file:///F|/rah/Connie%20Willis/Doomsday%computerescue.info DOOMSDAY BOOK by Connie Willis DEDICATION To Laura and Cordelia. CONNIE WILLIS DOOMSDAY BOOK Kivrin wanted to study the Black Death, not live it 'A tour de force' Th e N e w Yo r k. Five years in the writing by one of science fiction's most honored authors, Doomsday Book is a storytelling triumph. Connie Willis draws upon.
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Editorial Reviews. computerescue.info Review. Connie Willis labored five years on this story of a history student in who is transported to an English village in the. [PDF] Download Doomsday Book Free Book. Read Online Doomsday Book E- Books, Download Best Book Doomsday Book, Download Author: Connie Willis. Discover ideas about Doomsday Book. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis I read this book every Christmas-- an intelligent time travel novel that combines history, .
Kivrin discovers many inconsistencies in what she "knows" about the time: the Middle English she learned is different from the local dialect, her maps are useless, her clothing is too fine, and she is far too clean. She can also read and write, skills unusual even for educated men of the time and rare among women. As nuns are the only women commonly possessing these skills, some family members conclude Kivrin has fled her convent and plan to return her to the nearest convent.
She fakes amnesia, afraid the background story she originally concocted would have similar inconsistencies, as she tries to find the "drop point".
She fruitlessly attempts to locate Gawyn, who supposedly found her and took her to Skendgate. While this happens, she becomes semi-integrated into society, bonding with the children Agnes and Rosemund. In the other timeline, Dunworthy frantically tries to determine if Kivrin is safe as Oxford collapses into panic.
He befriends his friend Mary's grand-nephew, Colin, and they become quite attached. In future Oxford, fears grow that the virus causing the epidemic has been transmitted from the past via the time travel net, despite the scientific impossibility of that occurrence. This causes Professor Gilchrist to order the net closed, effectively stranding Kivrin in the past, even as Professor Dunworthy tries frantically to reverse the decision.
At parallel points in their respective narratives, Kivrin and Professor Dunworthy realize that she has arrived in England at the wrong time: she has arrived during the Black Death pandemic in England in ,  more than 20 years later than her intended arrival. While there was no slippage, Badri, delirious with illness, had input the incorrect code, resulting in her being sent then instead.
The Black Death cuts a swathe through the Middle Ages just as the influenza overwhelms the medical staff of the 21st century. There are many parallels between the timelines, a way of demonstrating we have not come as far as we think.
Of those able to help Professor Dunworthy, many fall ill and die, including his good friend Doctor Mary Ahrens, who dies even as she tries to save the other influenza victims, and Professor Dunworthy himself is stricken by the disease. Meanwhile, in the 14th century, two weeks after Kivrin's arrival, a monk infected with the plague comes to the village. Within days, many residents of the village fall ill. Kivrin tries to nurse the victims, but, lacking modern medicines, she can do little to ease their suffering.
The arranged date for retrieval passes with neither side able to make it. At last, in desperation, Professor Dunworthy despite being in feeble health arranges for Badri to send him back in time to rescue Kivrin, as he feels responsible for sending his student, so he thinks, to her death.
We'll see. View all 39 comments. Mar 27, Tracey rated it it was ok Recommends it for: Anyone that wants to become a bell ringer. OMG I am finally finished! What a travel down a monotonous road. I will not attempt to say once again what has been so eloquently said many times before.
But one thing that I had to mention was a phrase that has stuck in my mind for days. I found myself last week picking up the book so that I might be able to put closure on it.
Kivrin the young historian who travels back in time and seems to have only one concern and that is to find the "DROP" which turns out to be a very tedious endeavor for her and I. Just think I would have been spared about pages! At this point I was going to toss the book over the balcony, but then I realized this was an autographed book, just my luck. Yeah, that about sums it up Maybe my favorite time travel book ever and I do like me a good time travel tale , Doomsday Book won both the Hugo and Nebula as well as several other awards in the early s when it was published.
Kivrin is a history major at Oxford in a near-future world where time travel machines are controlled by universities and used for research purposes. Kivrin is traveling back in time to live in a medieval English village for a few weeks, but things go just a bit extremely wrong. She arrives and despite all the inoculations she received immediately falls very ill. She can't understand the language of 's England. Her clothing and appearance aren't right, and the villagers are rather suspicious.
Apparently the university's research into medieval England wasn't as accurate as they thought. And then it turns out that she's not even in the time period she was supposed to arrive in, and a major disaster view spoiler [the Black Death bubonic plague pandemic hide spoiler ] is already on its way. A lovely and heart-wrenching story, highly recommended. It's much more about the characters than the hard science.
Kivrin's - and the villagers' - bravery in the face of death and tragedy hit me right in the heart. View all 4 comments. I am very concerned. Many reviewers whom I trust rave about this book. Not only was it supremely boring, but annoying. The first pages can be summarized: I felt like slapping virtually every character i I am very concerned.
I felt like slapping virtually every character in the book at one point or three to stop whinging and get on with a rescue. Willis made Britain and the British so depressing, not the Britain I have visited. The science is minimal and never explained. The technology of was not impressive at all. I at least expected some interesting adventure in medieval times but nada. So I come back to questioning, what am I missing here? Ian Foster. We had the midth Century for that. These ain't Jesuits on a distant planet, or a man and a boy wandering down a road.
This shit really happened, people. For me, this line is similar to the one I draw between literary fiction and science fiction, the latter genre which typically gets assigned an automatic Tier 2. But Vonnegut and Atwood are definitely Tier 1, aren't they? Neither would self-select to the SF category and, I suspect, SF aficionados would not necessarily classify them there either.
I'm not sure any of these authors would fit neatly within the confines of SF either, but they sure are more "science fiction-y" than my usual reading.
And perhaps just because of the origins or order of their appearance on my to-read list, they are lumped into a triad in my head. Yes, I confess, I'd probably classify each of them as Tier 2 writers: Nothing that makes you stop and need or even want to re-read to tease out the layers of meaning, the clever subtleties of language or the nuances of how style marries to substance.
These books are not about the writing, which really means they are not about the author. They are about the story. And I'm a sucker for a great story. This one pulled me in from page one and had me in its grip throughout all of the remaining pages. I sacrificed sleep to read it, staying up late into the night.
And, it made me cry. I was, in a word, engrossed. Like Russell's The Sparrow and Children of God , Willis uses science fiction devices space travel to first contact with alien species in Russell's series; time travel to Black Death-ridden England in in Willis's , but these are merely ways to get the main characters to a situation that forces them and their readers to examine the nature of humanity in the face of extreme crisis.
Russell focuses specifically on what it means to believe in a God that allows unimaginable suffering. Willis is concerned with this too, and includes a medieval priest to be sure the issue is raised, but she is a little more story-focused, and less about beating you over the head to make sure you get that point. Her characters feel more like characters, and less like symbols or vehicles conveying a theme.
It helps, too, that Willis's characters are people anchored in a real past with whom we can connect not just intellectually and spiritually but also emotionally and some of us, genetically. I think her central concern--the heart of this book--is not about questioning faith but about our capacity for compassion. Like her main character, time-travelling historian Kivrin, Willis seeks to link with a specific past and humanize it; like Kivrin, she wants to rescue the people of the Middle Ages from the negative reputation they've acquired, the modern disparaging judgement we've made against them for their filth, their narrow-minded worldview blinded by religion, their poor behaviour towards one another she weaves in the apocryphal stories historians of the modern age tell, of cutthroats and villains; witch-burners and pitchfork-armed gangs seeking someone to blame; parents abandoning their plague-sick children and cold-hearted priests fleeing, leaving their parishioners to suffer in agony.
Willis is making a judgement here about historians, too. She creates a character in her modern timeline, Gilchrist--as rigid and narrow-minded as any of the past and the closest this novel has to a villain--who claims the Black Death's mortality rate is much lower than commonly accepted.
This is a real dispute, as I have read, among medieval scholars: Gilchrist is a mortality denier: Kivrin, and Willis, seek to debunk this dangerous bit of historical myth-making. She brings the dispute over the numbers front and centre by repeating, at key intervals: Is it a third? Is it half? It doesn't really matter, says Willis. What matters is that they were real people: Only in retrospect, do I see how clever a writer she is that page sums it up, but you'll need to read all that goes before it: The mirroring is beautifully subtle: A gaggle of bell-ringers practising Christmas carols; medieval church bells tolling for the dead.
A pandemic in the 21st century echoing the Black Death of the fourteenth. What she focuses on is the connections we have with one another, personally and societally, in the present; as well as the ones that link us to the past. The epidemiology of love as well as disease.
People are people in all ages, Kirvin and Willis believe. Narrow-minded, ignorant and cruel in the present as in the past; kind, compassionate and self-sacrificing, too. But all of that is my retrospective analysis, and none of it was on the surface as I was reading.
I didn't have half an eye on how she was telling it, or what I was going to say in my Goodreads review. She trumped all that by telling a great story, well-researched, well-written, with believable and convincing characters, a plot line that had real tension and a considerable amount of farce black humour amidst the Black Death.
Sure, she telegraphs some of her plot twists, sometimes as a way of cushioning the blow. There's some unnecessary repetition--a kind of backtracking from chapter to chapter that seemed redundant, and a tendency to switch from first-person to third-person that is sometimes disorienting, like time travel itself.
Absolutely none of that got in the way of the incredible impact the story had on me. Let's hear it for Tier 2 writers. View all 58 comments. That's a quote from the only character I truly liked in this book. My first Connie Willis book. And I must admit that there is no denying the quality. At all. But more of that later. Since this book was written some time ago, there are no cell phones or laptops, but the telephones are some form of FaceTime the way they were described.
A Apocalyptic! One undergraduate student is to go back to the Middle Ages to study the people there for about a week. She has been preparing for this for the past 2 or 3 years. The day finally comes and, of course, something goes wrong. Without giving too much away, people start getting sick here, too, and nobody is putting one and one together; or they do, but only slowly.
There are many parallels between the two timelines, which I took for the author's way of demonstrating that we have not come as far as we think. Some of the people are too rigid when it comes to unnecessary rules while others endanger other people by not taking anything seriously.
Not to mention that sickness can strike us down no matter how much penicillin we have. In the same vein, the book also makes a very interesting point about academia vs being in the field - theoretical knowledge like statistics on how many people have died from the plague vs actually living through an epidemic. It also nicely illustrated that modern people don't know suffering on such a scale. Theory-vs-reality was something that really irked me about Kivrin.
She was just too naive. A bit can be explained away by her youth and inexperience but not that much. Well, she learned her lesson. So many times I actually screamed in frustration because nothing ever got done or "experts" were very slow to catch on to something and it felt like we were treading water despite only a week having passed within the story. In either timeline. On the contrary, I felt a very dark satisfaction about a number of the people dying horribly like Lady Imeyne or those clergy men.
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However, what I very much appreciate is the amount of research the author must have done for this book and the details she added into the story to make it more realistic. Be it about the procedures in case of an epidemic nowadays or back in the 90s when this book was written, a few things have changed by now or the fact that a plague meant animals not getting fed, cows being in pain because there was nobody to milk them etc.
It shows us a richly drawn up world and rewards readers with a fully fleshed-out world to step into. And this is what made reading the book interesting despite me not connecting to the people.
I was there for the history, the research so to speak, and there were a lot of details to marvel at. View all 28 comments. Mar 26, Bradley rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is my second read. The first time I read it, I was fascinated by CW's take on time travel and the mirroring of the plague in the future with the past's Black Death, but moreover, the characters snuck up on me and tore my soul apart.
It was, perhaps, the best time-travel novel I'd ever read. That was then. But now? Even when I knew it was coming, when I tried to keep from loving all these characters in the past and in the future, I was unable to help myself. They're flawed, annoying, lovable, This is my second read. They're flawed, annoying, lovable, hurt, and intense.
I feel their reality. And I still tried to hold myself apart from the tragedy to come. But I failed. I failed hard. I cried the first time I read this and it may have hit even harder this time. I held off for so long, just enjoying the everyday lives in the past and the growing unease in the future, not just Mr. Dunworthy's frantic efforts, but the epidemic that spreads there.
When the past's Black Plague finally hit, however, I was undone.
This is the difference between good books and truly fantastic ones. Classic ones. Bowl me over and kill me ones. It's a hard book to read because it affects me so much.
But it's also one of the most memorable SF books I've ever read, too. I can easily place this in my top books of all time. View all 10 comments.
Mar 09, Helene rated it did not like it. Make sure this one is simply on hand in case you run out of toilet paper. If you think that's being crude, let me remind you a lack of toilet paper is one of her side plots she uses to move things along.
This book won a Nebula and Hugo award. Oh swoon, right? OMG this must be awesome, right??? Well, no And I just don't know if I have it in me to fully express how bad this book was. Let me start by setting the scene: In what can only be described as the "Crying Room" found in any church, soundproof with glass wall a bunch of hen pecking, annoying scientists all talk over each other and do a terrible Acting soliloquy in which they listen to no one and repeat themselves like some contemporary art performance that would only have been improved if they re-inacted Carole Schneemann's famous performance.
Okay, so what you want me to say is this: The scientists that were squabbling about nothing interesting and not actually talking to each other anyway go get a beer next door to wait for the "fix," when console-man shows up discombobulated to the pub, says "something went wrong I got the fix The console man got very sick Eh, why make it interesting, though? I'd like to say that's what happened, but it didn't, not really.
I mean, it is, if you cut pages out of the book. My electronic version was pages In the first pages, all that happens is they send the girl back, the guy collapses without telling them what was off about the send. That's it. So far, nothing.
What DID happen 46 times in those pages is they got him to say "something's wrong Actually, he continued to say this and not explain up through page out of , when he finally spat out more of that sentence. And what of the girl that was sent back? Let's just say it takes you oh, about It took her half the page book to realize oooOOOOoooh Yes, she's sick and delirious Or that we're witnessing the Black Plague all around her.
The girl is fitted with a recording device on her hands that activates when she presses her hands together like she's praying So she records "I hear a rat gnawing under my bed. What, where your cute little Tupperware tubs are filled with sweaters from last season? Under her bed? Poor people had mattresses on the floor. What, are you going to tell me that she magically had a future bed in something?
How is this a historical novel? I think the writer did her research for this book on a cereal box. Probably the person who sold the cereal box. Back to my point, while I get it that student girl is delirious, we're told over and over how she was to learn old English, French, german, latin, her cover story, etc Where is your training?
Omg I hope she dies of the plague. She doesn't, by the way. She effing doesn't. It's unjust. The author finds this amazing device to set a scene She'll take one character, and make them crawl into their own mind, spinning out of control, thinking "OMG what if something went wrong?
What if the send didn't go well? What if there's a problem??? You don't respect me as a professor! Any mistake here is your fault! One paragraph, inner soliloquy.
Next, berating jerk complaining without listening. If at any one point in times this occurred, the person being barked at said "HEY. Because that person that barked unanswered? They're going to keep repeating that sentence hundreds of pages in, just you wait.
You ever read a word in a book, and it's such a unique word, that you totally notice when the author uses it again?
Maybe "discombobulate" like I used above! I don't know if it's a British thing, but he never "dials" a phone, he punches it. He punched numbers 31 times in the book. OOoh, and my personal favorite, Rummage. In the beginning of the book, one of the scientists waiting in the crying room has a "shopping bag," which is mentioned no less than 20 times in the first pages I never realized how describing something so irritating can be so irritating to read!
It's like the only way the author builds tension into a scene. She literally has someone talk at this character, then in response she rummages. But that's not all. This book, set in the future, spends much of it's time with busy signals. Yes, that's right, pull that memory out of the back of your mind, the most annoying sound in the world, brought back to life.
The book was written in , so, unfortunately the science fiction part wasn't her strong suit, apparently only masters like Gibson can get this one right The toilet paper and the grumpy guests. They are simply used as a device so that every time he calls this guy for info, these 2 problems will keep him from answering what he was supposed to answer, and then the call will end, with no one getting anywhere.
If you think I'm exaggerating, the guests are brought up 45 times, the toilet paper 17 times. I had more fun using the search feature than reading this, by the way. I feel some of the fight drifting out of me. My sister recommended this book, and I so wanted to like it so we could chat about it It aggravates me! From the beginning of the book, we know something went wrong about sending her back, but the guy who wants to tell you what happened gets sick By page , student girl finally figures out she must have been sent to the wrong time, and that's why her translator won't work.
By the end of the book you realize none of it matters, and the "6th Sense" twist of this book is They both just randomly got sick. Yeah, spoiler. Nothing in the past came to the future or vice versa. It's just dumb luck, lots of people dead, a pedophilia type love hinted at, and no reason to have ever bothered writing this book. The "touching love story" or whatever people are calling it?
While people in future-present are dying off all around him, the professor is still totally focused on the student that got sent back. I think people think it's a love story that he's concerned about her welfare, despite everyone he know or loves being dead around him and that not seeming to sink in.
There's no defined love story Sep 10, Cori rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: From my blog: If you haven't read anything by Connie Willis, I highly suggest that you stop whatever you're doing and go out and get one of her books.
Willis is sort of a giant in the science fiction world -- she's won Hugo and Nebula awards, among many others. Her plots are engaging and funny and heartbreaking and her books are nearly impossible to put down. Spoi From my blog: The books of hers I've read are not science fiction in the Star Trek sense. Bellwether was much about science itself, and To Say Nothing of the Dog and Doomsday Book are both set in the near future, the only difference being that her world has time travel.
There's a problem, however, and she's sent to instead of , and is dropped right smack down in the middle of the Plague. Meanwhile, an influenza strikes the present, and the people trying to get her back are struck down with a plague of their own. The book goes back and forth between Kivrin's battle to stay alive during one of history's darkest times, and the present, where they are trying to find a cure and rescue Kivrin.
There are some pretty gruesome parts when Willis goes into detail about how people are suffering during the plague -- those with sensitive constitutions be warned. Willis has a knack for creating worlds. She populates both the past and the present with very interesting characters, and her take on the people of the Middle Ages is really fantastic.
She doesn't spend a lot of time explaining the future world she's created. Things are the way they are. I like this a lot better than authors who spend a lot of time explaining how the future came to be the way it is. View 2 comments. Apr 05, Emma rated it liked it Shelves: Just about 3 stars.
It's a shame really because I LOVED the actual account of Kivrin and the details of life in the s community she was brought in to was fascinating. If all or the majority of this had been the main chunk of the story, this would easily have been 4 stars. But I found the modern day story really boring. Give or take give a star or two ten. There are only three things you need to know about this book: Along with To Say Nothing of the Dog , which was apparently written by a woman called Connie Willis, whose name sounds vaguely familiar for some very weird reason.
Why is this the mostest bestest time travel novel ever written, you ask?
I am aware that you , being the Clueless Barnacles that you are, probably have trouble grasping the undeniable logic of this point. Such a lovely time to be alive this was: Not to mention the most glorious luxury of them all…the Black Death of Doom!
They suffered horribly! They vomited blood and stuff!
Ooooh, sexey! Because the woman is so bloody shrimping gifted, and depicts delicious viruses and exquisite plagues so incredibly well, that you start wondering whether you should wear protective gear while reading the book I recommend this outfit , by the way. It comes with a super handy, vital accessory and stuff. Ergo, you decide to give up, give in, and stop resisting, cough your lungs away in grand medieval style, and finish the book even it means you are going to die a slow, horrible, moderately excruciating death.
View all 16 comments. Sep 25, Apatt rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is one of the elite novels that won both Hugo and Nebula awards, there are not many of those and they are generally very good books though you and I can always find some titles to be undeserving, c'est la vie.
Before starting on reading this novel I looked around Goodreads and site for some consensus of opinion among other readers. I found the prevailing opinion to be on the positive side but it is always interesting to note the negatives also, in case the reviewers hate the same things I This is one of the elite novels that won both Hugo and Nebula awards, there are not many of those and they are generally very good books though you and I can always find some titles to be undeserving, c'est la vie.
I found the prevailing opinion to be on the positive side but it is always interesting to note the negatives also, in case the reviewers hate the same things I do.
Among the unfavorable reviews a common criticism seems to be that this book is boring. While I don't quite agree with this sentiment I understand it. We are bored by different things and have different levels of tolerance for certain kinds of plot or pacing. While I enjoy time traveling stories I tend to prefer those with a lots of paradoxes, going back and forth, becoming your own granddad, causing a massive rift in the space time continuum, that sort of thing.
Any way, just going to one time period and getting yourself in trouble because you are just too damn modern doesn't really do it for me. Having rambled on thus far I have to confess that I like this book a lot and I can't italicize it enough! Connie Willis' prose is nice and smooth, it reminds me of Lois McMaster Bujold's prose style, with just the right amount of elegance and witticism without sacrificing clarity.
The novel is immediately accessible from page one, which is always a bonus. This book is clearly character driven, though there are a few clever scifi concepts like the non-mechanical translating device recorder implant etc. Also, as this is generally a dark novel, the occasional interjections of humor is very welcome.
The main character Kivrin is a wonderful creation, by the end of the novel I feel like this is a real person I have come to know very well. She is courageous, compassionate, intelligent and vulnerable, Ms Willis certainly puts her through the wringer with this one, poor lass.
Back to the "boring" allegation, there is some pacing or progression problem with this book, at times characters seem to be running around circle not advancing the plot very much. The search for Kivrin's entry point to medieval time also gets a bit tiresome.
That said, whether you will find this book intolerably boring will very much depend on how invested are you in the characters and their plight.
I am totally sold on them. A very interesting question that the novel raised in my mind is since what happened in the medieval time has already happened as far as we in the present time are concerned, all the characters from that period have been dead ages ago, so does it matter to the visiting time traveller if they die or how they die? I think it does because when they are with you they are just people.
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View all 5 comments. Feb 10, Guillermo rated it really liked it Shelves: I think Connie Willis did a great job at portraying something so absolutely horrible that it defies comprehension. I had read about the plague that almost eradicated Europe, but nothing could prepare me for what I read here. The horrors of the Black Death seem to be something so far beyond anything we could imagine..
I found myself cringing and pleading: The feeling of abandonment that these peopl I think Connie Willis did a great job at portraying something so absolutely horrible that it defies comprehension. The feeling of abandonment that these people had, coupled with the fact that they did not hold their religion to the casual standard that most people in this age do - that they really thought God, Angels, and Demons, were just as material as anything they could physically see and touch, made it that much more heart wrenching.
I could tell Willis did a shitload of research in writing this book, and just for that, I really appreciated this. It was not a book without faults however, the chapters in contemporary times were not as interesting.
Dunsworth and his "tasks" grew repetetive. It seems the author was tyring to create a parallel structure with the medieval and modern era, but it fell flat. Our heart was with Kivrin the entire time. Everything else was sort of irrelevant. As I say after I finish a Hamilton book: Most of that horror seems to happen "off camera". Not so much with Kivrin's chapters though.
This book really isn't for everyone. I had nightmares and I still think about this book more than most of the fiction I read, because while this is a fictionalized account, it really happened. I can't help but place myself in some of those situations and start sweating.
Wllis does a great job at making these characters more than just numbers in a history book. Trust me when I tell you that you will feel it. The technology described was not as impressive, but I can forgive her for not being a wonderful prognasticator of technology back in - for God's sakes, the internet was in its infantile stages back then. How could I expect her to predict telecommunications in the year ?
The Time travel itself had very interesting rules with the slippage, but not alot of thought went into the mechanism itself, which was a little disappointing, but it didn't take anything away from the novel. In my opinion, time travel is pretty much the stuff of fantasy anyways, which is ok, so I"m not going to get bothered by it.
It's speculative fiction after all, so we don't always need all the answers. So the bottom line was that it was a solid book that was sometimes oppresively dark, but light on the technical details and feasibility of the technology.
It was a bit too long and repetitive at times. Could've served as a novella in my opinion. Powerful story- Kivrin's sections were wonderful to read, which were about half the book.
Could just as easily be a 3 or 3. View all 12 comments. Jul 06, Marita rated it it was amazing Shelves: Fast-forward a few years hence to Oxford, and then travel all the way back to the 14th century with this gem of a book.
In the process a Pandora's box is opened and the contents revealed. I prefer to say less rather than more in order not to spoil this story for you, and for that reason most of my thoughts on the book are between spoiler tags.
Let me just say that it has become possible to send historians back in time so that they can observe and participate in events as they happen. But what if? Follow these parallel 21st century and 14th century stories to find out.
It is a page opus and perhaps does not move fast enough for everyone's taste, but it is well worth persevering. The characterisation is excellent. There is an interesting cast of characters in both the 21st century and the 14th. I had my heart in my mouth for them and I laughed, cheered and cried with them. Horror, sorrow and grief abound, but there is also much humour to balance it - of both the wry and the laugh-out-loud varieties. Egos of academics clash and back in the Middle Ages there is friction at home.
There are a few oddities. For example, at one stage in the 21st century section they all scramble to use the phone.
In this day and age where phones seem to be glued to people's hands, wrists or ears it seems oddly old-fashioned. Bye-bye any romantic ideas that one might harbour about the Middle Ages. I was struck by the following: I should have I liked that Kivrin dropped the phony identity and instead pretended loss of memory.
Also, that things weren't always as they seemed - for example, the kindly priest with the cutthroat appearance. View all 24 comments. Nov 19, StoryTellerShannon rated it it was amazing Shelves: Note that while they are sending people out that said society has their own plague epidemic taking place.
The strengths of this novel are its attention to Historical details, the engaging and believable characters suitable to an era and the dark but hopeful tones and themes of the story. Most readers will feel humbled about humanity's belief that it has everything figured out as the tale parallels massive amounts of people being wiped out during both eras.
Prevalent themes of love, bravery, faith and hope. B plus to A minus. View all 8 comments. Feb 08, Aerin rated it liked it Shelves: Original review date: The last two hundred pages are sublime, but I can't bring myself to raise the rating any higher than three stars. In the first four hundred pages, we meet Kivrin, a young history undergraduate at Oxford in the near future.
The development of time travel Original review date: The development of time travel has transformed history from an armchair science to a field of dangerous, exciting participant observation. However, no one has yet been sent back to study the Middle Ages, as they are considered much too hazardous. Kivrin is determined to be the first. Now, here's where the book starts to get obnoxious. As readers, we are asked to believe that a bunch of university professors would send an inexperienced undergraduate as the very first envoy to the Middle Ages, alone and ill-prepared, while they run none of the safety checks that are typical with more routine types of time-travel???!
There are so many reasons that this is ridiculously unbelievable -- or have negligence lawsuits and academic rigor been obliterated in the future?
In any case, Kivrin goes back in time. Only, a mistake has been made - she was supposed to go back to , well before the Black Death. Instead, she's accidentally been sent to , just as the plague is sweeping through England. Now, this is a pretty cool premise for a book. Only problem is, we don't even learn that this is the plot until page Until that point, we're treated to In the present, it should have been immediately apparent that an error had been made, BUT the tech who noticed the problem got deliriously ill before he could tell anyone.
It is so incredibly aggravating, I'm surprised I didn't end up tearing the book to shreds in my fury. Willis obviously believes that this is some kind of HILARIOUS comedy of errors, as the characters scramble to find out what's happening, but it's just obnoxious, and any one of the following would have cleared it up instantaneously: I can't get a hold of so-and-so!
Wherever could he be? His landline keeps ringing busy! Only he knows the answer to this major plot point! Let's let this hold up the story for at least 50 pages! One of the major "disasters" of this storyline is that the Evil Dean Of Evilness did I mention that the minor characters were all utterly one-dimensional?
So it's irrevocably lost and they'll never be able to find her!!! Seriously, in the future they can't save that information to a hard drive? Or even a floppy? If any one of them had had more than two brain cells to rub together, they would have realized what had happened to Kivrin immediately. Okay, so there's THAT storyline. This story is much better, and it's what kept me reading through all the boringness.
It is not without its own aggravations Kivrin too is something of a moron, missing all the GLARING signs that she's landed in the middle of a plague, plus, she ALSO immediately gets sick, making the first hundred or so pages of her adventure an exciting story of delirium and vomit. But things pick up once her health returns, and we get to know the residents of this small medieval town. These sections read like an interesting and well-written historical fiction story, and the characters are lovable especially five-year-old Agnes and interesting.
And then people start dying and stuff starts getting really interesting. The last pages flew by, and I enjoyed them immensely. So - two stars for the first two-thirds, four and half stars for the last third. I'd say that averages out to about three. Don't read this book unless you have much more patience than I do Mar 08, Fiona rated it really liked it Shelves: Following my abject failure with noir wizards, I'm retreating to an audiobook that seems to contain everything I like: Loads of plague.
I've been wondering how to approach this review for ages. Looking at what other people have written, it seems that the g Following my abject failure with noir wizards, I'm retreating to an audiobook that seems to contain everything I like: Looking at what other people have written, it seems that the general consensus is that it isn't a perfect book - but it does just fit into now very well.
I can agree with that. The strengths of Doomsday Book lie in the affection you end up having for the characters, and how close to them you end up feeling. It does a thing very well, that I suspect a lot of writing advice tells you not to do, but I wish more books did, and that thing is saving the action til later.
Let me qualify that a bit - Doomsday Book is a book of two halves; the first half involves a lot of people hanging around in places and waiting for conversations that they don't end up having. It took me three months to read the first half. And then in the second half everything seems to happen at once, and keeps on happening, unrelentingly and inexorably, and I finished it in about a week.
But I wouldn't have liked the second half so much, wouldn't have cared, or felt that gut-wrench of loss and regret, if it hadn't been for the first half. Where it felt like nothing was happening.
But it was happening, because it was three hundred pages of slow-build getting to know characters in their natural habitat. And I love that! I love it. My biggest, most common gripe about stories is that I don't get a chance to see what "normal" means for characters before it's summarily broken by Plot Happening.
So I don't think that the slowness of the first half was a weakness at all, even though I suspect some people do. I think it was a strength, and I am delighted that I got to hang out with a load of ladies in the fourteenth century, with some increasingly irate bellringers in somewhere that's less the near future than an adorably alt I thought it was charming.
I loved that it ended up having a purpose beyond that. People die in this book, and other people have to watch it happen, and I cared about all of them. I felt strongly for all of them, because I knew them, and I felt their fear. This is what I want stories about inevitable disaster to look like. Don't imagine I think it's faultless, however: To be honest, even I have limits to the number of times you can have "going to meet someone; they're not there, but it's a nice place anyway - look at the scenery!
But I still think this is the sort of thing that sci-fi should be used for: That matters. If you're an audiobook sort of person, by the way, I highly recommend this one - Jenny Sterlin is really great, especially for a whopper like this 26 hours 30 minutes!
Apparently she's done some of Laurie R. King's Mary Russell books too? I'll be looking out for those - I bet they're great. One other thing.These are repeatable phenomena, as are the reactions of the respective communities in the face of pandemic. Unconscious with fever just as Kivrin calls for him, he wakes and calls for help. I seemed on the road to recovering from a chronic nervous system disorder that causes constant pain; my wife and I seemed poised to renew and repair our relationship and get back to a loving marriage; and we seemed finally to be obtaining long-worked-for financial stability.
Dangerous illnesses converge across temporalities. It made a horrible, endless sound, like some nightmarish Great Tom, but nobody came. Ooooh, sexey!