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The Extremes (GOLLANCZ S.F.) [Kindle Edition]

Christopher Priest
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

British-born Teresa Simons returns to England after the death of her husband, an FBI agent, who was killed by an out-of-control gunman while on assignment in Texas. A shocking coincidence has drawn her to the run-down south coast town of Bulverton, where a gunman's massacre has haunting similarities to the murders in Texas.

Desperate to unravel the mystery, Teresa turns to the virtual reality world of Extreme Experience, ExEx, now commercially available since she trained on it in the US. The best and worst of human experience can be found in ExEx, and in the extremes of violence Teresa finds that past and present combine ...

Product Description

Amazon Review

Dunblane, Port Arthur and Hungerford will be places known to many of us because of the apparently random mass shootings that have happened there in recent years. The Extremes is a book about such violence--it's horror, the sheer bad luck of being its victim, and the anguish it causes to those left behind. It is also a book about virtual reality, and is set in a not-so-distant future in which events of violence can be experienced by anyone prepared (or able) to pay for the privilege.

After her husband has been violently killed in the U.S., Teresa Simons returns to the land of her birth and visits Bulverton, a (fictional) town on the south coast of England which has recently been torn apart by a massacre. She discovers that the ExEx or Extreme Experience virtual reality equipment she used as an FBI trainee has become public "entertainment" put together from people's memories of specific events by vast international companies (and also by shareware programmers). As she becomes embroiled in researching past events in Bulverton, virtual and true realities intertwine with disturbing outcomes.

Priest writes a good yarn, marrying fantasy and horrific reality in a gripping and suspenseful tale. --Sandra Vogel

Book Description

A powerful narrative marrying fantasy and horrific reality in a compelling and alarming tale.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 507 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gateway; New Ed edition (14 July 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0056A2ELM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #119,562 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 15 May 2001
By A Customer
I have never been disappointed in a Christopher Priest novel. Why isn't he more famous? Why hasn't he ever been on the Booker Prize shortlist? This is a wonderful novel about the nature of reality and the causes and effects of violence. It is gripping and superbly written. I actually preferred it to "The prestige". I recommend checking out all his books. (Check out the rave reviews of the hardback version, which annoyingly Amazon don't list under the paperback version.)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Christopher Priest has written several novels where the normal, typical world we live in is changed almost unrecognizably in a subtle manner. In The Extremes, Priest has somehow homed-in on some of the most disturbing issues in the Western World today; the increasing number of spree killings, the remorseless unchecked popularity of the Web, and the introduction of virtual reality technology. These subjects, wrapped-up together, make The Extremes a fascinating book to work through, leaving the reader with many questions to ask, which Priest deliberately leaves the reader to resolve him/herself.
I read The Extremes the same week of the Denver shootings. If the modern world and modern morality seem a bit weird to you these days, then The Extremes will confirm you aren't the only one concerned with the way the world is going.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A haunting, brilliant novel 29 Aug. 2005
By Jane Aland VINE VOICE
The Extremes deals with the emotional aftermath of a Hungerford-style mass killing spree and the curious linkage that seems to exist between it and a similar atrocity in the USA. While the story of a bereaved American widow searching for some kind of closure in a dismal British town is affecting, what transforms The Extremes into something much more exotic is Priest's additional science fiction element of virtual reality to blur the boundaries between fantasy and reality. While Priest's depiction of his world is unconvincing in logical terms (on the one hand Bulverton is painted as a decaying resort town, yet for some reason has a popular state of the art virtual reality centre nearby), it makes for a fantastic dreamlike climax where the nature of reality itself is unsure, particularly when the novel starts breaking down into a fractal pattern, as characters already within virtual reality then enter other virtual realities within. Anyone looking for a standard thriller with a standard final explanation will be disappointed - but anyone looking for a bizarre dreamlike science fiction novel where the technology is of less importance than the characters and prose will love it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clarke Award Nominee - deserves to win 5 Mar. 1999
By A Customer
This novel has been nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award and in my opinion it deserves to win. Chrisopher Priest has been writing fiction for nearly 30 years and he has not been in better form than here, and in the recent 'The Prestige'. It is an examination of violence and the part in plays in all our lives. Dunblane and Hungerford touched all our lives in the UK in both extreme and subtle ways and here Mr. Priest examines the effects these kind of events have on society. It is a richly powerful and provocative novel that deserves to be widely read.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and disturbing 2 Dec. 2001
By Kirk McElhearn TOP 500 REVIEWER
Christopher Preist writes stories that are on the fringe of science fiction. Calling him an SF writer is too limiting - he is a writer with imagination, who writes stories that stretch the limits of imagination.
This novel focuses on one character's virtual reality experiences. What stands out is this book is the way the plot folds over and over, until the reader loses touch with reality.
I say this is a disturbing book as well - when I was reading it, I found it so skewed that I could only read a few paragraphs at a time. I had to stop and do something else for a few minutes, to anchor myself, before coming back to it. Nevertheless, I read it in one day.
This book incites a kind of subconscious itch, a discomfort that arises from not knowing what reality the characters is in. A brilliant work, along the same line as The Prestige, with its multiple realities.
In the end, this novel shows that the book is the ultimate virtual reality device. Preist's mastery of a complex plot leads the reader down dark paths to dead-ends, before finally coming to a totally unexpected resolution.
Great work, Chris.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Silly and Underwritten 19 Nov. 2011
This has an intriguing premise and some challenging ideas, but the writing style is, I'm sorry to say, quite dismal. Priest is no literary stylist that's for sure, which meant the only thing that kept me reading was the force of his ideas - which in this case start to run out of steam well before the end. The style is ultimately the thing that drags this book down for me - it's written in a flat, everyday style which does nothing for the subject matter at all.

Like other reviewers, I foubnd there were great swathes of detail about supporting characters that ultimately played little part in the central narrative. For instance, the GunHo executives who turn up at the Bulverton Hotel - there was an intriguing idea here about the entire town's experience regarding a series of fatal shootings being signed up for eventual programming into a typically expansive ExEx scenario, but by the time the big cheques are bandied about, this particulad thread had run its course and the characters simply disappear, never to be heard from again.

The unfortunate thing with Christopher Priest novels is that there are much better stories to be unearthed within them - something that Chris Nolan did exceptionally well with The Prestige. The Extremes is the same, inasmuch that Inception covers the same ground, but does it a whole lot better.

So, all in all, a diverting read but I struggled to get to the end.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not one of his best.
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A Dream of Bulverton?
OK this isn't Priest's best work - much time is spent on characters who are ultimately pointless, and the central idea seems very similar to A Dream of Wessex. Read more
Published 15 months ago by John W
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect read
Such a great book with twists - really makes you think - the author at his best. Book was in perfect condition and arrived quickly. Thank you.
Published on 4 Jan. 2011 by Jodi-ann Deegan
1.0 out of 5 stars Sadly falls flat
This book has all the delightful English detail that is so Christopher Priest. It is very detailed, tied into the emotions of the main characters and well paced. Read more
Published on 19 Aug. 2009 by C. Fackrell
1.0 out of 5 stars Virtually nothing
I've read a handful of Priest's novels and this is the first one to disappoint me. The Extremes is like certain types of food: it seems nourishing at first but soon betrays itself... Read more
Published on 15 Aug. 2009 by sft
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing
I love some of Priest's work, especially The Affirmation and The Prestige, but The Extremes is so poor in comparison with those books that it is difficult to believe it's the same... Read more
Published on 22 Aug. 2002
3.0 out of 5 stars Worthy but dull
Don't get me wrong, Christopher Priest is one of Britain's greatest (and most underated) authors, and I would give most of the other books he has written 4 or 5 out of five. Read more
Published on 7 Sept. 1999
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