Doomsday Book Audio CD – 9 June 2000
|New from||Used from|
Enhance your purchase
- Publisher : Recorded Books, LLC; Unabridged edition (9 June 2000)
- Language : English
- Audio CD : 1 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1664497781
- ISBN-13 : 978-1664497788
- Customer Reviews:
About the Author
Connie Willis has won six Nebula and nine Hugo Awardsmore than any other science fiction writerand the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for her first novel, Lincolns Dreams. Her novel Doomsday Book won both the Nebula and Hugo Awards, and her first short-story collection, Fire Watch, was a New York Times Notable Book.
Review this product
Top reviews from Australia
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Top reviews from other countries
Then all of sudden it's about someone's great-nephew's train journey, and a group of bell ringers from America. The same conversations about running out of eggs and bacon are had so many times and huge chunks of the book are taken up with people missing each other on the phone. Considering this is advertised as a book about The Black Death, the plague doesn't even show up until about 400 pages in. The sections on the plague may well have been good, but by the time I'd waded through all the previous bloated chapters I had very little interest in continuing. I started skimming the last third of the book.
There was some interesting stuff about life in the 1300's, such as how a time traveller might want to have their sense of small dampened while there, but even the sections set in 1348 dragged on. I think the main character Kivrin is supposed to be a fearless and independent woman but she comes across as moany and helpless.
A massive letdown of a book...I have no idea why it's in the "Sci-Fi Masterworks" set.
At the same time as Kivrin is battling with the Plague in the14th Century, her colleagues have their own outbreak of a new flu virus to contend with. This puts Oxford into quarantine and lays low the technicians who might be able to rescue her from almost certain death.
The book shows a great deal of promise, but fails to deliver. The 14th century is well-described and the reader feels real empathy for the characters that Kivrin meets there. However, with the exception of time-travel and the ability to vaccinate against almost all diseases, Oxford in the 2050s appears more like Oxford in the 1950s than nowadays or even 1992 when the book was written. The author is an American and I have to wonder whether she has ever been to Oxford. Her depiction of it feels as if it might have been based on Brideshead Revisited or some similar works of fiction. It is very much a caricature and the language in particular is extremely dated – lots of references to “mufflers” and “trunk calls”. There seems to be some attempt at comedy in descriptions of a group of American bell-ringers, incensed that their trip to Ely is prevented by the quarantine and in the appearance of a youth who seems able to seduce every woman with who he comes into contact and his mother who endlessly reads from the Old Testament and accuses everyone of neglecting her son’s health. All these efforts at humour fall flat.
I found it hard to care about any of the 21st century protagonists, who all seemed to be mere caricatures. Those from the 14th century were much more convincing and rounded characters. The book was slow-moving at times (particularly in the 21st century) and could have benefitted from being edited down to a more manageable length. I’m tempted to say that the entire 2054 narrative could have been dispensed with, without any loss.
I read this book during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. There are lots of parallels between the situation now and the two different epidemics described in the book. It was interesting to see which things the author predicted correctly and where she was well off the mark. A striking example is the obsession with obtaining supplies of toilet paper, the accuracy of which contrasts markedly with the complete absence of any mobile phones in 2054.
An interesting book, which I’m glad I read, but not one that I’ll be coming back to time and again.
The writer also did not think through the whole time travel principle... Do yourself a favour. Don't waste your time
However, it is a huge eye-opener if you want to know how much our world has changed in just the last three decades.
Connie wrote the book in 1992 ... throwing ahead to what must have seemed to her an impossibly long way into the future - the year of 2054.
Actually, in the 90's the world was on the cusp of the Internet Age and about to change beyond recognition, certainly beyond Connie's recognition.
She went to Press with absolutely no idea of what was coming down the track. Her future has no Internet and no mobile devices of any nature. As opposed to a world of Smart televisions and fridges, Connie's characters live in an exclusively dumb world.
There's lots of waiting around for 'trunk calls' and angry people 'slamming down the 'phone.' The video is still king, with people called 'vidders' and 'vids' all over the shop.
When somone is needed urgently to look at something, they must travel from wherever they are to view it in person. And, of course, finding them in Connie's future of 2054 is a complete mare, because obviously they don't have mobiles.
Actually, you know what, it was a little annoying. You try not to blame Connie for failing to even think about what the future might hold. But when the whole basis of the book concerns Time, well she really should had a stab at it.
After all, the Internet had been around since the 1960's, even if only among the military. By 1995 the last restrictions on the free movement of commercial traffic on the Internet had been removed. That's three years after Connie had finished writing her book, but you get the idea.
She might have got some of the future wrong, but really? Slamming down phones in 2054, I don't think so Connie.
Still, it's not all bad. You'll be delighted to know that in Connie's future, there're still tobacconists on the High Street and Debenhams is going strong - well without the Internet, I guess there's no threat to it.
As for the Black Death, well Connie had that one right - it was terrible. However, I agree with another reviewer here, why on earth did it take Kivrin, a fairly curious child we're assured, why did it take her so long to ask what year it was. Odd.
Maybe like Connie, she only only had a vague grasp of time and the change it brings about.