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Another War

by Simon Morden

(Telos, £7.99, 131 pages, paperback, published 2005.)

Review by Gary Couzens

cover scanStrange things are happening in the English countryside. Henbury Hall, a house that mysteriously disappeared in 1919 has now reappeared. An Army patrol led by Major Thacker break into the house and find two men there, as young as they were on the day they had vanished all those years before. Had they been experimenting with a machine that could punch a hole in time and space... and allowing other things to come here?

Anh Nguyen's cover illustration is something you may not wish to be seen reading on public transport. It's also a little misleading, as Simon Morden's novella isn't horror, as this would imply, but really science fiction. It's something of a mishmash, drawing on Pertwee-era Doctor Who and Quatermass. Unfortunately it's not really strong enough to stand up on its own, given characterisation that doesn't really convince (the soldier characters especially) some leaden writing and over-convenient plotting (that alien device lying there you just know will save the day). There's plenty of action though: with aliens like ambulant jellyfish which explode in satisfying ways, and an ending where Thacker goes mano-a-mano with a hugely-augmented human being. Another War is certainly readable, but it falls short of being anything more than that.

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