Nathan Alderman's Reviews > British Summertime

British Summertime by Paul Cornell
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's review
Jul 28, 2008

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Recommended 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 Men -- the living embodiment of greed itself -- are stopped, they'll alter history to replace the pilot's paradisical future with a ruinous hell of capitalism run amok. I found this book weirder and less accessible than Cornell's top-flight work on "Doctor Who," and the mix of Cornell's open-hearted, deeply admirable take on Christianity and his apparently vehement disgust with capitalism is a bit difficult to wrap one's head around. I can't say I entirely agree with his philosophy, or at least the economic parts of it. But the book's plenty entertaining all the same; Cornell's use of Christian symbology in his imagery and plot is quite clever, and the book's remarkable closing chapters establish a dizzying and dazzling array of temporal loops to make all the storyline's loose ends fit.

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