Tube work­ers’ long de­tour

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased 18 Fe­bru­ary 352 pages | Pa­per­back/ ebook

Au­thor Si­mon Morden

Pub­lisher Gol­lancz

At times, Down Sta­tion feels a lit­tle like a mod­ern take on the first Doc­tor Who story, “An Un­earthly Child”, as two mod­ern- day Lon­don­ers find them­selves abruptly whisked back to a pre­his­toric land­scape with a mys­te­ri­ous, but oddly wise, older man.

But there the sim­i­lar­i­ties end. One char­ac­ter, Dalip, is a Sikh en­gi­neer­ing stu­dent, while the other, Mary, is strug­gling to leave her delin­quent teens be­hind. They’re set up with great econ­omy as Si­mon Morden throws us into the story: a dis­as­ter on the Lon­don Un­der­ground drives a bunch of clean­ers and en­gi­neers through a por­tal and into a strange new world. There Stanislav, who was re­spon­si­ble for Dalip’s safety in the Tube tun­nels, proves re­mark­ably ca­pa­ble – but with lit­tle un­der­stand­ing of their sur­round­ings, they quickly run into trou­ble.

It’s the char­ac­ters’ ex­pe­ri­ences that make this a fresh take on the “cut off from civil­i­sa­tion” sub­genre. Mary’s de­sire to live in a world with­out rules is sud­denly, and ter­ri­fy­ingly, granted, while Dalip’s life has al­ways been very struc­tured. We’re drawn in by their re­sponses to this world as much as we are to what the world is ac­tu­ally like, which makes for a sat­is­fy­ing novel. Ed­die Rob­son

Down Street is one of Lon­don’s many de­funct Un­der­ground sta­tions. It’s in May­fair, and was on the Pic­cadilly Line.

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