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All Clear Paperback – October 25, 2011
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“Enthralling . . . a story so packed with thrills, comedy, drama and a bit of red herring that the result is apt to satisfy the most discriminating, and hungry, reader.”—The Denver Post
“[Connie] Willis can tell a story like no other. . . . One of her specialties is sparkling, rapid-fire dialogue; another, suspenseful plotting; and yet another, dramatic scenes so fierce that they burn like after-images in the reader’s memory.”—The Village Voice
“Ambitious, and moving . . . with a lovely twist at the end.”—The San Diego Union-Tribune
“[Willis’s] re-creation of wartime England is meticulous, energetic and exhaustive.”—The Wall Street Journal
“[A] tour de force.”—The Charlotte Observer
About the Author
Connie Willis, who was recently inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, has received six Nebula awards and ten Hugo awards for her fiction; her novel Passage was nominated for both. Her other works include Blackout, Doomsday Book, Lincoln’s Dreams, Bellwether, Impossible Things, Remake, Uncharted Territory, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Fire Watch, and Miracle and Other Christmas Stories. Connie Willis lives in Colorado with her family.
From the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
Connie Willis creates characters in such depth that you feel as if you're living inside their skin, especially if you listen to the audiobook while reading, which is narrated brilliantly by Katherine Kellgren. I honestly felt as if I were there in the shelters during the Blitz, living in the blackout, and dealing with the shortages and rationing. And I recently discovered a website called Bomb Sight which shows the location of just about every bomb that fell on London during the war, which will be a wonderful resource for locations when I reread this omnibus book (because I definitely will reread it; there was so much detail I lost the first time through, it will take a second reading just to have a better handle on what was going on). Connie Willis did a truly stupendous amount of research on WWII England, and it really shows. I found myself regularly doing independent research on wartime events that I might have heard of briefly in passing but had never looked into in detail, or researching people I'd never encountered before, and that added to the entire reading/listening experience for me.
I know some people find the book(s) tediously long, but I didn't. I didn't mind the historians' introspection -- since they couldn't reveal their true identity to the "contemps," after all -- especially since there's always a voice or three narrating life in my head, too. If you have plenty of time to spend and really want to learn about WWII England and immerse yourself in the life of these time travelers to the past, I highly recommend Blackout and All Clear. (And read them in that order or you'll be beyond hopelessly confused!)
The strength--and weakness--of this novel is the historical detail of war time England. There is richness in the setting and characters that I enjoyed. There was a bit much of that for my taste, but that is personal preference.
If that is the part you enjoy then you should read Blackout first. It is almost all that with very little support of the main plot line or the sci fi. If you are a sci fi reader, read this first and then you can decide if you want some backstory on the characters. If you are a hard core sci-fi reader with little interest in war-time Englad, you may not like either
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