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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Right Stuff, Old Boy?
A disturbing and brilliant look into an alternate history where Britannia may not rule the waves any longer, but certainly has a damn good go at ruling the skies.
Told mostly in flashback, this is the story of how the monomaniacal Air Commodore Dashwood jump-starts the British space programme at the end of the second world war; realising that Britain is finished as a...
Published on 29 Mar 2005 by Peter Fenelon

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Curate's Egg, but worthwhile
I tried to add a 4th star to this re-review, but no go. A pity, as passing time has added to my appreciation of this title, and particularly the time put into the detailed artwork. I used to be a commercial illustrator a long time ago, so I recognize the effort that's gone into this book.

An excellent overall idea, and evokes a wish-fulfillment fantasy for...
Published on 11 Aug 2008 by DM Jefferis


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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Right Stuff, Old Boy?, 29 Mar 2005
By 
Peter Fenelon - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ministry of Space (Paperback)
A disturbing and brilliant look into an alternate history where Britannia may not rule the waves any longer, but certainly has a damn good go at ruling the skies.
Told mostly in flashback, this is the story of how the monomaniacal Air Commodore Dashwood jump-starts the British space programme at the end of the second world war; realising that Britain is finished as a land power he kidnaps the Peenemunde team and ensures - by any means necessary - that the Americans can't get their hands on any of the remains of the base.
Within a few years Britain has launched its first satellite and Dashwood becomes the first man into space - losing his legs when his rocketplane crashes on re-entry. Undeterred, he continues to push Britain ever further - space stations, Moon and Mars landings all soon follow. The Empire on which the Sun never set spans several planets...
...but the Americans eventually start up their own space programme; and they've discovered how Dashwood found the money to start the British Ministry of Space...
This is strong stuff. A complex political morality tale, a character study of a true monster, and yet also a loving homage to the world of Dan Dare. It's a curiously Bakelite sort of alternate history; no rock'n'roll in Britain, no Beatles, Nationasl Service, short back'n'sides... how much liberty is it worth sacrificing for the dream of the space programme? And can the means ever be justified by the ends?
Everything about this graphic novel is near-perfect - taut scripting, stunningly plausible art, and a real sense of back-story. Further dispatches from the Ministry will be awaited with interest.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ministry of Ace., 31 May 2008
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This review is from: Ministry of Space (Paperback)
This slim paperback seems to divide people by virtue of its last panel twist (I hardly believed it myself) and I can see why. The last panel introduces new questions that you might feel Ellis should have explored during the narrative so I can understand the frustration some appear to have experienced, but personally I felt it was pretty easy to fill in the blanks.
I'm a huge Warren Ellis fan and own more of his repetoire than is probably healthy but this is the first of his works I have felt spurred to review such was its thought-provoking nature, well-writteness and crucially Chris Weston's gorgeous artwork, which is a revelation and alone makes the book worth purchasing.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jolly good show!, 20 Aug 2005
By 
Alex Tolley (Los Gatos, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ministry of Space (Paperback)
This is a gorgeously rendered, alternative history where Britain achieves dominance in space after WWII.
The hardware designs are superb blend of classic Dan Dare and real designs from the 1930's - 40's. But in the end, what makes this a great read is the story and it's "ends justifies the means" morality. Sci fi author Stephen Baxter's alternative space histories are on a par with this, as a comparison. For older readers, the homage to Dan Dare and Eagle comics is charming. I have to commend the team very highly for this production.
The only nit I have is that the assumption that Britain wouldn't change socially seems unlikely, and the implied segregation of non-whites was never a part of British society where I grew up, and unlikely to have emerged. But this a small nit and doesn't detract from this excellent story.
I strongly recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good fun., 22 May 2010
This review is from: Ministry of Space (Paperback)
Ministry of Space is indeed a slim little book - I understand that the original comic was a run of 3 issues?

Anyway, I think this is recommended, the art-work in it is superb; beautiful stuff, it really captures the ideas that Ellis is trying to evoke in the story.

The comics start with the premise that Britain, exhausted by the war, was able to maintain its pre-eminence by ensuring that they had captured the German rocket-scientists and engineers that in real life, were spirited away to the United States. This allowed Britain to develop a space programme - and quicker than the US or the USSR did (the reasoning being that the character, Dashwood, had a similar vision to what could be achieved in space to Von Braun; he believed that the US was more concerned with winning the next war with its new adversary, the Soviet Union).

Though undoubtedly slight, I think that the artwork and the story are admirably able to create an impression of the world that this would create. A lot of it is filling in the blanks for yourself; but it works well.

There is a sort of twist, or reveal at the end, which many have remarked upon. I don't think that it's a problem that you may be able to guess where the story is heading, though, as it was just fun to get there. Also, bearing in mind that none of this happened, I think that the sense of moral compromise that it points to is necessary, otherwise the story would just end up being a sort of "what if..." and not in a good way (the vision that the book has is of Britain in a permanent 1950s - I think, that ultimately, though while going to Mars would've been fun, Ellis quite rightly dislikes the idea of that kind of backwards looking Britain).

For all that there is a story of dubious morality in this, it does also have at it's heart a love for post war British SF and comics. Indeed, in the introduction, Ellis talks about his love of Dan Dare and Arthur C. Clarke. It's worth remembering that there was a strain of thought in real life and in speculative fiction that didn't think it ridiculous that Britain had a space programme. Hey, there was a rocket programme into the 1950s.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Curate's Egg, but worthwhile, 11 Aug 2008
By 
DM Jefferis (Brill, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ministry of Space (Paperback)
I tried to add a 4th star to this re-review, but no go. A pity, as passing time has added to my appreciation of this title, and particularly the time put into the detailed artwork. I used to be a commercial illustrator a long time ago, so I recognize the effort that's gone into this book.

An excellent overall idea, and evokes a wish-fulfillment fantasy for almost any Dan Dare loving baby-boomer.

Some nit-picks include a Jodrell Bank that's portrayed years before it was built, and I'm not sure where a Canberra bomber would have found the room under its belly to carry a rocket-plane.

Nits aside, my only real disappointment was the very last frame, suggesting an apartheid Britain I've never seen, and that seems irrelevant to the plot. A shame about that as it took the edge off the whole work for me, first time around.

Even so, highly recommended, especially for the superb art depicting Moon and Mars expedition frames.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice alternate history, but too short in lenght, 20 Feb 2011
By 
El Fanegas (Reus, Tarragona Spain) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ministry of Space (Paperback)
This comic is very good. Depicts an excellent alternate history settings, as the british get Von Braum and all the rocket scientists from the Germans, and their "toys", and then all begin. I won't spoil anything more, see for yourself.

The art is very, very good. Nice depictition of both people, enviroments and spaceships. This is the way we should had gone into space, be more ambitious, in place of wasting the money and resources in stupid wars or another useless stuff.

The only complaint about this book: it's too damn short!. The story is absorbing, and well before you take in care, you'll end the book. It's too short. A few more pages would have been nice.
I have the Image Comics edition, so i supose this british Titan books one is similar. The book doesn't came "bare-bones". After the story, they're interviews, a preface, sketches, unfinishes pages in b&w, making-off of the page layout, etc.
In definitive, a great buying, cheap and nice to read, but too short.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eye-poppingly attractive, sharp and concise., 12 Dec 2009
By 
Jason Mills "jason10801" (Accrington, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ministry of Space (Paperback)
The schtick behind this short graphic novel is an alternate history in which it was Britain that scooped up all Germany's Peenemunde rocket scientists at the end of WWII. With funds from an obscure source, the Ministry Of Space rushed ahead, creating a 50s-flavoured, British RAF-looking space programme that builds space stations, goes to the Moon, and eventually sends a fleet to Mars. At the centre of all this 'progress' is a ruthless air officer full of secrets.

The triumphal adventures in space and the application of the technology on Earth keep Britain at the top of the world's superpowers for 50 years, and the social change we experienced in reality is here perceived as born of a necessity that doesn't apply in this wealthy and bold alternate Britain. Consequently the English idyll endures and grows stagnant, even as the Empire expands to new worlds.

It's a cunning piece of social commentary, told with admirable concision and imagination. But on top of that, the artwork is absolutely splendid - both in line and colour. (The colourist is the least mentioned contributor in the intro and afterword, but every frame is so vivid and alive that it leaps off the page.) The thing took much longer to read than the story required, because the images were magnetic. Great stuff.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be Gentle With Me..., 5 July 2005
By 
A. Richardson (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ministry of Space (Paperback)
...I'm new to comic books. Only the third comic book I've really read (following the Watchmen and a couple of volumes of the Preacher), this is wildly different to either - a fanastic re-visit to the Dan Dare style of the 1950's with an utterly modern outlook and ending. I really loved it and only wish that it lasted longer. I'll be back for more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but could have been better, 3 May 2011
By 
gururob (Wellingborough, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ministry of Space (Paperback)
Ministry of Space was a very interesting 'What If' British forces had got to Peenemunde first.

A few issues I have with it:

1 Good premise and some excellent ideas but so very short. You don't seem to get much for your money - I read it in about 30 minutes.
I don't mind the story jumping between timelines - it never got confusing - but the snippets of story seemed abbreviated, as if they were cut down to fit the comic format, rather than spread over enough issues to tell the story.

2 Not very well proofread - a number of speech bubbles had words missing. Not the end of the world but there weren't that many to check.

3 Considering that there was no such segregation during the war, I was surprised to see the Non-White Female toilet on the space station. I guess that the writer has an even more cynical outlook that I have.

Overall, very good but, had it been longer it would have got 4 stars from me.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very, very good but, 12 Mar 2006
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This review is from: Ministry of Space (Paperback)
Why the three stars? The last panel of the last page spoils it. This would never happen and lets face it if there was racial segregation there would never be these opportunities. It just doesn't make sense and really annoys me. Nontheless buy and rip out the last page!
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Ministry Of Space Limited Edition
Ministry Of Space Limited Edition by Warren Ellis (Hardcover - 8 Mar 2005)
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