Doomsday Book

Doomsday Book is a science fiction novel written by Connie Willis and published in 1992. It is a gripping tale that combines elements of time travel, history, and human drama. The story takes place in both the 14th century and the 21st century, showcasing the author’s ability to intricately weave two distinct timelines together.

Plot Summary

The book follows the journey of Kivrin Engle, a young historian from Oxford University in the year 2054. Kivrin travels back in time to the year 1320, determined to study the Middle Ages firsthand and debunk historical misconceptions. However, an unforeseen glitch in the time travel process sends her to the year 1348 instead. This time period is plagued by the Black Death, one of the most devastating pandemics in human history.

As Kivrin tries to navigate the dangerous medieval world and survive the deadly outbreak, the narrative switches back and forth between her experiences in the past and the frantic efforts of her colleagues in the future to rescue her. The contrast between the two timelines creates tension and suspense throughout the novel.

Awards and Reception

Doomsday Book received critical acclaim and numerous awards, solidifying Connie Willis’s position as one of the most talented science fiction authors of her generation. The novel won both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1993. It also received the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in the same year.

The book’s rich historical detail and meticulous research were praised by readers and critics alike. Connie Willis’s ability to transport readers to both the past and the future with vivid descriptions and believable characters garnered accolades. Doomsday Book was regarded as a masterful blend of science fiction and historical fiction.

Memorable Characters

1. Kivrin Engle: The protagonist and main character of the story. She is a determined historian who finds herself stranded in the dangerous 14th century.

2. Lady Imeyne: A noblewoman Kivrin encounters in the past. Lady Imeyne becomes a key figure in Kivrin’s journey, offering both support and conflict.

3. Dunworthy: Kivrin’s mentor and supervisor in the future. He tirelessly works to rescue her and faces numerous challenges along the way.

4. Colin Templer: A young technician at Oxford University who becomes instrumental in helping Dunworthy save Kivrin.


The novel Doomsday Book captivates readers with its masterful storytelling and meticulous attention to detail. Connie Willis skillfully explores themes of history, mortality, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity. With its well-deserved awards and ongoing popularity, Doomsday Book remains a must-read for those who appreciate a captivating blend of science fiction and historical fiction.

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