In the same vein, the book also makes a very interesting point about academia vs being in the field - theoretical knowledge like statistics on how many people have died from the plague vs actually living through an epidemic. It also nicely illustrated that modern people don't know suffering on such a scale. Theory-vs-reality was something that really irked me about Kivrin.
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She was just too naive. A bit can be explained away by her youth and inexperience but not that much. Well, she learned her lesson. So many times I actually screamed in frustration because nothing ever got done or "experts" were very slow to catch on to something and it felt like we were treading water despite only a week having passed within the story.
In either timeline. On the contrary, I felt a very dark satisfaction about a number of the people dying horribly like Lady Imeyne or those clergy men. However, what I very much appreciate is the amount of research the author must have done for this book and the details she added into the story to make it more realistic. Be it about the procedures in case of an epidemic nowadays or back in the 90s when this book was written, a few things have changed by now or the fact that a plague meant animals not getting fed, cows being in pain because there was nobody to milk them etc. It shows us a richly drawn up world and rewards readers with a fully fleshed-out world to step into.
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And this is what made reading the book interesting despite me not connecting to the people. I was there for the history, the research so to speak, and there were a lot of details to marvel at. View all 28 comments. Mar 09, Helene rated it did not like it.
Make sure this one is simply on hand in case you run out of toilet paper. If you think that's being crude, let me remind you a lack of toilet paper is one of her side plots she uses to move things along. This book won a Nebula and Hugo award. Oh swoon, right? OMG this must be awesome, right??? Well, no And I just don't know if I have it in me to fully express how bad this book was.
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Let me start by setting the scene: the only vaguely science-fictiony thing is attempting to take place, where some guy mans a console and a history student, in "authentic clothes" sits among already damaged items so that when she's sent back in time to a bit before the black plague, she'll appear to be a high born woman attacked on the road, deserted by her help with a nasty bonk to her noggin from her contrived robbers. In what can only be described as the "Crying Room" found in any church, soundproof with glass wall a bunch of hen pecking, annoying scientists all talk over each other and do a terrible Acting soliloquy in which they listen to no one and repeat themselves like some contemporary art performance that would only have been improved if they re-inacted Carole Schneemann's famous performance.
The scientists that were squabbling about nothing interesting and not actually talking to each other anyway go get a beer next door to wait for the "fix," when console-man shows up discombobulated to the pub, says "something went wrong I got the fix The console man got very sick Eh, why make it interesting, though? I'd like to say that's what happened, but it didn't, not really. I mean, it is, if you cut pages out of the book. My electronic version was pages In the first pages, all that happens is they send the girl back, the guy collapses without telling them what was off about the send.
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So far, nothing. What DID happen 46 times in those pages is they got him to say "something's wrong Actually, he continued to say this and not explain up through page out of , when he finally spat out more of that sentence.
And what of the girl that was sent back? Let's just say it takes you oh, about It took her half the page book to realize oooOOOOoooh Yes, she's sick and delirious Or that we're witnessing the Black Plague all around her. The girl is fitted with a recording device on her hands that activates when she presses her hands together like she's praying So she records "I hear a rat gnawing under my bed. What, where your cute little Tupperware tubs are filled with sweaters from last season?
Under her bed? Poor people had mattresses on the floor. What, are you going to tell me that she magically had a future bed in something? How is this a historical novel? I think the writer did her research for this book on a cereal box. Probably the person who sold the cereal box. Back to my point, while I get it that student girl is delirious, we're told over and over how she was to learn old English, French, german, latin, her cover story, etc Where is your training? Omg I hope she dies of the plague. She doesn't, by the way. She effing doesn't. It's unjust.
The author finds this amazing device to set a scene She'll take one character, and make them crawl into their own mind, spinning out of control, thinking "OMG what if something went wrong? What if the send didn't go well?
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What if there's a problem??? You don't respect me as a professor! Any mistake here is your fault! One paragraph, inner soliloquy. Next, berating jerk complaining without listening. If at any one point in times this occurred, the person being barked at said "HEY. Because that person that barked unanswered? They're going to keep repeating that sentence hundreds of pages in, just you wait. You ever read a word in a book, and it's such a unique word, that you totally notice when the author uses it again?
Maybe "discombobulate" like I used above! I don't know if it's a British thing, but he never "dials" a phone, he punches it. He punched numbers 31 times in the book. OOoh, and my personal favorite, Rummage. In the beginning of the book, one of the scientists waiting in the crying room has a "shopping bag," which is mentioned no less than 20 times in the first pages I never realized how describing something so irritating can be so irritating to read! It's like the only way the author builds tension into a scene.
She literally has someone talk at this character, then in response she rummages. But that's not all. This book, set in the future, spends much of it's time with busy signals. Yes, that's right, pull that memory out of the back of your mind, the most annoying sound in the world, brought back to life.
The book was written in , so, unfortunately the science fiction part wasn't her strong suit, apparently only masters like Gibson can get this one right The toilet paper and the grumpy guests. They are simply used as a device so that every time he calls this guy for info, these 2 problems will keep him from answering what he was supposed to answer, and then the call will end, with no one getting anywhere. If you think I'm exaggerating, the guests are brought up 45 times, the toilet paper 17 times. I had more fun using the search feature than reading this, by the way.
I feel some of the fight drifting out of me. My sister recommended this book, and I so wanted to like it so we could chat about it It aggravates me! From the beginning of the book, we know something went wrong about sending her back, but the guy who wants to tell you what happened gets sick By page , student girl finally figures out she must have been sent to the wrong time, and that's why her translator won't work.
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By the end of the book you realize none of it matters, and the "6th Sense" twist of this book is They both just randomly got sick. Yeah, spoiler. Nothing in the past came to the future or vice versa. It's just dumb luck, lots of people dead, a pedophilia type love hinted at, and no reason to have ever bothered writing this book. The "touching love story" or whatever people are calling it?
While people in future-present are dying off all around him, the professor is still totally focused on the student that got sent back. I think people think it's a love story that he's concerned about her welfare, despite everyone he know or loves being dead around him and that not seeming to sink in.
There's no defined love story View all 33 comments. Sep 10, Cori rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: everyone. From my blog: If you haven't read anything by Connie Willis, I highly suggest that you stop whatever you're doing and go out and get one of her books. Willis is sort of a giant in the science fiction world -- she's won Hugo and Nebula awards, among many others.