Rare First Edition Signed - 1992
This rare true first edition, first printing had an extremely small print run, believed to be between 800-2,000 copies. This is a superb, pristine collector’s copy. Nominated for the 1993 Arthur C. Clarke Award. Winner of the 1992 Nebula Award, the 1993 Hugo Award, and the 1993 Locus Award. Nominated for the 1993 Arthur C. Clarke Award and the 1992 BSFA Award.
This book is in beautiful, As New, unread condition, with a clear, sharp, unfaded dust jacket protected in Mylar sleeve. It was inscribed and signed on the Title Page in person to its current owner, in Seattle, Washington, January 1998.
In her first novel, Lincoln’s Dreams, Connie Willis tackled the incomprehensible tragedy that was the U.S. Civil War. Next, in the award-winning Doomsday Book, she brought the long-ago horror of the Black Death to life for a present-day audience. No simple disaster story, this book gives readers time to fall in love with its many heroes and even to sympathize with its villains. When disease begins its sweep through the novel’s cast, the effect is devastating and strangely intimate.
A meticulous researcher who always imbues her time-travel pieces with a rich level of historical detail, Willis obscures the precise nature of what is happening to her characters in the early sections of the book. They are left to chase a trail of crumb-sized clues to the truth. As answers emerge, the particular brilliance of Doomsday Book—its parallel storylines—becomes obvious. Even as Kivrin realizes she is in the midst of the plague, the influenza outbreak at home is killing people at the university. Both epidemics play out in detail, showing how far medical technology has developed in the centuries between 1348 and the present…and how little human nature has changed over the same period. The helplessness of the medieval villagers against the plague is contrasted with a frantic modern effort to fight the influenza. The results are humbling.
Mankind’s physical vulnerability in the face of infectious disease is hardly the only theme of this novel, whose true subject matter is the human capacity for love, courage and faith. Kivrin cannot save the plague victims from death, but-of course-defeating death was never a likely outcome. Time and again, Willis reminds readers that nobody escapes death, that every century (whatever its time-travel rating) has a 100 percent death rate for its contemporaries. What Kivrin does save the medieval villagers from is arguably more important: indignity, fear and despair. And when she is in her turn rescued, the experience is unforgettably moving.
CONNIE WILLIS (1945) is one of the most honored American science fiction writers today, notably for her works of the 1980s and 1990s. She has won, among other awards, nine Hugo Awards and six Nebula Awards. Willis most recently won a Hugo Award for Inside Job (August 2006).
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