Sunday, December 12, 2010
Blackout by Connie Willis
Connie Willis is one of the most celebrated sci-fi/fantasy authors in existence, and for those readers who aren't familiar with her work, I suggest you add some of her novels to your wish list, ASAP!
With both the Nebula and Hugo Awards under her belt, Connie Willis has made a huge re-entry onto the scene with Blackout, her first novel since the release of Passage in 2001.
Blackout is about a group of time-travelling historians from the year 2060 who venture back into time to re-shape history as we know it, to potentially alter major events such as the World Trade Center attack, Pearl Harbor, and the American Civil War, to name a few. When the time-travelling lab begins to cancel and reschedule assignments, projects go haywire when the historians are thrown into situations they are either not prepared for or trained on.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Connie Willis and a few of her novels have permanent housing status on my bookshelves, such as Bellwether (1996) and Passage (2001). Another amazing novel by Connie Willis is Lincoln's Dreams (1987), a novel about an historian who is pulled into the time of the Civil War.
Following my above prelude in giving homage to Connie Willis, I must say that I am really incredibly disappointed with Blackout.
The novel has a very sleepy, relaxed cadence to it which is fine, but overall has dialogue that is very lengthy and irrelevant. The novel feels as if it's standing still, when what I REALLY want to do is explore WWII Blitz days from the eyes of an historian from 2060!
In addition, each chapter is overly repetitive, telling the same experience repeatedly from the eyes of different characters. Within the first hundred pages, we basically learn that assignments are jumbled up, then subsequently we are given very long explanations of how a specific character thinks something about the time/day they were dumped in seems off, until we learn at the end of the chapter that they were displaced a few days into the future from the original date. How frustrating! And incredibly boring.
The plot has such great potential to be something amazing, and I'm truly upset that I didn't enjoy Blackout! The sequel to Blackout is All Clear, which was released October 2010.
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