Four time-traveling history students from Oxford are in 1940s England studying different aspects of World War II. But when their means of getting home is destroyed in an air-raid, the four find themselves facing a future as dark and uncertain as the English in 1940: alone, cut off from help and time running out .
In her first novel since 2002, Nebula and Hugo award-winning author Connie Willis returns with a stunning, enormously entertaining novel of time travel, war, and the deeds - great and small - of ordinary people that shape history and, alarmingly perhaps, the future.
The year is 2060, the fourth decade since the invention of time travel by a scientist who would not have been born had Hitler won World War II. At Oxford University, historians jockey for plum assignments, to carry out first-person research in the era of their specialty, from the Crusades to the Plague or the aftermath of the devastating nuclear attack on London.
In the face of increasing scientific criticism of time travel - and the possibility that it could shatter the space-time continuum - three academics are in the heart of World War II in England. Merope is a maid in a country house studying evacuated children in England in 1940. Mike is researching a common thread of heroism across history and is on his way to Dunkirk. Polly lives as a shopgirl during the Blitz, watching the behaviour of ordinary citizens under stress.
For all three, unknown corners of history explode as Hitler's bombs rain down on London. But when they try to return they find themselves unable to make their way back to the future. Have they broken the law of time travel and changed the narrative of history in some accidental way? A dreadful awareness comes over them all: far from witnessing the past, they may be on a journey into the utterly unknown. And the world they left in 2060 may no longer be there to save them.
Connie Willis is a prodigiously gifted storyteller who manages to blend fantasy, science fiction, history and romance into her award-winning novels and short stories. She has won seven Nebula and eleven Hugo Awards (more than any other writer in the genre) and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for her first novel, Lincoln's Dreams. Doomsday Book, All Clear and Blackout have won both the Nebula and Hugo Awards for best novel. Her first short-story collection, Fire Watch, was a New York Times Notable Book. Connie is married to physicist Courtney Willis, and has one daughter, Cordelia. They live in Greeley, Colorado.
Winner, Hugo Awards Best Novel, 2011
Winner, Nebula Awards Best Novel, 2010
Allen & Unwin
Allen & Unwin
Paperback - C format