I want to see a miniseries that opens with a long zoom from New Jersey into Manhattan: a mile-long zeppelin moors itself to the World Trade Center. Stairs lower from the gondola and a woman of a certain age emerges in harem pants, smoking, takes off her goggles and hands them to an attendant. She is here to collect an orphan just in from Shenzen, one she picked from a lithograph that appeared on her elliptical scope (which is connected by radiowaves to a groaning terawatt transmitter the size of a battleship). Container ships filled with Chinese babies prowl the seas. She is the woman who patented the platonic solids. But her empire is at risk.
Paul Ford is like a comet: He doesn’t come around very often, but it’s usually worth the wait.