By Adam Roberts | March 22, 2008
Categories: Book News
Nick Gevers is one of the best reviewers working in SF today: deeply knowledgeable about the genre and with both eloquence and an impeccable judgment. He has not always liked my fiction overmuch previously, so it's particularly gratifying to read his review of my latest over at SFSite.
Swiftly ... is an enormously ambitious novel, a steampunk epic of considerable force and ingenuity. It is also a deeply bizarre book, whose protagonists, sometimes to the detriment of the plot, conduct a love affair based on disgust and the stimulating odor of excrement. Why Roberts chose this admixture of elements is a little mysterious, unless it serves as a commentary on the original Dean Swift's fascination with smutty jokes and toilet humor. As well, the eighteenth century, whose spirit the novel explores, was generally an age of smells and off-color bawdiness; maybe that indeed plays a part ... Despite its peculiarities, Swiftly may be Roberts's best novel so far. It is a book he had in mind for a long time, and its maturity of conception is impressive.
That's spot-on, I'd say, though it would be nice if that 'despite' in the last sentence there were 'because of'. But one can't have everything.