the Little Red Reviewer

I blame Christopher Nolan and Hans Zimmer

Posted on: June 10, 2019


I’m about half way through Blackout by Connie Willis.


Someone told me that To Say Nothing of the Dog is the sequel to The Doomsday Book?  I disagree!! Who is the first person I meet in Blackout? Colin! And who is he looking for? Mr. Dunworthy! And who does Colin run into as he’s running around Oxford? Badri! And who knows to not let Colin anywhere near the net? EVERYONE.  Blackout is the sequel to Doomsday Book says I, as all my fave people are in the first chapter! Don’t at me!


Anyway,  I love time travel stories that go a little like this: Let’s go back in time! What could possibly go wrong?  In fact, let’s go back to the London Blitz, and then go to Dunkirk!


Um, everything could wrong? Didn’t Dunworthy already learn that the hard way?


I’m about half way through and Blackout is a damn Lobster.


It’s super intense, and scary AF, and I can’t put it down, it freaks me out to read it, it freaks me out to not be reading it and not know what is going to happen, i want to poke it I’m afraid to poke it.  I call books like that Lobsters.


I was so into this book, and being so affected by it,  that when my husband asked me something super basic about dinner, it took me a good 60 seconds to realize that I wasn’t in 1940 London and that I was perfectly safe.


What books have been lobsters for you?


(this post has minor spoilers for Blackout by Connie Willis)


What’s doubly scary is that all our time travellers – Polly, Mike, Eileen, and Mary, they KNOW exactly what happened in England during World War II.  Our time travelers are in fact, historians studying at Oxford in the year 2060.


And while the time travellers are on assignment observing people,  if they need to learn something (like how to drive), they can pop through the net back to the future, learn whatever they need to learn, and then pop back right moments after they left. Time travel is neat!


But they people they are with, they have no idea where and when the bombs will fall, they have no idea how much war is yet to come.

Polly’s co-workers don’t know which department stores are going to be bombed. She does, and even more, she knows which streets to avoid on which days. She knows, and she can’t say anything. Her only escape are moments spent with a Shakespearean actor.


Mary knows exactly when the sirens will go off, she knows exactly where the bombs will fall. Her new friends don’t. She obsessively stares at her watch, and wonders why people keep asking her if she knew someone at Oxford.


Eileen is lucky that she’s out in the country, taking care of evacuated children who are being hosted at a country estate. Now, if only she could sneak off for a few hours and hop back through the net.  The country is safe from the bombs, but it isn’t safe from everything.


And then there is Mike. He wasn’t supposed to end up at Dunkirk (remember, what could possibly go wrong?). He wasn’t supposed to be on a leaky boat.  Since he wasn’t ever supposed to be at Dunkirk, he never memorized the list of private boats that went down, he has no idea if the leaky boat he is on is about to get shot right through.  But the propeller is jammed, and it’s either him or the captain’s 14 year old grandson who needs to get under there and see what’s jamming up the propeller.


Connie Willis is a helluva writer.


It’s the Dunkirk scenes that are hardest for me. I lay blame 100% on Chrisopher Nolan and the visceral, heart hammering, water-doesn’t-care-if-you-die music of Hans Zimmer.  Protip – if you get the soundtrack to Dunkirk, it’s not a good idea to fall asleep while you are listening to it. The sound will get inside you while you’re sleeping, and suddenly every room you are in is a locked metal room that is sinking. Oh, just me?


Anyway,  Willis had no idea that while Mike was in the icy waters of the channel, dislodging a dead body from the little boat’s propeller,  that I’d be sitting on my sofa, freaking the fuck out, unsure if i could continue reading.


I blame my freakout on Christopher Nolan and Hans Zimmer.


umm. . . of course I’m going to fucking keep reading!


(also, if you haven’t seen the Dunkirk movie, you really should.)


1 Response to "I blame Christopher Nolan and Hans Zimmer"

Oh yeah! This book is a lobster for sure. Also one of my all-time, absolute favourites (along with All Clear). Connie Willis is some kind of genius. 😀

Liked by 1 person

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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