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July 25, 2017


Doomsday Book

by N@ncy

WILLIS cwillis-156

  • Author:   Connie Willis   (1945)
  • Title: Doomsday Book
  • Published: 1992
  • Trivia: Awarded 1992 Nebula Award
  • Trivia: 1993 Hugo Award for best SF novel.
  • #20BooksOfSummer



  1. The title of the book refers to the Domesday Book of 1086.
  2. Main character time-traveller Kivrin is transported 1320.
  3. She records her life  in the Middle Ages.
  4. Two narratives are alternated in 36 chapters:
  5. Oxford 2054
  6. Medieval history department ( Prof. Gilchrist and Dunworthy) bring Kivrin Engle, a young historian specializing in medieval history back  700 years in time. Shortly after Kivrin’s transport….Oxford unexpectedly is in the grip of an influenza epidemic.
  7. Oxford 1320 (1348) –
  8. In this narrative Kivrin discovers many inconsistencies in what she “knows” about the time: the Middle English she learned is different from the local dialect, her maps are useless, her clothing is too fine, and she is far too clean.
  9. Conflict –
  10. Kivrin is in a race against time. She must find and return to the exact location of her ‘drop into the Middle Ages’. On the agreed time….she will be brought back to 2054. If she misses this appointment….she will be lost in the Middle Ages forever.



  1. I choose this book after learning  that Connie Willis  has won
  2. eleven Hugo Awards and seven Nebula Awards for particular works.
  3. This is more major awards than any other writer.
  4. Unfortunately the book was a disappointment.
  5. The Middle Ages narrative  was boring.
  6. Strong point: While listening to the audio book some characters
  7. …emerge vividly.
  8. I cringed every time I heard Colin or Agnes whining.
  9. You’ll have to listen to the book to know what I mean.
  10. The narrative in Oxford 2054 was better….but not much.

Last thoughts:

  1. I join 5% of the readers who were
  2. not impressed by this award winning book
  3. ….Nebula 1992 and Hugo award 1993.
  4. What am I missing?
  5. Well, I’m not giving up on Connie Willis.
  6. Her book 1992 Doomsday was not very good and 200 pages too long.
  7. I hope her book written in 2010 Blackout
  8. ….will prove to me she is worth 11 Hugo Awards and 7 Nebula Awards.
  9. She must be doing something right!

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7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jul 26 2017

    I do want to read this book. My only concern is the length, since you had difficulties with it.


    • Jul 26 2017

      Tracy, I am at the point in my reading life…(from the 1950’s that tells you enough)…that I don’t want to waste a minute of my reading time. I bought a IPOD Touch and it is the best ‘reading’ investment I have made in a long time. I put the app from on the IPOD and have turned (with enthusiasm) to audio books. I use it to get through the ‘long books’ the books that just stare me in the face and say ‘you should read me!”. Doomsday was an easy read/listen…during my morning walk, household chores, biking to the store, doing the grocery run, doing the laundry and finally flopping into bed for a last 1 hr read/listen before lights out! I’ve even read 2 CRIME FICTION since Saturday! I love David Rosenfelt’s series about Andy Carpenter (investigative lawyer) and his golden retriever labrador dog Tara…..who helps him with the cases! My next SF writer will be James Tiptree jr. This is a pen name for one of the most important female SF authors. I hope she is just as good as Ursula Le Guin!


  2. Jul 26 2017

    I don’t read a lot of SF so well done you !!

    I wonder if audio is a hard word to world build? I need visual cues to really get into SF (ie words, pictures or even the movie first)!


    • Jul 26 2017

      I started reading SF after listening to a great course available on ‘How Great Science Fiction Works”. I would recommend this before starting SF books. 12 hours and 24 lectures that explains the rise of the genre, 1950’s the layered social issues concealed in the books (Farhenhiet 451 for example) cyberpunk SF 1980’s (trying to figure this out) and post humanist SF (…intriguing how people change their actions influenced by new concepts, for example mobile telephones have changed the way we communicate!). These lectures are the ‘cues’ I used… (suggestions to read women SF writers for instance)…that I cling to and shall surely re-listen! Thanks so much for all the RT”s I don’t tweet a thx….but know your RT’s are appreciated. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. #20BooksOfSummer | NancyElin
  2. Hug your dog start reading! | NancyElin
  3. Wrap-up #20BooksOfSummer 2017 | NancyElin

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