Connie Willis is one of the few authors capable of humor, humanity, and what must be an ungodly amount of research, and she brings all these skills together in the masterful Doomsday Book.
In near-future Oxford, where time travel for purposes of historical research is relatively common, an eager young historian travels to medieval times. Unfortunately, things immediately go very wrong for her. Then a devastating pandemic hits the present day, and no one is able to help her, or even know she’s in trouble.
Recommendation: Read it. The characters range from deeply human to hilariously Dickensian, and the descriptions of the horrors of daily life in medieval times are some of the best I’ve ever read. Oh, and it’s a great story that won both the Hugo and Nebula awards.
2 thoughts on “Review: Doomsday Book by Connie Willis”
This one just didn’t work for me and I am struggling to see how it could be a multi award winner. I found the plotting slow and indulgent and the over-reliance on the characters in the modern period not having mobile phones (!) completely unrealistic and forced. The only area of strength for me, was – as you found – the depiction of medieval England.
The book was published in 1993. Regular folk didn’t have mobiles!