British Summertime

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Image of British Summertime (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
Author: Paul Cornell
Publisher: Gollancz (2004)
Binding: Paperback, 416 pages

Paul Cornell is well known for writing some of the best episodes of the new series of Doctor Who, along with some excellent comics. As a result I was keen to try out some of his novels, and I wasn't disappointed with British Summertime.

The story centres around Alison, a relatively ordinary girl with a rather extraordinary ability she calls "chipshopness", which allows her to see all kinds of things about people she looks at. This tends to be rather a curse as she sees a lot of things she'd rather not deal with, and she's just got a feeling that the world is about to end. When she runs into a pilot from the future, she's initially relieved as it proves there is a future. However, soon she realised he's not from her future and things start to get complicated.

This book had me hooked from start to finish, which is what you want from a novel. The characters were all engaging, and the plot is rather ingenious, and almost needs you to keep a pen and paper handy to keep track of how the various timelines weave together. It's one of the cleverest time travel stories I've read.

In fact the story reads like a Doctor Who story in a lot of places. Although the characters do things to thenselves that would never happen in a Doctor Who story, I think the essence of this novel would make an excellent basis for an episode (a rare Dr Who story that's actually about time travel).

I really enjoyed this book, and although it's not a humourous novel per say, I did feel it appealed to the same part of my brain as a Robert Rankin story.

I look forward to reading more by Cornell.