Author: Willis, Connie

Title: Blackout

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: 2010

Number of Pages: 491

Geographical Setting: Oxford, UK 2060 and Multiple Locations, UK 1940’s

Time Period: 2060 and 1940’s during WWII

Series (If applicable): Book 1 of 2

Plot Summary:  Set in the year 2060, Blackout is the story of a time-travel lab at Oxford University who is sending 3 historians, Michael, Polly and Merope, on assignment to study different events during WWII.  Prior to their departures, assignments are being cancelled and changed and it seems like the situation in the lab is a little chaotic.  Once they reach 1940 they all experience different aspects of the war, from the blackouts to the bombings during the London Blitz,  and from the evacuation at Dunkirk
to the evacuation of London children to the countryside.  Things seem strange from the start, but the reality of the situation really sets in when
their assignments are supposed to end or are overdue, and they cannot seem to get back to 2060 and no one from the lab seems to be coming to rescue
them.  Will the historians be permanently stuck in the past? We have to wait to find out because this is the 1st of 2 books in this series.

Subject Headings: Time Travel; World War II; Historians; England; Oxford; Speculative Future; Hugo Award Winners

Appeal: Fast-paced, suspenseful, witty, bleak, stylistically complex, multiple story lines, richly detailed, intricately plotted, compelling,  historically detailed, character-centered, emotionally charged

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: compelling, richly
detailed, stylistically complex

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

1) The Longest Night: the Bombing of London on May 10, 1941 by Gavin Mortimer – Several of the historians in Blackout visited London
during the Blitz. This work is a compilation of eyewitness accounts of the London Blitz, which began on Sept. 7, 1940 and continued through 1941, leavingLondon in ruins.  (WWII, Bleak, richly detailed)

2) The Zookeeper’s Wife: a War Story by Diane Ackerman – This is the true story of a zookeeper’s wife in Warsaw Poland who sheltered 300 Jews and
non-Jews alike during WWII.  Although not set in Britain, it shows the lives of normal citizens during the war and that is what the historians in Blackout were studying. (Compelling, Stylistically complex, WWII)

3) A Girls War: a Childhood Lost in Britain’s WWII Evacuation by Doreen Drewry-Lehr – One of the time-traveling historians in Blackout is sent back to WWII England to study the children who were evacuated from London to the country to avoid the bombing.  This non-fiction work recounts, in her own words, the experience of one of the children who was evacuated. The author is the little girl.  (WWII, Britain, Thought-provoking)

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

1) Timeline by Michael Crichton – Similar to Blackout, this book recounts the tale of a time-traveling Yale history professor whose present
is sometime in our future and who travels back to the 15th century.  Unfortunately he gets stuck in the past and must enlist the help of his students to rescue him.  (Fast-paced, suspenseful, richly detailed)

2) In the Garden of Iden: a Novel of the Company by Kage Baker – Also similar to Blackout, this book follows a botanist from the 24th century back to the 16th century.  Her mission is to prevent the extinction of a very important plant that could be used in her time to cure cancer. (Fast-paced, witty, richly detailed)

3) The Night Watch by Sarah Waters – Although this book is not science fiction like Blackout, it is a historical fiction story which features characters caught in London’s Blitz during WWII.  (Compelling, descriptive, WWII, intricately plotted)

Name: Michelle Worthington


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