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  1. #16
    I like to rock the party Corporal Blues's Avatar
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    Erf- Thanks for the tip. I'll look into it!

    Your other points...


    I don't usually read too many amazon reviews, I prefer to see what folks around here, or various bloggers whom I trust think rather than relying on some random amazon reviewer. That said, I can see why some people would be upset about the book being split in two.

    Personally, if the whole thing had been printed as one massive 800-1000 page novel, that would have been a big turn off for me. I have a hard time getting through massive tomes like that these days, so splitting it makes the story a lot more accessible to me. However, I'm not such a fan of shelling out the extra money for the cost of two books instead of one, so it is a bit of a wash out. At the same time, I'm gonna spend money on books regardless, so spending it on a sequel to a story I'm looking forward to and already invested in doesn't sting nearly as bad.

  2. #17
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
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    I don't really know how I ended up seeing the Amazon reviews for this one. I don't usually read those, either. Maybe I saw them when I was checking prices and availability for All Clear.

    Another point: My money is on an adult Colin showing up at the end. Makes the most sense given how they set up the relationship between him and Polly at the beginning.

  3. #18
    I like to rock the party Corporal Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erfael View Post
    Another point: My money is on an adult Colin showing up at the end. Makes the most sense given how they set up the relationship between him and Polly at the beginning.
    I could definitely see it being Colin, but the guy was pretty intent on seeing St. Paul's Cathedral and wasn't Dunworthy obsessed with St. Paul's?

    I think Colin coming to attempt the rescue would be more interesting than Dunworthy. The fact that Willis didn't say who it was made me wish for a copy of All Clear.

  4. #19
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
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    I didn't remember he was going for St. Paul's.

  5. #20
    I like to rock the party Corporal Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erfael View Post
    I didn't remember he was going for St. Paul's.
    Yeah, he asked/paid the two street urchins (Binnie and Alf) which station he was in, then went topside while the bombs were beginning to drop to try and get a glimpse of the Cathedral.

    Despite that, I still hope it is Colin and not Dunworthy that came to 1940. I think he'd be a much more interesting character given his crush on Polly, and and all that.

  6. #21
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corporal Blues View Post
    Is it just me or was there little mention of Gerald/Ernest in the early going. When the book first switched to his POV, and they were blowing up tanks I had no idea who he was.
    No, it wasn't just you - me too!

    I'm half way through now and finding it a gently engrossing book. Without the backdrop of the time travel it would be a reasonable soap-opera style account of WW2; as it's SF though it's twisted into something totally different. I can really imagine that this kind of thing actually goes on and we have just never noticed!!

  7. #22
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
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    On the topic of blowing up tanks: I loved that whole sequence. He's so grumpy about having to go blow up the tanks...one assumes detonate. Then they're making big balloon tanks. For some reason the whole thing cracked me up.

  8. #23
    I like to rock the party Corporal Blues's Avatar
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    Yeah, that scene was pretty funny. I get the sense that Gerald has a larger part to play in All Clear.

  9. #24
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    Did anyone manage the cryptic crossword clues on page 320??

  10. #25
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
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    You know, I didn't spend a lot of time with them, but as someone who does a LOT of cryptics, they did seem a little off. But, then again, I tend to do American-style, National-Puzzlers-League-Style Cryptics, so if they're terribly British, I may have trouble with them.

  11. #26
    I like to rock the party Corporal Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ropie View Post
    Did anyone manage the cryptic crossword clues on page 320??
    Nope, I'm a newbie at crosswords, and those ones were even more difficult than the American ones I'm used to.

  12. #27
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    Having got 90% of the way through the book, and knowing that it's just going to cut off before the final half, I think I can now safely say Blackout has been a very enjoyable read. All the usual Connie Willis elements are there, both good - the minutiae of accurate historical facts integrated into the plot; the well rounded characters; the tension - and the bad - the repetitive prose; the long winded passages featuring characters just running around looking for other characters. The scene setting was so successful that at times I found myself believing this was really happening and that there were historians amongst us as I read, lost and looking for their drops!

    Stylistically, I wished Willis would stop ending sentences in the middle. Which she did all the time, like that, for dramatic effect. Once or twice was fine; twenty or thirty times was getting a bit annoying. I was not really sure of the success of the 'cliff-hangers' at the ends of each chapter, but it didn't mar the experience. Perhaps the only real problem for me was that the threads involving Polly and Elaine were by far the best: the others involving Dunkirk, the FANYs and the inflatable tanks were just distracting really. Perhaps this will be remedied by the second part, but for now I would have preferred them to have just been isolated chapters that were inserted for interest rather than to return to them more than once. Still, with that in mind, I'm looking forward to reading All Clear later this year.

    EDIT - I just realised the chapters featuring the FANYs were the early chapters of Polly's drop - somehow I didn't make the connection between her leaving them and traveling to London. So maybe my comments about the two best threads in the book should really be that I felt little empathy for the two male characters, whose drops didn't inspire quite the same level of believability.
    Last edited by Ropie; May 18th, 2011 at 05:25 AM.

  13. #28
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    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...

    Another thing - what's the difference between a divergence point and any other event, no matter how trivial? If, as quoted in the book, a butterfly flapping its wings in one continent can cause a storm in another, surely any action would prevent a time traveller from visiting the past?

  14. #29
    Hello, I am new here and finding my way around. It took me ages to find this thread because I was searching the SF Bookclub thread/section. Is that no longer being used? I'm a little confused.

    Anyhow, I have put the Connie Willis book on hold with my library ... just have to wait for it to turn up. I presume it is ok to post into June if I haven't finished the book by then?

    I have read two of her books: "Passage" which I loved and couldn't put down and "Bellwether" which left me wondering why I'd bothered. I sent it to the op-shop. I am very fond of time travel stories and am looking forward to giving this one a go.

    Cheers, SOZ

  15. #30
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    Suzie: thanks for joining in.

    Apologies for the confusion, the thread's usually in the area with most traffic, and there's usually a direct link between the thread and the first post in the 'Reading in....' threads, that we do each month.

    The threads at the end of the month are usually archived. However they remain open for further discussion as members sometimes don't get to the book until later. Waiting for the book to turn up can sometimes take longer than expected!

    Mark
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