Blackout by Connie Willis

Every single action you take changes the outcome of the future.  Not a big deal in your everyday life, but what it your actions could change the outcome of World War II?  That question is the premise behind Connie Willis’ Nebula Award winning novel, Blackout.  Willis sets the book near future of 2060; a world were time travel exists, and historian travel back in time to be first hand witnesses to historical events.

Blackout follows three historians that have traveled back to London in the early 1940s during the Blitz of World War II.  Merope Ward, Polly Churchill, and Michael Davies have traveled to the past as Eileen O’Reilly, Polly Sebastian, and Mike Davis to cover the events of the time.  Eileen is working as a maid studying London’s evacuated children; Polly finds work as a shop girl on London’s Oxford St; and Mike is posing as a reporter covering the retreat from Dunkirk.  Historians are not suppose to be able to alter events in the past, yet all three historians find themselves acting in situations that may have disastrous effects in the future.  When the three discover that their way back to the future doesn’t work, they struggle to find each other and a way back home.

For any fan of historical fiction or sci-fi, Willis is bound to please.  I loved the idea of historians traveling back in time.  Just think about where you would go and what might be the consequences.  Willis’ research into World War II England is extensive and very impressive.  Having visited London recently, it was amazing, almost shocking, to read about the destruction that occurred not to long ago. This book can appeal to sci-fi fans, historical fiction fans, and anyone looking for an exciting, fast-paced, and yet very touching and sincere story.

One downside is that Willis separated the story into two books.  Once you finish Blackout you better have the next book, All Clear, on your bedside table because you won’t be able to wait to know the end of the story.

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