by Matthew De Abaitua
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 01 Sep 2015 | Archive Date 22 Aug 2015
Angry Robot Books, Angry Robot
In IF, the people of a small English town cling on after everything fell apart under the protection of the Process, the computer system that runs every aspect of their lives. But sometimes people must be evicted from the town. That’s the job of James, the bailiff. While on patrol, James discovers the replica of a soldier from the First World War wandering the South Downs. This strange meeting begins a new cycle of evictions in the town, while out on the rolling downland, the Process is methodically growing the soldiers and building the weapons required to relive a long lost battle.
In THEN, it is August 1915, at the Battle of Suvla Bay in the Dardanelles campaign. Compared to the thousands of allied soldiers landing on this foreign beach, the men of the 32nd Field Ambulance are misfits and cranks of every stripe: a Quaker pacifist, a freethinking padre, a meteorologist, and the private (once a bailiff) known simply as James. Exposed to constant shellfire and haunted by ghostly snipers, the stretcher-bearers work day and night on the long carry of wounded men. One night they stumble across an ancient necropolis, disturbed by an exploding shell. What they discover within this ancient site will make them question the reality of the war and shake their understanding of what it means to be human…
de Abaitua has written a novel about employment, about daily labour, about the
dignity or otherwise of the working individual. If Then is a love story, the
history of a marriage, a topical meditation on the end of capitalism; best of
all, it is a bone-deep, blood-sweet British fantasy, naive and ingenious
as William Morris and as warpedly nostalgic as Richard Jeffries’ After London.”
Simon Ings, author of Wolves
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