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If Then by Matthew De Abaitua

If Then

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A Maxim Jakubowski selected title.

A challenging British dystopia in which, in a near post economic catastrophe Lewes, a small British town in the South Downs, is ruled by the Process, an impenetrable algorithm whch closely controls people's lives in an Orwell-like fashion. Enter a manufactured soldier from World War One whose role is both a catalyst and destructive in unravelling the true nature of the appointed local Bailiff, his wife and other's lives. 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 stylically elegant, a different kind of science fiction. ~ Maxim Jakubowski


If Then by Matthew De Abaitua

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 takes; it allocates resources, giving each person exactly what it has calculated they will need. 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.


Praise for If Then:

'Matthew de Abaitua has written a novel about employment, about daily labour, about the dignity or otherwise of the working individual. If Then is a love story, the history of a marriage, a topical meditation on the end of capitalism; best of all, it is a bone-deep, blood-sweet British fantasy, naive and ingenious as William Morris and as warpedly nostalgic as Richard Jeffries' After London.' Simon Ings, author of Wolves

About the Author

Matthew De Abaitua

Matthew De Abaitua was born in Liverpool in 1971. After graduating from the University of East Anglia Creative Writing MA studying under Malcolm Bradbury, he lived and worked as Will Self’s amanuensis in a remote cottage in Suffolk. His first novel The Red Men (Snowbooks 2007, Gollancz ebook 2013) was shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Award. He currently lectures on Creative Writing at Brunel University and Writing Science Fiction at the University of Essex.

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd September 2015


Matthew De Abaitua

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Angry Robot an imprint of Watkins Media


284 pages


Science Fiction
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Science fiction



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