All ClearBook - 2010
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.
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You don't want to have anything to do with me, Polly wanted to scream at them. The continuum's going to vainly keep on trying to correct itself, and next time it will get me and all of you.
No one person or thing won the war. People argue over whether it was Ultra or the evacuation from Dunkirk or Churchill's leadership or fooling Hitler into thinking we were invading at Calais that won the war, but it wasn't any one of them. It was all of them and a thousand, a million, other things and people. And not just soldiers and pilots and Wrens, but air-raid wardens and planespotters and debutantes and mathematicians and weekend sailors and vicars. . . . Canteen workers and ambulance drivers and ENSA chorus girls. And historians.
And then the good fairy said, 'The spell is already cast, and I cannot undo it, but I will do what I can.'
I wasn't looking where I was going - an apt metaphor for the entire history of time travel.
We do not rely on hope alone, though hope is our bulwark, our light through dark days and darker nights. We also work, and fight, and endure, and it does not matter whether the part we play is large or small. The reason that God marks the fall of the sparrow is that he knows that it is as important to the world as the bulldog or the wolf. We all, all must do 'our bit.' For it is through our deeds that the war will be won, through our kindness and devotion and courage that we make that better world for which we long.
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