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Fire Watch

Oxford Time Travel: Book 1

Connie Willis

Hugo and Nebula Award winning novelette in Wills' Oxford time travelling historians series. It originally appeared in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, February 15, 1982. It has been reprinted many times. The story can be found in the anthologies:

It is included in the collections:

Read the full story for free at Infinity Plus.

Doomsday Book

Oxford Time Travel: Book 2

Connie Willis

For Kivrin, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity's history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the fourteenth century and inventing an alibi for a woman traveling alone. For her instructors in the twenty-first century, it meant painstaking calculations and careful monitoring of the rendezvous location where Kivrin would be received.

But a crisis strangely linking past and future strands Kivrin in a bygone age as her fellows try desperately to rescue her. In a time of superstition and fear, Kivrin -- barely of age herself -- finds she has become an unlikely angel of hope during one of history's darkest hours.

Five years in the writing by one of science fiction's most honored authors, Doomsday Book is a storytelling triumph. Connie Willis draws upon her understanding of the universalities of human nature to explore the ageless issues of evil, suffering and the indomitable will of the human spirit.

To Say Nothing of the Dog

Oxford Time Travel: Book 3

Connie Willis

In her first full-length novel since her critically acclaimed Doomsday Book Connie Willis, winner of multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards, once again visits the unpredictable world of time travel. But this time the result is a joyous journey into a past and future of comic mishaps and historical cross-purposes, in which the power of human love can still make all the difference.

On the surface, England in the summer of 1888 is possibly the most restful time in history--lazy afternoons boating on the Thames, tea parties, croquet on the lawn--and time traveler Ned Henry is badly in need of a rest. He's been shuttling back and forth between the 21st century and the 1940s looking for a Victorian atrocity called the bishop's birdstump. It's only the latest in a long string of assignments from Lady Schrapnell, the rich dowager who has invaded Oxford University. She's promised to endow the university's time-travel research project in return for their help in rebuilding the famed Coventry Cathedral, destroyed in a Nazi air raid over a hundred years before.

But the bargain has turned into a nightmare. Lady Schrapnell's motto is "God is in the details," and as the l25th anniversary of the cathedral's destruction--and the deadline for its proposed completion--approaches, time-travel research has fallen by the wayside. Now Ned and his colleagues are frantically engaged in installing organ pipes, researching misericords, and generally risking life and limb. So when Ned gets the chance to escape to the Victorian era, he jumps at it. Unfortunately, he isn't really being sent there to recover from his time-lag symptoms, but to correct an incongruity a fellow historian, Verity Kindle, has inadvertently created by bringing something forward from the past.

In theory, such an act is impossible. But now it has happened, and it's up to Ned and Verity to correct the incongruity before it alters history or, worse, destroys the space-time continuum. And they have to do it while coping with eccentric Oxford dons, table-rapping spiritualists, a very spoiled young lady, and an even more spoiled cat. As Ned and Verity try frantically to hold things together and find out why the incongruity happened, the breach widens, time travel goes amok, and everything starts to fall apart--until the fate of the entire space-time continuum hangs on a sÚance, a butler, a bulldog, the battle of Waterloo, and, above all, on the bishop's birdstump.

At once a mystery novel, a time-travel adventure, and a Shakespearean comedy, To Say Nothing of the Dog is a witty and imaginative tale of misconceptions, misunderstandings, and a chaotic world in which the shortest distance between two points is never a straight line, and the secret to the universe truly lies "in the details."

Blackout

Oxford Time Travel: Book 4

Connie Willis

Oxford in 2060 is a chaotic place, with scores of time-traveling historians being sent into the past. Michael Davies is prepping to go to Pearl Harbor. Merope Ward is coping with a bunch of bratty 1940 evacuees and trying to talk her thesis adviser into letting her go to VE-Day. Polly Churchill’s next assignment will be as a shopgirl in the middle of London’s Blitz.

But now the time-travel lab is suddenly canceling assignments and switching around everyone’s schedules. And when Michael, Merope, and Polly finally get to World War II, things just get worse. For there they face air raids, blackouts, and dive-bombing Stukas-to say nothing of a growing feeling that not only their assignments but the war and history itself are spiraling out of control. Because suddenly the once-reliable mechanisms of time travel are showing significant glitches, and our heroes are beginning to question their most firmly held belief: that no historian can possibly change the past.

Note: Blackout and All Clear are regarded as being a single large book split into two volumes for award purposes. We have assigned the award nominations to Blackout, the first of the two volumes, so that we list the same number of awards as Connie Willis has statues on her mantle.

All Clear

Oxford Time Travel: Book 5

Connie Willis

In Blackout, award-winning author Connie Willis returned to the time-traveling future of 2060-the setting for several of her most celebrated works-and sent three Oxford historians to World War II England: Michael Davies, intent on observing heroism during the Miracle of Dunkirk; Merope Ward, studying children evacuated from London; and Polly Churchill, posing as a shopgirl in the middle of the Blitz. But when the three become unexpectedly trapped in 1940, they struggle not only to find their way home but to survive as Hitler’s bombers attempt to pummel London into submission.

Now the situation has grown even more dire. Small discrepancies in the historical record seem to indicate that one or all of them have somehow affected the past, changing the outcome of the war. The belief that the past can be observed but never altered has always been a core belief of time-travel theory-but suddenly it seems that the theory is horribly, tragically wrong.

Meanwhile, in 2060 Oxford, the historians’ supervisor, Mr. Dunworthy, and seventeen-year-old Colin Templer, who nurses a powerful crush on Polly, are engaged in a frantic and seemingly impossible struggle of their own-to find three missing needles in the haystack of history.

Told with compassion, humor, and an artistry both uplifting and devastating, All Clear is more than just the triumphant culmination of the adventure that began with Blackout. It’s Connie Willis’s most humane, heartfelt novel yet-a clear-eyed celebration of faith, love, and the quiet, ordinary acts of heroism and sacrifice too often overlooked by history.

Note: Blackout and All Clear are regarded as being a single large book split into two volumes for award purposes. We have assigned the award nominations to Blackout, the first of the two volumes, so that we list the same number of awards as Connie Willis has statues on her mantle.