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Adam Roberts is the author of a growing number of science fiction novels, short stories, essays and other writings. This site contains not just his blog, but everything you could ever want to know about everything Adam has ever published. And more...

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MMP Swiftly

By Adam Roberts | January 5, 2009
Categories: Book News


A big lovely box of mass market paperback copies of 'may be [my] masterpiece' Swiftly arrived in the post this morning [Amazon has it at £5.99: go on, you know you want to].

Over at Strange Horizon's 'best of 2008' feature, Dan Hartland picks Swiftly. Which is encouraging, not least because I'd say that though some others have misunderstood the book, he has a good sense of what it's about: 'what I admired about it was something other than its perfection. It's nice when ambitions are realised, but very often it's as gratifying to see a writer set himself an impossible goal which he strives for with real relish. Swiftly was such a book: increasingly unwieldy and unconventional, it addressed the very limits of the modern novelistic form by harking back to the age of its birth. A sequel to Gulliver's Travels which fanned out that novel's implications in a variety of directions—both literary and speculative—Swiftly had big (perhaps deliberate) holes, and, like a badly printed jigsaw puzzle, sometimes didn't quite match up. But in its verve and its cannibalistic inventiveness, it was as exciting and inquiring a science fiction novel as I'd care to expect, and one I've mulled over all year.'

My real ambition, as perhaps I've noted here before, is to write the novelistic equivalent of a Rothko or a Ben Nicholson abstract. But failing that (and I'm still not quite sure how to do it) in Swiftly I think I at least managed something suitably Braque-y, or cubist-Picassoish, or maybe Chapman Brothersesque, of which I'm quietly proud. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with representational styles of painting; but after a while it starts to feel restrictive, when everything is Pre-Raphaelite (or derivatives thereof) or John Martin. I mean, a lot of people like academic art; and there's nothing wrong with that. But there ought to be other styles out there as well. So that's what I do. And you can see for yourself! For only £5:99! What's not to like?

My own best-of picks are also over there at the SH link, should you be interested.

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