Thursday, March 17, 2016

Lilliput by Sam Gayton, Alice Ratteree (Illustrator)

Lilliput is a spin-off or fan fiction of Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. Gulliver has gone to the land of Lilliput and kidnapped Lily so he can restore his reputation and prove to the world that his travels were the truth. He is so bent on this mission that he does not see the immorality of holding a person captive against his or her will. When Lily puts Escape Plan Thirty-Three into motion she has just about given up hope. She is helpless against Gulliver's tyranny and authority. It isn't until the clockmaker's apprentice finds her plea for help in a message that her escape plans start to work and the two become friends along the way.

The author, Jonathan Swift, in his classic, Gulliver's Travels, satires politics and the mindset of people during his time. This was The Age of Reason where science and technology were used to justify systems and beliefs. Religion was losing its power and Swift saw a danger in this as people's reasoning was rationalized by science at the expense of human dignity. Science was replacing religion and Swift did not agree with it because it was at the expense of spiritual morality and human rights. Sam Gayton in "Lilliput," exposes this notion in the character, Gulliver, who says he is a man of reason; yet he holds Lily captive for six years torturing her when she tries to escape. He uses science and does not see Lily as an individual but a way for him to enlighten the world. Gulliver's reasoning, self-centeredness, and lack of morals cost him dearly in the end.

The character of Gulliver needed a bit more development. His change of heart and the redemptive ending was not clear to me. What made him see Lily as a human being when for six years he was the authoritative tyrant over her? Was it seeing her in a different cage by a different person? Or was it seeing the apprentice in his abusive wristwatch strangler? While I really liked Gulliver's flawed character, I needed more information on his motives in order to get a clearer picture of why he acted the way he did at the climax. It seemed abrupt.

The play on words, puns, references to the classic, and scatological humor have strong audience appeal.Young readers will relate to the characters that must submit to the authority of adults that are narcissistic and misled in their goals in life. Mr. Plinker is more of a one-dimensional villain who is ensconced in greed; whereas, Gulliver is more complex and is a good person who makes a series of bad choices justifying them in his cruel actions. I have not read Gulliver's Travels since it was required in middle or high school and frankly I cannot remember any of it. This makes me want to pull it out and give the "flimbip" - I mean Emperor Flimnap - a go again.

4 Smileys

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