ELEVATOR PITCH – If Then
Writer: Matthew De Abaitua
Publisher: Angry Robot
What is If Then?:
In the near future, after the collapse of society as we know it, one English town survives under the protection of the computer algorithms of the Process, which governs every aspect of their lives. The Process gives and it takes. It allocates jobs and resources, giving each person exactly what it has calculated they will need. But it also decides who stays under its protection, and who must be banished to the wilderness beyond. Human life has become totally algorithm-driven, and James, the town bailiff, is charged with making sure the Process’s suggestions are implemented.
But now the Process is making soldiers. It is readying for war — the First World War. Mysteriously, the Process is slowly recreating events that took place over a hundred years ago, and is recruiting the town’s men to fight in an artificial reconstruction of the Dardanelles campaign. James, too, must go fight. And he will discover that the Process has become vastly more sophisticated and terrifying than anyone had believed possible.
Here’s what Simon Ings has to say about the novel…
“If Then is a bone-deep, blood-sweet British fantasy, naive and ingenious as William Morris and as warpedly nostalgic as Richard Jeffries’ After London. As disturbingly hyperreal as any Pre-Raphaelite painting, If Then imagines what the end of history really will really look like, what’s really at stake, and maybe, just maybe, what we can do about it.”
Why should you pick this up?:
Well, aside from the fact it’s a great novel, Matthew is a former Arthur C. Clarke award-winning author of The Red Men, of which a short film was made
Matthew was also Will Self’s amanuensis. He’s very good at chatting, and promises to be on his best behaviour.