Tuesday, April 12, 2005

MINISTRY OF SPACE - Warren Ellis (8.99)

This isn't so much a story as a delineation of an alternate history. At the end of WW2 Britain went into space & half a century later we have all those things (solar power satellites, wealth, settlements on Mars, peace on Earth under the benevolent protection of ERII) which we were promised by Dan Dare, Robert Heinlein & Gerald O'Neill. The way we get it isn't very nice (tho' not as nasty as the real world where we got Nigerian oil by helping starve Biafra) & the hero Sir John Dashwood is an out & out bastard & unapologetic about it.

The homages to Dan Dare are numerous & worth it on there own - I love the full page devoted to 2 boys with helicopter backpacks flying above a monorail & past Parliament.

There are faults. The last 2 panels are clearly in to avoid PC controversy & are against the whole spirit of the show. There is a reference to artificial gravity on the space station which is there only to allow the characters to walk rather than float, indeed Ellis, instead of having Sir John retire in England & travel to orbit for the denouement should have had him living in orbit & travel to Earth. But who cares.

This is a wonderful book in the original sense of evoking a sense of wonder about how the world we were promised in the age when Man going to the Moon was still an achievement for the future not the past.

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