By Adam Roberts | April 13, 2008
Categories: Book News
Eric Brown briefly on Swiftly:
Roberts is king of the thought-experiment, and this novel begins with a grand conceit. It's 1848, and Britain and France are at war - aided respectively by the Lilliputians and the Brobdingnagians from Gulliver's Travels. Abraham Bates, opposed to his country's enslavement of the little people, has turned traitor. Seconded by the French military to escort a computational device from London to York, he falls into the company of opium addict Henry Oldenberg, the dean of York, and in love with Eleanor Burton, who combines sexual naivety with scientific precocity. What follows is both a compulsive comedy of manners and a free-wheeling metaphysical riff on the nature of religion, the universe and scale, with the arrival of extraterrestrials far larger than the Brobdingnagians.
That's cocaine, not opium, but otherwise a decent review. Compulsively free-wheeling, you know.