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  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Hobbit View Post
    Waiting for the book to turn up can sometimes take longer than expected!
    Hmmm, I think you may be right Mark, although I'm next in queue for this book. Unfortunately I'm 10th in the queue for next month's book, which could apparently take up to 100 days! I might have to buy that one.

    Thanks for the welcome ...

  2. #32
    I've finished this book now and absolutely loved it. I deliberately kept away from this thread until I'd read it as I didn't want to spoil anything, so for some reason forgot it was a Part 1, so at the end of the book I'm sitting in the couch going "oh no! oh no!" ... I've now ordered the second part from my library and am thankfully 2nd in the queue so hopefully it won't take too long to turn up.

    For me the flitting back and forwards between characters worked well, only once I was on the edge of my seat after one chapter and just had to look ahead a couple chapters to read the first few lines to satisfy my curiosity.

    I agree the beginning of the book was getting a bit confusing ... she introduced so many characters all at once, it was a relief when they finally started time travelling.

    Are you sure Kent is Polly? What about Douglas (pg 157 in my book - London-7 May 1945). Is Douglas actually Polly because it is Douglas that gets to see the end of the war. Or are Kent and Douglas both Polly? I must admit these two characters confused me a bit, as did Ernest. They didn't seem to have any real purpose - especially as I was getting to the end of the book which I didn't realise was a Part 1

    Anyhow I'm sure it will all work itself out in the next part.


    I too hope that the newcomer is Polly's crush rather than Mr Dunworthy. But his desperate wanting to see St Paul's does definitely suggest that it is Dunworthy.

    A couple of points that irritated me slightly as I'm a bit of a stickler for detail:

    Polly appeared not to bathe or change her clothes (at least not her blouse) or barely sleep for days, yet turned up for work and worked whole days. This just seemed a bit ridiculous. She would have looked (and smelt) terrible.

    Also near the end of the book where Mike, Polly and Eileen are sitting on the emergency exit stairs in the early evening - they sat down, had a bit of a conversation, Eileen went to get food and came back, had a bit more conversation and then suddenly it was morning. So where did the hours go?

    Also when Padgetts was bombed and the three of them saw the mannequins they immediately thought they were dead bodies, whereas no-one else who came along afterwards had the same reaction.

    Just minor points actually, not really important. I am loving the story! I find it very easy reading. I don't know that I'll get Windup Girl read before I start All Clear.

  3. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Ropie View Post
    A couple of other thing that bothered me about this book:

    Nearly everything that happened was the result of someone's - usually incorrect - assumption. Take a look: it's either a person not turning up when expected or someone thinking someone is talking about one thing when they mean another, or a journey taken on the assumption that something or someone will be waiting at the other end...
    I was thinking about this too, and I'm wondering whether it's evidence of the laws of time travel working to make sure the visitors don't change history? It happens so often that I'm sure there must be a purpose in it.

    Everything just seemed to be working against their plans to observe what they'd travelled back to observe - from significant events to small encumberances.

    I must admit I found it a bit frustrating sometimes, especially near the end when it didn't look like Polly, Mike and Eileen were ever going to meet up.

  4. #34
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    Glad you enjoyed it. Was it the first Connie Willis book you've read?

    Quote Originally Posted by SuzieOz View Post
    Polly appeared not to bathe or change her clothes (at least not her blouse) or barely sleep for days, yet turned up for work and worked whole days. This just seemed a bit ridiculous. She would have looked (and smelt) terrible.
    Not bathing or changing clothes more than a few times a week was normal for most people in the UK (and probably the rest of the world too) until about 50 or 60 years ago. It wasn't until the 1950s and the birth of TV advertising that people started to become really self-conscious about their body odours. I agree though that the time travellers did not complain about it even though they would not have been used to it.

  5. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Ropie View Post
    Glad you enjoyed it. Was it the first Connie Willis book you've read?
    I've also read Passage which I loved, kept me on the edge of my seat, though the end left me a bit blah. It seemed a bit anticlimactic to me, and sad

    I've also read Bellwether, and though it also kept me interested all the way through, at the end I expected something more. I was waiting for the big climax which didn't seem to happen. I wonder is this a Connie Willis trait and am I going to be disappointed at the end of All Clear?

    I also have a book of Christmas short stories she wrote which has some rather interesting tales.

    I am looking forward to reading some others of hers which have been mentioned on this site, like the Doomsday one and another I can't think of right now.

    I agree about the lack of bathing in the era too, I did realise that, but I suppose it made such an impression on me because in the same situation I really don't think I could have coped! Also, she didn't seem to eat much for days either. I couldn't cope with that either. Such a different time.

  6. #36
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
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    I meant to come comment on the wrong assumptions phenomenon. All of her books (in the time-travel Oxford) universe seem to work this way. In To Say Nothing of the Dog I thought it was quite charming because it fit very well into a sort of Victorian Comedy of Errors style, but I found it absolutely didn't work for Doomsday book. Here in Blackout it neither bothered me nor excited me. Not sure if her other books work this way, but I've come to accept that it's a bit silly.

  7. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Erfael View Post
    I meant to come comment on the wrong assumptions phenomenon. All of her books (in the time-travel Oxford) universe seem to work this way. In To Say Nothing of the Dog I thought it was quite charming because it fit very well into a sort of Victorian Comedy of Errors style, but I found it absolutely didn't work for Doomsday book. Here in Blackout it neither bothered me nor excited me. Not sure if her other books work this way, but I've come to accept that it's a bit silly.
    Hmmm, this is interesting. I seem to recall in Passage (though it's not a time travel book) there was this frustrating things-not-working-to-plan element too. Sounds like a Willis trait then? It certainly ups the tension, but can be overdone. Especially at the end of Passage, (it was a few years ago I read it), I remember the result of all this tension for me was an expectation that something really BIG was on the way. What did happen just felt all wrong to me.

    Oh well, hopefully the end of All Clear will be happily satisfying, I do love a happy ending ...

  8. #38
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
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    I'm almost halfway through All Clear now and without offering significant spoilers I'm not enjoying it very much yet. It's more of the same, but without as much interesting historical filler....just people constantly being morons and so not explaining things to one another or not realizing things or running off for some silly reason and missing a connection. Plotting through character stupidity is starting to wear thin....

  9. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Erfael View Post
    I'm almost halfway through All Clear now and without offering significant spoilers I'm not enjoying it very much yet. It's more of the same, but without as much interesting historical filler....just people constantly being morons and so not explaining things to one another or not realizing things or running off for some silly reason and missing a connection. Plotting through character stupidity is starting to wear thin....
    Bother, perhaps the novel should have been shorter then?
    I do hope it has a satisfying ending.

  10. #40
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
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    Well, the middle third is entertaining me more than the first third did. I think something actually happened.

  11. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Erfael View Post
    I'm almost halfway through All Clear now and without offering significant spoilers I'm not enjoying it very much yet. It's more of the same, but without as much interesting historical filler....just people constantly being morons and so not explaining things to one another or not realizing things or running off for some silly reason and missing a connection. Plotting through character stupidity is starting to wear thin....
    I found the first half of All Clear very hard to get through. As you say, Plotting through character stupidity wears thin, and it was a major plot device in that part of the book.

  12. #42
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
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    Indeed. I'm at the 500-page mark now and enjoying it a lot. It's a shame it has such an unfortunate first 275 pages....

  13. #43
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
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    All right....final non-spoiler thoughts on All Clear. Despite what I said earlier, fabulous conclusion to BlackOut. Still not sure what to think of the first third (maybe it's genius, at the very least it's integral to the greater whole, can't decide if it should have been trimmed somehow). But I tore through the rest of it and I'm very satisfied. It was moving in ways that much SF just isn't for me. I would definitely recommend it (and recommend that people stick through that dubious first third).

  14. #44
    Oh good! I'm glad you posted that encouragement Erfael, I'm really looking forward to it now!

  15. #45
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    Thanks Erf. Will get myself a copy soon hopefully.

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