One of the best things about the book is the development of a fully realised parallel universe, one in which Britain went to war against the Germany ruled by Chaplin’s “Great Dictator” Hynkel and which then elected the government of 1984. A world in which the Old Boy network is centred neither on Eton nor Oxbridge, but a little school in Kent called Greyfriars, which has produced Big Brother – and Harry Wharton as Big Brother is a stroke of genius. Of course, Orwell famously wrote an article about the Magnet and other boys’ weekly papers, focussing on Greyfriars, so this combination is a truly awesome joke. And as for my beloved Bob Cherry as M…. Then, of course, there’s the magnificently titled What Ho, Gods of the Abyss, in which Bertie Wooster encounters the world of H. P. Lovecraft, although Moore isn’t up to capturing Wodehouse’s airy style.
Anyway, the whole thing is pretty insane and kind of aweome, and I’d love it even without the Greyfriars stuff. But that felt like a present – if you’d asked me what fictional universe I most wanted Moore to do properly, it would have been Greyfriars.