The Doomsday Book

There are many science fiction genres: space opera, steampunk, cyberpunk, etc…  The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis belongs in the near-future and time travel genres I suppose.  The main theme of the book is time travel back to the 1300s  to record life during  the Middle Ages.  The heroine calls her record The Doomsday Book.

The Doomsday Book published in 1992 won both the highly prestigious Nebula, Hugo, and Locus awards.

This is the first Connie Willis book I have read and on a scale of 1-5 stars  I would give this book 4 stars.  

The book is set in Oxford England where the hero (Kirvin) is a female student. This alone makes the book unusual. There are not many heroines in science fiction novels. The setting is at the University in a near future (2054) where time travel is possible. A few pages into the book Kirvin travels back to the Middle Ages. Meanwhile life goes on in the near-future with Kirvin’s Professor James Dunworthy as the main protagonist. The book flips back and forth between Kirvin in the Middle Ages and near future Oxford.  

Life both in the Middle Ages for Kirvin and the near future Oxford for Professor Dunworthy is chocked full of trials and tribulations.  They battle tremendous problems in their respective times as the narrative switched back and forth.   

Wikipedia contains a good summary of the book but I don’t recommend reading it if you plan to read the book. It will spoil the surprises.


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