(Found) Small military project, Suffolk(?) coast prob 50s-60s, machine talks to dead?

HareBrain

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The main character is in the military, I think, and is asked by his CO to transfer to a project on the Suffolk (UK) coast run by the CO's friend, after someone else dropped out (went mad?). It turns out the project, which only has a few people, has developed a machine that can do something weird, maybe talk to the dead. A local civilian who is a woman with children is involved. (Possibly one of her children died and is being recontacted?) The narrator I think ends up shutting the machine down because something horrible happens.

Vague memory of the language style suggests this was written and set in the 50s-60s. There isn't much plot, so it might have been a shorter work than a novel, even though I don't tend to read those. Nothing in my Goodreads list matches, except something in my brain wanted it to be The Philosopher's Stone by Colin Wilson, and even though it's not the main plot I wondered if it was an experience related by one of the characters. But I've checked the book again and it's not.

Any ideas?
 

Orcadian

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HareBrain

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Wondering if this link might be of any help: List of military science fiction works and authors - Wikipedia. I did a quick search using the terms "195" (3 results), then "196" (10 results). One of the titles or authors may hit a memory chord?
Thanks, but none of those seems at all familiar.

My memory of it is that it doesn't really feel like military sci-fi (I can't remember any military-style action), but something more philosophical that happens to have a mostly military cast. I think that's why I guessed Colin Wilson's The Philosopher's Stone to start with.

Maybe like something Nigel Kneale could have written (but didn't).
 

HareBrain

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Got it!

My main problem was I was assuming a male author, because post-war military, but as soon as a particular neuron fired in my brain and I questioned that, my mental filing clerk went off to a different set of shelves and came back with the suggestion Daphne du Maurier. Turned out to be a short story called The Breakthrough. And according to the reading thread that was only last March, so my memory sucks!
 

Orcadian

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... My mental filing clerk went off to a different set of shelves and came back with the suggestion Daphne du Maurier. Turned out to be a short story called The Breakthrough. And according to the reading thread that was only last March, so my memory sucks!
Who'd have thought! No wonder this author never occurred to you. :)
 

Orcadian

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By the way -anyone - how do you mark a thread 'Found'? I've come across a number in the Book Search archives that have clearly been Found but are not marked as such. I'd like to know how to do that, in the absence of the (long-gone) OP.
 

hitmouse

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It cannot be the book you are looking for, but this has echoes of Nick Harkaway's Angelmaker (2012) in terms of location, machinery, old military stuff and general strangeness.
 

HareBrain

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Who'd have thought! No wonder this author never occurred to you. :)
She has an enormous range, much more so than most people would think who just know her from Rebecca or Jamaica Inn etc. Probably closest to The Breakthrough is her 1969 novel The House on the Strand, about time travel and drug use. I read it decades ago and really should do so again.
 

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