A weird, imaginative World War I urban fantasy tale
He signed up to fight with visions of honour and glory, of fighting for king and country, of making his family proud at long last.
But on a battlefield during the Great War, Robert Jones is shot, and wonders how it all went so very wrong, and how things could possibly get any worse.
He’ll soon find out. When the attacking enemy starts to shapeshift into a nightmarish demonic force, Jones finds himself fighting an impossible war against an enemy that shouldn’t exist.
This novella is the first in a projected series by Andy Remic. It is a really interesting, creepy take on the First World War. Told from the perspective of a volunteer, alternating between narrative and diary entries (for the main). The novella recounts the difficulties and horrors of the Front, the and the intense confusion warfare.
Add to this, though, a touch of horror and fantasy myth, and Remic has come up with an original take on war fiction. There were a few times when the story felt a little confusing, but I think that was intentional — our hero doesn’t always know what is actually going on, and the creatures he believes he keeps seeing are monstrous. Is his mind just creating a lie to explain the nature of war? Or is he really faced with monsters from childhood myth and nightmare?
A Song for No Man’s Land is a really interesting start to a new series. This novella is very much setting up the world and premise for the series to come, and ends on quite a tantalizing moment. I think this should have pretty broad appeal. Recommended.
Also on CR: Interview with Andy Remic
A Song for No Man’s Land is published by Tor.com next month. The next two novellas in the series — Return of Souls and Iron Beast — will also be published by Tor.com. Here are the covers (provisional, I think):