NESFA Members' Reviews

coverThe Human Front

by by Ken MacLeod

A book review by Mark L. Olson

PS Publishing, 2002, unpriced, 75 pp

PS Publishing is publishing a series of novellas by British authors in large paperback format, and it's been a pretty good series. This one's particularly good.

At first, it seems like it's another of MacLeod's fascinating Trotskyite fantasies – it begins "Like most people of my generation, I remember exactly where I was on March 17, 1963, the day Stalin died." – then there's the double-take: but...Stalin died in 1954. So we're in an alternate history?

The narrator is a young man growing up in northern Scotland in a world where in 1947 the US used a radically new bomber design (shaped like an aluminum disk about 30' in diameter) to nuke Moscow and over the next ten years managed to pretty much conquer the whole world. By the late 70s, the world is restive and Our Hero is leading anti-US communist guerillas in Scotland. Guerilla war leads to open war.

Then he's captured by the Venusians....

The Human Front is a short piece of classic MacLeod with a lovely, twisting plot.

See also my reviews of other Ken MacLeod books: Engine City, Cosmonaut Keep, The Cassini Division,. The Sky Road, The Stone Canal, Dark Light, The Human Front

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