugely by the end of the story.

The following is my opinion, of course but: Spoiler(s)!

Polly (alias Molly alias Mary), has a 'deadline' - which means that she has already been to a time later in WWII, and she can't visit it again. If Polly is also Mary, then she can't meet herself. And she also may be the one who was at VE day (without Mr. Dunworthy's permission probably).

Also, all three of them: MIke, Eileen, and Polly have done things that altered the course of events. Mike rescued that soldier; Eileen escorted Binnie and Alf to London on the train that was supposed to be bombed, but Alf's snake and the Headmistress's complaints held up the train.

I do think it is Colin who came through somehow at the end. The whole reason for showing how determined he was at the beginning of the book was to set the stage for the end. And somehow, since he attempted to game the system so that he could be older, is that also a reason that time travel is mucked up? and didnt he prevent the woman from getting to Marble Arch (that was about to be bombed) in time?

Not sure how all this is to be resolved! But sure am looking forward to All Clear! And I have the sneaking suspicion that ... 'things will work out all right in the end!' ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2011 7:51:22 PM PDT
those inflatable decoys were actually designed by graduates of Pratt Art Institute in Brooklyn and one of them was a famous fashion designer. Sorry, I cannot think of name now...
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Discussion in:  Blackout forum
Participants:  8
Total posts:  9
Initial post:  Mar 16, 2010
Latest post:  Jun 4, 2011

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Blackout by Connie Willis (Paperback - September 14, 2010)
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