Taken together, Blackout and All Clear make up a single story, over 1100 pages long. They are the latest epic work from Connie Willis, the winner of ten Hugo Awards and six Nebula Awards for her science fiction. Blackout and All Clear have been jointly nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel of 2010.
Blackout and All Clear take place in a universe Willis has previously explored in two other novels, which are not necessary to read first (Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog). In this future world, the students and faculty of the History Department at the University of Oxford study history by living it - even undergraduates must complete a history practicum in which they use time travel to experience the time period they have studied.
In Blackout we are introduced to various young historians studying the Second World War in England. Eileen is in the peaceful north, observing children evacuated from London to protect them from the bombing. Mike, doing a study of heroism, is headed to the southern coast to meet civilians who assisted in the evacuation of Dunkirk. Meanwhile, Polly is going straight to the heart of London to work as a shopgirl in the middle of the Blitz, with a memorized list of bombing sites to protect her.
All three will be perfectly safe as long as the theory they've been taught holds true - as long as historians can never change the history they've come to observe.
- submitted by Mary Lou @ Washington Park