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3 May, 2004

Review: 'The Human Front' (Ken Macleod, 2001)

An enjoyable novella, very much in Macleod's usual style combining socialist politics and everyday life in a very credible alternative post-1945 history, but the abrupt shift to the introduction of more cliched 'high sci-fi' elements (flying saucers, interplanetary flight, time travel and interdimensional parallel timelines) was a little disappointing.  Those first three cliched aspects also appear in his 'Engines Of Light' trilogy (2,3), though are are better justified and mentioned only very briefly in the back story, so are successfully integrated.

The main initial disappointment was the length. Having realised this is a novella, no problem, but it's a bit naughty of Amazon to sell this as "Paperback 208 pages", which certainly implies a full-length novel, whereas the volume contains two independent novellas by entirely unrelated authors - the MacLeod section is really only 90 pages of the 208. The rest of the volume is 'A Writer's Life' by Eric Brown, a story which could have been conceived by H.P.Lovecraft, if he'd been writing about contemporary Yorkshire.

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