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British Summertime

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  106 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Alison Parmeter can read anything—body language, expressions, the shape of a city. Squadron Leader Leyton is a pilot from a utopian future. He’s dropped back in time, but it’s startlingly different from anything he learned in history lessons. Jocelyn, his navigator, is a head without a body, captive in a world she can’t trust. This group must map out a quest for Alison's b ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 1st 2004 by Gollancz
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Tim Hicks
May 30, 2015 Tim Hicks rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Wonderful setup, disappointing rollout.

I really liked Cornell's Shadow Police series, but to be fair they were written years later. Looking at the rest of his work, including Doctor Who etc., I see an author who, were he a fighter, would be all wild haymakers rather than scientific jabs and ripostes. That's what we have here.

You can't fault Cornell for lack of boldness. Alien civilization, time travel, the Crucifixion, disembodied heads, an obvious Dan Dare takeoff, ... lots of fun there.

Nathan Alderman
Aug 18, 2008 Nathan Alderman rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Open-minded Christians, foes of capitalism, fans of time-travel stories
A strange but ultimately compelling blend of sci-fi action-adventure, socialist polemic, and sincere affirmation of Christian faith, Paul Cornell's time-twisting tale gets top marks for originality. A 20-year-old woman with the power to read the emergent patterns of reality finds herself allied with a square-jawed, timelost space pilot and his hilariously, awesomely British navigator (a cheerily disembodied head) to battle a nefarious quartet of devils in angels' clothing. Unless these Golden Me ...more
Jan 18, 2015 Roy rated it it was amazing
Very good imagery. Unique story mixing religion, economics, time travel, and two main characters:
- a woman with an amazing ability to deeply read situations who ends up working setting odds for a bookie and sees the end of the world coming
- a man from another future timeline where things are better

The story weaves a complicated time travel theme with all of the above from the time of Jesus to the future and sorts it out in the end. I read this book twice separated by a few months and enjoyed it
Jul 19, 2014 Nathan added it
"A dense, thoughtful, idiosyncratic recursive time travel story that spans several histories of the world. Improbably, the author pulls it off. The writing is slightly more opaque than I usually like, but the sheer level of imagination and inventiveness, not to mention the writerly balls it took to even write this thing, are most impressive. Good characters, too. Only one moment that stuck out as implausible, no mean feat considering all the fantastic goings-on. Definitely recommended."
Michael Mcnally
I really like Paul Cornell's work with Doctor Who and his most recent novel, "London Falling" so "British Summertime" was a bit of a disappointment. The pacing felt odd at times, and it was difficult to gain any traction in the story - some of the inventiveness in the telling detracted from the actual readability. That said, it wasn't a bad book and had some interesting ideas about time travel and timelines.
Ray Duncan
Jan 04, 2014 Ray Duncan rated it really liked it
I went looking for this book after reading two excellent Paul Cornell short stories, "The Copenhagen Interpretation" and "One of our Bastards is Missing." It turned out to be an odd mix of space opera, time travel, alternate history, Ian McLeod politics, and CS Lewis-like religious allegory. Complicated time loops are not the least of it. It will be interesting to see what this author will come up with in the future, besides Dr Who scripts.
Lesley Arrowsmith
Sep 08, 2015 Lesley Arrowsmith rated it liked it
Very clever time travel SF, with the most desireable future being basically Dan Dare's. One main character is even called "the pilot from the future". Good women characters, and realistic religion - and set in Bath, which makes a nice change of location (London isn't the only city in the UK after all). But how the main characters suffer!
Sep 02, 2014 Claudia rated it really liked it
This was close to five of those books I couldn't stop reading. A fascinating mix of good vs. evil; sci-fi time travel and the coming of age of a young woman who has empathic abilities and a degree in math and ends of working for a bookie.
Another book I'd really like to finish but cannot concentrate on because of my awful job. I'll revisit this book later.
Roy rated it liked it
Oct 21, 2014
The Book
The Book rated it it was amazing
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Paul Cornell is a British writer of science fiction and fantasy prose, comics and television. He's been Hugo Award-nominated for all three media, and has won the BSFA Award for his short fiction, and the Eagle Award for his comics. He's the writer of Saucer Country for Vertigo, Demon Knights for DC, and has written for the Doctor Who TV series. His new urban fantasy novel is London Falling, out fr ...more
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