Ministry of Space

Author: Warren Ellis
Artist: Chris Weston
Titan Books
RRP 8.99
ISBN 1 84023 924 7
Available 25 March 2005

In the
death throes of the Second World War, the British High Command capture the cream of Nazi rocket science and create a new Empire where the sun never sets. Instead, the sky is lit by the red glare of a fleet spaceships bound for the Moon, Mars - and beyond. But who funds this epic endeavour? The road to space, it transpires is paved with a secret dark enough to bring the Empire to its knees...

The easiest way to describe Ministry of Space is as a twisted take on a Dan Dare style tale. It's written from the perspective of a 1940s writer looking at how the future may well have unfolded between the 1940s and 2001. What's interesting is that Britain is the major power in the early 21st century due thanks to the fact that our scientists (or more accurately - captured German scientists under our control) design and build the latest advancements in rocket technology.

This means that the British are the first to travel into space (1950), the first to land on the moon (1953), the first nation to have a permanent presence on the moon (1960) and the first to colonise Mars (1969).

In the early 21st century Britain still has a powerful empire - in fact Britain is the world's most powerful nation. However, this nation is built on a terrible secret. This collection, which jumps backwards and forwards in time, examines an alternative future which, given the right circumstances, we could be living today.

For those who grew up on Dan Dare, Ministry of Space is a must read collection. This is also going to be of interest to anyone who enjoys intelligent story telling.

Nick Smithson

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