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Another War
Simon Morden
Telos paperback £7.99

review by Martin Drury

Rumours whisper of strange goings-on. Local gossip tells of a machine that can transport people through time and through dimensions. Two men who disappeared over 100 years ago have been found safe and well in the spot where they were last seen. They haven't aged. The machine has cared for them and deposited them back where they belong. But the bridge between the worlds is nothing if not a tool. And someone, something has its eye on the tool. Something has travelled back with the men. Something far more disturbing then the prospect of time travel. It's here. Pray that you see the morning.

Simon Morden's story is not the least bit original. Stephen King's From A Buick 8 dealt with many of the same subjects and themes as Another War. Morden's time travelling men suffer a cold blast of a culture shock upon their return to their homeland over a century after their disappearance. In chapter 5, Morden bores the reader and allows the tension to droop and the plot to drag as he allows so many of his pages to be given over to discussion on the succession of the Royal line, the changes in the army and anything else that could be used to slap the reader in the face and make double-sure they realise that some time has passed and the two men have been disorientated by their ordeal. The appearance of an I-Pod Mini could have done the job of illustrating the present to those firmly lodged in the past. But no, Morden just wants to make sure you understand fully. Let's recap one more time. Two men went missing. 100 years or so later, they came back. Then a herd of stereotypical army officers and an assortment of other ludicrously drawn characters arrive and shout a lot despite the lack of an impending emergency.

This book is a badly taught history lesson that nags and points at the reader. The reader is told instead of being shown. The dialogue jars the flow of the text and halfway through one begins to realise that Another War should have been a radio-play for its dependency on outlandish characters making a lot of noise. Genres become muddled and fray at the edges as the narrative dances a quick step between fantasy and science fiction, history and hysteria. Guns blaze and the army moves into formation and, at once, the reader is plunged head first into an action adventure story that never quite fulfils its promise to excite as well as entertain. Another War is a prime example of 'pleasant nonsense'. It's a good story and an invigorating read for anyone who doesn't mind suspending their disbelief so high that it needs to be hooked onto the ceiling. The characterisations are hollow and the motivations shallow, but if you're looking for action in place of suspense and reason then you have come to the right place.

Another day, another war, another novel... Enjoy the adventure. Just don't expect to remember the event.
Another War by Simon Morden

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