Friday, January 28, 2011

Writing on Reading: Blackout & All Clear

I just finished reading Connie Willis' 2010 science fiction novel in two parts Blackout, and All Clear. As Willis fans know, she is one of the most award-winning SF authors of all time, having won at least ten Hugo Awards and six Nebula Awards. In Blackout/All Clear she returns to her future Oxford University time-traveling world, also featured in Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog. I've said before it's a brilliant idea to create a world and utilize it more than once.

Last time Betsy Dornbusch blogged about themes; in Blackout/All Clear Willis does address her ubiquitous theme of coming to terms with death/loss/grief.

Blackout/All Clear features more of Willis' unique voice, which I enjoy very much. Willis has a gift for making readers care about her characters; she does this by showing her characters care about others. This book has a strong message which is badly needed in today's culture. Additionally, there are some lovely plot twists/reveals at the end of the novel. Nonetheless, in my opinion, at 1132 (!) pages this novel would have been better if it had been shorter. The multiple time-lines and multiple protagonists with multiple names can also get a bit confusing.

Knowing Ms. Willis, Blackout/All Clear will probably be nominated for several awards. Good luck to her. :) I look forward to her next work.

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