Recommended by my daughter Meg, consummate speed-reader of vast interests, genres, and forms, Doomsday Book ticked many of my boxes for a satisfying summer read during the Pandemic of 2020: sci-fi, time travel, current-day epidemics, the Middle Ages, the Black Death, English history, Oxford University, college politics, Christmastime, and, of course, some level of escapism.
How did Connie Willis, writing in 1992, foresee such interesting details, as she set her story in England in 2054? Phones with screens, a past world pandemic (set in in the late 20th century, not in 2020), protesters advocating for England to exit a European union. Of course, she also imagined highly evolved time travel and the ability to sequence a treatment for a variant of the flu in the matter of days (once the hurdles of perennial bureaucracy can be bypassed): will we actually have either of those by “real” 2054?
This was a compulsive, rewarding read . . . and I’m delighted to discover that it’s Book 1 in a series. There’s more Pandemic ahead of us . . .
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