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Things Unborn Paperback – 2 Apr 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Earthlight; 1st Paperback Printing edition (2 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743409116
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743409117
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.8 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,321,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Eugene Byrne's second SF novel Things Unborn is as eccentric and offbeat as his first, ThiGMOO--but in different ways. Here it's 2008, on a timeline where Britain is still recovering from 1962's world nuclear war and subsequent "Feudal Wars", both helped and hindered by crowds of the returned dead.

No one knows why people who died prematurely through history are coming back as "retreads". Britain learns to cope, though, and civil servants gently explain to new arrivals--in Latin or Anglo-Saxon if required: "You are not in Heaven or Hell."

London is a seething melting-pot of past, present and future. The Metropolitan Police (including DI Scipio Africanus, a black former slave who first died in 1720) stake out the Marble Arch area where those hanged at Tyburn tend to return, as it were, to the scene of the crime. The rakehell Earl of Rochester writes BBC comedies like Carry on Courting, in collaboration with Marlowe and Chatterton. Richard III, though under the thumb of Parliament, is king again--and saving the truth about the Princes in the Tower for his memoirs. It's all profoundly silly, yet developed with tongue-in-cheek plausibility.

Alas, there's a fanatical underground of (mostly) retreads from more devout days, the Sons of John Bull, who long to smash Britain's "Liberal Settlement" and end the godless practice of religious tolerance. Sympathetic police have their hands full as theft, terrorism and assassination plots rage through London's brothels, cock-pits and abandoned Underground tunnels. It all ends appropriately, and it's all great fun. --David Langford

About the Author

Eugene Byrne has had several stories published in INTERZONE, as well as other magazines and anthologies. He is Deputy Editor of a listings magazine. His first novel, THIGMOO, has been shortlisted for the British Science Fiction Association's award for Best SF Novel of 1999.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a crackingly good SF book with wonderful characters like Police Inspector Africanus, once a slave from the 18th Century, now a British Bobby on an unusual Beat in an alternative 21st Century Britain.
The plot is slightly complex but this is nothing to get worried about, this is a SF book for the intelligent, and it is a very exciting read so worth making your brain cells do a little bit of extra work in my opinion!
This is an alternative world, born from the ashes of a devestating Nuclear War in the early 1960s that wiped out millions upon millions of people in various parts of the world, mostly in Britain, the USA, Russia and China, all places that were affected at one point by radiation fall out. After this war was over, people started to be "reborn" people througout the centuries who had died before their time, young children but not babies and infants and very few people over the age of 55, are appearing near or where they died many years ago. They are nicknamed Retreads and depleted Societies have accepted them with open arms, teaching them to live in a world often very different from the one they left behind.
Of course it is not all Utopia, far from it, a fight for power ensued in the 1970s between the Fundamentalist Nationalists who want to put the reborn Duke of Monmouth on the throne and the Democratic Coalition of all Creeds led by a reborn Lawrence of Arabia. The Democratic Coalition won, and the Duke of Monmouth was once again executed and for the last 30 or so years peace has reigned in Britain.
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Format: Paperback
Until I was about half way through I thought I was in the presence of genius, but in the end the plot seemed like it had been bolted together, which let it down slightly. Maybe that's because the author was concentrating on the setting and characters too much. It is an amazing vision, though, this alternative London full of dead people come back to life. The gripe about plot aside, this is teriffic fun. I'm here to get another copy because the last one's still being passed around family and friends.
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Format: Paperback
Read this book and you will enter into a post atom war realm where the dead, from all ages, are reappearing. The UK has been rebuilt after the war and now 17th century fops and Roundheads rub shoulders with saints, ex slaves, hung murderers and those that have never died. It's a brilliant setting stuck somewhere in the 60's, It took some time to rebuild after the Cuban crisis wasn't settled peacefully. It seems all the books I read at the moment feature the Earl of Rochester appearing as some agent or ally, anyway he's in this with all his amusing rake qualities. The main story is a fast paced police investigation through this crazy world, narrated by a confused former WWII fighter pilot. I like Byrne's crazy vision and shall have to go a find a copy of 'Thigmoo' to read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x91428a2c) out of 5 stars 1 review
HASH(0x90cb563c) out of 5 stars Another little low cost gem of a book! 9 Jan. 2004
By Kali - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a crackingly good SF book with wonderful characters like Police Inspector Africanus, once a slave from the 18th Century, now a British Bobby on an unusual Beat in an alternative 21st Century Britain.
The plot is slightly complex but this is nothing to get worried about, this is a SF book for the intelligent, and it is a very exciting read so worth making your brain cells do a little bit of extra work in my opinion!
This is an alternative world, born from the ashes of a devestating Nuclear War in the early 1960s that wiped out millions upon millions of people in various parts of the world, mostly in Britain, the USA, Russia and China, all places that were affected at one point by radiation fall out. After this war was over, people started to be "reborn" people througout the centuries who had died before their time, young children but not babies and infants and very few people over the age of 55, are appearing near or where they died many years ago. They are nicknamed Retreads and depleted Societies have accepted them with open arms, teaching them to live in a world often very different from the one they left behind.
Of course it is not all Utopia, far from it, a fight for power ensued in the 1970s between the Fundamentalist Nationalists who want to put the reborn Duke of Monmouth on the throne and the Democratic Coalition of all Creeds led by a reborn Lawrence of Arabia. The Democratic Coalition won, and the Duke of Monmouth was once again executed and for the last 30 or so years peace has reigned in Britain.
But a conspiracy is afoot, and the Fundamentalists are gathering momentum as they head toward a revolution in which Britain will be forced back into her Hard Core Protestant days, with anyone who is different suffering the fate of those that do not follow the "true way."
But all is not lost, Inspector Africanus and his motley crew of Police officers, consisting of a retread Spitfire Pilot called Guy who has only recently resurrected back to life, a slightly jaded female WPC who is trying to figure out her place in the world, and a jolly Irish giant nicknamed Uncle Seamus who might not be all that he seems.
Add to this boiling pot some wonderful characters like Lickpenny Nan, the Rakish Earl of Rochester, a mysterious young man called Henry Seymour and the delightful Digby family, one of whom is Guy's ancestor, a retread like himself and you have a delicious sense of being in and out of various centuries as you rub shoulders with high brow Victorians, decadent Georgians, over sentimental Edwardians not to mention the darker side of the retread experience, those who were once criminals with violent and terrifying pasts.
|The main thrust of this book is about the plot to overthrow the Democracy and those now in power since the defining war of the 1970s but there is a surfeit of information about Retread life past and present and this interweaves itself in and out of this dark and often humorous SF thriller making it a compulsive read from beginning to end.
I might add that this would make an EXCELLENT film and I am surprised that it wasn't a Best Seller but each to their own I guess!
If you get a chance to read this book then do so, you won't be disappointed, I certainly wasn't!
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