IF THEN has been receiving some engaged and positive reviews. Publishers Weekly in the US said, ‘De Abaitua builds on the promise he demonstrated in The Red Men in this intellectual science fiction novel, whose ambition is matched by its execution.’
Paul Di Filippo reviewed IF THEN for Locus: ‘This is the kind of post-apocalypse, after-it-all-changed novel—with clever codicils—that the Brits do with so much more classy, idiosyncratic style than anyone else. It is full of magisterial weirdness, logical surrealism, melancholy joy and hopeful terror. If I begin to toss out names like Adam Roberts, Brian Aldiss, Keith Roberts, and J. G. Ballard, I will not be lavishing undue praise.’
In the December issue of Interzone, Stephen Theaker writes, “This is a powerful novel, both in its portrayal of the horrors of World War I, the wasteful loss of life, the dreadful conditions, the failures of those who let the war happen, and also in showing how easily the systems that support our modern-day lives could fall apart. And of course the book is all about the correlations between the two, about what happens when people get to experiment or play war games with the mass of human life, when we are treated as an expendable resource.”
In the UK, renowned critic Maxim Jakubowski, writing for Lovereading.com, said, ‘Both bucolic and an oppressive love story set against the background of an enigmatic dictatorship of sorts, this tale of reality askew is also a powerful meditation on the nature of war, the misuse of technology and the grit and determination of the common man. Thoughtful, at times frustrating but well worth the final reward, and stylistically elegant, a different kind of science fiction.’
John Dodds at Adventures in SciFi Publishing reviewed IF THEN, saying, ‘IF THEN is a particular kind of British rural science fiction, in which a deeply unsettling pall overshadows what should be a Utopian idyll. The novel has antecedents in the works of John Wyndham, George Orwell and Aldous Huxley – and it is every bit as good as the best works of those writers. It is full of mind-bending ideas, great characters and wonderful writing. If there is any justice, it deserves a nomination for the next Hugos.’
I also spoke to John at length about the novel and writing science fiction in general for a podcast.
I09.com have chosen IF THEN to be the subject of their November book club, if you fancy discussing the novel with other readers. I will participate in a Q&A about the novel on I09 on Thursday November 12th.