If Then

If Then

by Matthew De Abaitua

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James has a scar in the back of his head. It’s where he was wounded in the Battle of Suvla Bay in August 1915. Or is the scar the mark of his implant that allows the Process to fill his mind with its own reality?

In IF, the people of a small English town cling on after an economic collapse under the protection of the Process. 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…

File UnderScience Fiction [ Trust the Process | A Debate With Bullets | Algorithms For War | Omega John ]

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780857664662
Publisher: Watkins Media
Publication date: 09/01/2015
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 759,934
Product dimensions: 6.80(w) x 4.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Matthew De Abaitua’s novel The Red Men was shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Award and adapted into a short film ‘Dr Easy’ by Shynola and produced by Film4/Warp Films. His science fiction novels IF THEN (Angry Robot, September 2015) and The Destructives (Angry Robot, 2016) complete the loose trilogy begun with The Red Men. His book Self & I: A Memoir of Literary Ambition (Eye Books, 2018) was widely reviewed in the national press, chosen as a Financial Times Summer Read and described by The Times Literary Supplement as "a compelling reminiscence". He teaches creative writing and science fiction at the University of Essex and lives in Hackney.


Author hometown: London, UK

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If Then 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
BrandieC More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars Matthew De Abaitua's If Then is a surrealistic blend of the dystopian government control of 1984, the alternate history of Harry Turtledove, and the computer algorithms of The Matrix, with a touch of horrific human experimentation àla The Island of Doctor Moreau for added flavor. As computer programmers will recognize, "if then" is a basic logic command, which in this case is taken to the extreme by something known as "the Process." The fun of this book comes from discovering what the Process is and why it is using residents of the English countryside to complete this statement: "If you recreate the 1915 Suvla Bay landing from World War I, then . . ." Characters appear, disappear, and reappear as the Process tries to reach its ultimate goal. In this respect, the structure of If Then reminded me of David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, but If Then is much more accessible. Its exploration of such themes as human self-determination and economic interdependency is engaging and thought-provoking, and it provides some lovely aphorisms along the way: "It is in his obsessions that mankind most closely resembles his machines." Those who prefer linear narratives may want to pass on If Then, but those willing to follow De Abaitua through the twisting of time and space will find much to savor. I received a free copy of If Then through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.