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Andrea K Höst

Australian writer of science fiction and fantasy.


Blackout - Connie Willis Interesting but flawed.The story thoroughly drew me in, even though (unlike The Domesday Book), I found myself stumbling repeatedly over why the time travellers were permitted to travel in the first place, and how whoever had invented the process had managed to create a situation where historians travelled rather than, oh, people with a political gripe or people wanting to exploit the past.But other than occasionally grimacing and wondering, for example, if a historian who specialised in WWII could possibly need Agatha Christie explained to her, the main issue with this story is the structure. Extremely repetitive, a good two thirds of this book involves one of the time-travelling historians anxiously trying to get something (minor) done and constantly failing, and having endless internal dialogues about whether the retrieval team had missed them or angsting over the possbility that they've somehow changed events.Eventually I became so frustrated with all three characters that I was on the verge of wishing they _would_ get a bomb dropped on their heads. They are not very smart historians.While this does give a glimpse of England during the Blitz, instead of a gripping tale of heroism and hardship, it's an endless grind of whining and anxiety.If ever a book needed to lose 100,000 words, it was this one.