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Swiftly: A Novel (GOLLANCZ S.F.) Paperback – 15 Jan 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (15 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575082348
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575082342
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13.1 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 483,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Adam Roberts is a writer of science fiction novels and stories, as well as Professor of Nineteenth-century Literature in English at Royal Holloway, University of London. Three of his novels, "Salt", "Gradisil" and "Yellow Blue Tibia" were nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award; and his most recent novel "By Light Alone" has been shortlisted for the 2012 BSFA Award. He has published over a dozen novels, a number of academic works on both 19th century poetry and SF, stories, parodies, bits, pieces, this and that.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Jones on 5 Jan 2010
Format: Hardcover
I'm sure you won't believe me, but the main problem with this novel isn't the 'flowery language' or the rather sprawling plot, it's the fact that the main character becomes obsessed with human faeces.

It's a shame that Roberts felt the need to introduce that particular scatalogical strand into the plot, because the concept the novel's based on is quite brilliant, and there's really no need for poo to be involved.

The other problem is that, due to the insertion of the short story the novel's based around, at the beginning it appears that there are two protagonists. There aren't. Eleanor gets a couple of chapters to herself but then becomes a secondary character for the rest of the story. Which is a real shame, as she's much more interesting and sympathetic than the actual protagonist, who is wracked with self-doubt, shame and self-loathing, largely due to being obsessed with do do brown.

This would be a four-star novel if the plot was a bit tighter and there were less plop-plops in it. Just to be clear, I'm not being prudish or anything, it's just that the cover blurb led me to believe I'd be reading a novel about Lilliputians and Brobdignagians, but it's mostly about self-doubt and poo poo.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brian Flange on 9 Sep 2009
Format: Paperback
If you've already acquired Adam Roberts' similarly-titled short-story collection 'Swiftly', don't be put off from acquiring this new volume as well - yes, there are a few areas of overlap between a couple of Roberts' earlier stories and this new novel but by my reckoning, something over four-fifths of the novel version is entirely new material. Okay, so the bulk of the novel is new - is it any good? Definitely yes: the central idea is a great one and Roberts delivers it with a host of surprises and engaging sidelights. The initial idea of a war between a nineteenth-century England revolutionised by Lilliputian craftsmanship and a France whose armies use Brobdingnagian giants is eye-catching enough but as the book progresses, a world initially developed from 'Gulliver's Travels' gradually extends into new realms, both bigger and smaller than those that Swift sketched. Roberts has a nice way with period detail and never forgets to keep his characters engaging and rounded. One of the most satisfying and diverting fantasies of recent years.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 July 2008
Format: Paperback
To be honest a story with much potential and something that fans of Swifts original Gullivers Travels will probably more than want to read with it being set a century after the discovery of the Lilliputians and Brobdingnagians. Whilst the potential is fully realised in the story, what I find to be one of the biggest gripes is the problem surrounding the use of flowery language, which whilst all the rage in Swifts time, for me its an unnecessary extravagance that detracts from the story arc. However what perhaps comes across as the biggest cheat with this tale is that its based on Roberts own short story of the same name. Whilst it could easily be argued that it deserved more attention and a longer story frame that is originally given through a short story I do feel that this type of thing is a bit of a cheat to readers who had already paid good money to read it. Whilst it is interesting and innovative in the way that it plays on politics of the era in which the original was set I suspect that it might end up becoming one of those high brow fantasies rather than something for the masses.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not So Swift 21 Dec 2011
By Crusty Critic - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A fascinating idea: Suppose Gulliver's Lilliputians and Brobdignagians were real and pulled into European history, causing many changes by the 19th century? Alas, Roberts, who writes very well, has created a dull, plodding novel filled with characters who are impossible to like or be interested in, full of philosophical, religious, and scientific allusions which reveal his widely read erudition, but just make you groan. I suppose there must be a point, but I really don't care. I hope that Roberts will apply his considerable writing talents to another interesting idea, but this time with characters who have some kind of appeal and events that can draw you in.
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