Gareth L. Powell. The New Ships. (Further Conflicts).

In the earlier ‘Conflicts’ volume, I noted of Gareth L. Powell’s ‘Fallout’ that it was ‘an intriguing setting for a short story, and one that you could see being worth the investment of more time from the author’.

And he’s returned to that setting, with another short, tight drama featuring Ann Szkatula again. The background to the story sequence is that a large alien spaceship has crashed near Bristol, irradiating a large area of land. There’s lots of alien tech to be harvested and turned to our advantage, which could well be quite necessary, if the interstellar war that evidently led to the crash-landing leads to a threat to our planet. Unfortunately, the national powers aren’t exactly working together shoulder-to-shoulder, and Ann’s task is to rescue a hacker from the forces of other nations, so that he can help in protecting humanity from the forces of other planets. It starts atmospherically in Paddington, and ends up with a shoot-out on the M40 in Oxfordshire, with a tantalising glimpse of where the story arc is headed.

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