Friday, May 27, 2011

Blackout, by Connie Wills

Blackout is the first volume of a two-volume set nominated for both the Hugo and Nebula awards.  It is followed by All Clear.  The story is from her time traveler environment, set in 2060 Oxford.  Historians have discovered time travel and use it to investigate the past, but they can't get close to the big stories--"laws of time travel" prevent them from changing big events, they think.  I am going to go ahead and review Blackout, though I've started on All Clear, just to stay in touch.

The book jacket promises some big-picture time travel ideas, but the story so far is pretty deeply enmeshed in day to day events.  There's a vast amount of words and space spent on conveying the utter confusion and scrambling involved in getting historians to the past.  One would think they wouldn't have to rush around so, after all it is time travel and they can appear when they want to.  But assignments change and instructions are given at the last minute, and the chaos persists into their past assigments.  Such is the setup for our three heroes' investigations into WWII.  They get shifted in time and stranded, continuing their frantic scramble into survival in war.  It's picking up and possibly I will like it better as events come together, but I dunno, the relentless urgency just doesn't seem to fit the depicted events so well.  We shall see.

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