Copyright 1993 by
I first read this in July 1994 and most recently on the 29th October 2004
In an alternate 19th Century, the discovery of the
phenomenally explosive anti-ice has led to a
resurgence in British industrial and military power, and a consequent
expansion of Empire
Now it's not steam trains that found this Industrial Revolution
this world. It's the British engineered anti-ice, "Light Rail" monorails,
bridging the channel and stretching across Continental
Europe to carry the people and cargo of the modern world and to stand as a
symbol of Imperial power.
Our hero is Ned, a thoroughly privileged and prejudiced young man. He is
caught up in a world-shaking adventure including, yes of course, a trip to
the moon. After all if you are going to have a resurgent Empire in a homage
to Jules Verne, you can't really resist slipping that one in.
In the course of these events he loves and loses, and gains some awareness
of the world outside his blinkered lifestyle.
This is a delightful romp through an alternate 19th Century world dominated by a
British Empire. It's a British Empire that is not based on profitable trade,
but on the exclusive control of a unique resource. However although the
rationale is somewhat different (although arguably it's not), the net effect is what you'd expect: seen
from British eyes the world is transformed under a better, more British,
vision. Seen from the viewpoints of foreigners and of the British lower
classes, it is a less laudable transformation.
It's a thoroughly enjoyable read for the British and probably
hilariously funny for the French.
Loaded on the 1st May 2006.