Review of 'All Clear'

All Clear by Connie Willis

all_clear.jpg Continuing from where “Blackout” left off, “All Clear” finds the future historians still trapped in the second World War trying to get home. In 1941 Polly continues to work at the department store on Oxford Street in London joined now by Mike and Merope. All of their drops are not working so when Mr Dunworthy makes a surprise appearance their hopes are raised though the terror of the Hodbin children seems destined to interfere at every turn.

This is not a significant abbreviation of the story, to be honest. I found “All Clear” tedious in the extreme with the story of the main characters progressing at a snail's pace and often seems to repeat itself (looking for the recovery teams, trying to get to the drop, the Hodbins causing problems, the visit to yet another tube station, etc) though the detail of war-time Britain expressed throughout is exemplary - Willis has certainly done her homework. I certainly found out more about this subject than I ever knew before and this world is brought to vivid life here. Having said that, this too becomes tedious with the details soon lost after 100 or so pages…I did stick with it though and in the end it paid off with a satisfactory resolution to the various threads.

Unfortunately, Connie, I love your work dearly, but this is not your best. Where is the action of The Doomsday Book balanced equally with historical detail that made it so good? Please, more of that please!

Rating: “Not great, but not the worse”

Review Date: 2014-08-26

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Gollancz

Publication Date: 2011

Other reviewed books by Connie Willis: