Monday, May 30, 2011

All Clear by Connie Willis

The second part of the series. This review will contain some spoilers, so beware!

I was hoping that this continuation would have better that the first part, but I had to be disappointed. The same faults were evident. A lot of space is spent on constant worrying and going from one place to another while accomplishing nothing. Also, the characters seem as stupid as earlier - they often withhold crucial information from each others for no good or sane reason. ”Oh, I can't tell that, they would worry”.

They are constantly forgetting that they are time travelers and what the sequence of events in future Oxford was doesn't really matter; for example they remember at last possible time that another historian visited the same time period years before in the “oxford time”. Doh.

There are some really stupid small subplots. Pages are spent on worrying one characters lost jacket. “Oh, you'll get a cold without it”. No wonder that the character who lost his jacket faked his own death later on, apparently to rid himself of those two whining women – at least no other good reason was stated.

The characters are constantly worrying that they'll change the world, but they are constantly making decisions which certainly would change the path of history without any concern at all.

There are anachronisms, apparently they are traveling on subway lines which built thirty years after the war (at least according to some British reviews). And I cringed every time they talked about V-1 and V-2 bombs. I really don't believe that they were called that during the war in Britain, especially why anyone would call V-1s V-ONEs before there even were any V-2 type of rockets?

And I am still wondering what is the point of time tourism? The characters were supposed to be historians, but they don't seem to have any kind of research plan whatsoever beyond “I'll go to see what the blitz looked like”.

The ending, especially the reason why the “drops” weren't working was extremely stupid and illogical. The time space continuum apparently has a conscious mind?

I find this even worse book that the first part, probably because I was expecting that the story would have gone in a better direction. This was the first Hugo nominee I have read this year, and this will certainly be below the “No award” on my ballot.

656 pp.


Raija said...

No voi sentäs, et löytänyt yhtään positiivista asiaa koko kirjasta?

Minä puolestaan pidin niin Blackoutista kuin All Clearista paljon. Mutta näinhän se tietysti on, että kirjailijat eivät voi miellyttää kaikkia lukijoita. Connie Willis ei selvästikään ole sinun heiniäsi :)

(toivottavasti ei haittaa että kommentoin suomeksi)

tpi said...

No enpä juuri. Ihan ok kirjoitettu, mutta melkein kaikki kyllä oli minun makuuni pielessä. Olen erittäin paljon samaa mieltä tämän arvion kanssa:
"This begs a question of Willis’s writing: If you can’t do characters, can’t do plot, can’t do subtext and struggle both with scientific ideas and historical ones, then what are you doing writing historical science fiction?" ( )

Ensimmäinen Willisin kirja jonka luin oli "To Say Nothing of the Dog", ja siitä ihan pidin. Siihen sopi tämä "lässyttävä" kirjoitustyyli, ja kuvittelin, että kirja oli tarkoituksella kirjoitettu tuohon tuollaiseen 1800-luvun brittityyliin. Karvas pettymys oli Doomsday book. Minua ärsyttää Willisin ääliö-juonen käyttö - juoni ei toimisi, jos kirjan henkilöt eivät olisi ääliöitä. Ainoita hyviä puolia tässä "Blackout/All Clear" parissa oli, että vietettiin armollisen vähän aikaa tulevaisuuden Oxfordissa. Tulevaisuuden kuvaushan Willisin kirjoissa on ihan karmaisevan kamalan huonosti kirjoitettu.