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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The very height of 'High Concept' SF, and a cracking story to boot
Partly on the back of the justly-celebrated film of his 1995 masterpiece 'The Prestige', Chris Priest has recently been receiving something a little bit closer to the amount of attention and praise his work deserves. If you've enjoyed other Priest books, you owe yourself a copy of the majestic invention that is 'Inverted World'. High-concept SF can be a joy if...
Published on 21 Sep 2009 by Brian Flange

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but a little contrived and predictable
I bought this book on the recommendation of a friend, and was a little disappointed, but then I think I had higher expectations.

It's an interesting concept, but I found the "twist" to be a little contrived, and the final few pages were always obvious right from the beginning - there simply was no other way it could end.

I think the problem is that...
Published on 11 April 2012 by Mike N


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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The very height of 'High Concept' SF, and a cracking story to boot, 21 Sep 2009
Partly on the back of the justly-celebrated film of his 1995 masterpiece 'The Prestige', Chris Priest has recently been receiving something a little bit closer to the amount of attention and praise his work deserves. If you've enjoyed other Priest books, you owe yourself a copy of the majestic invention that is 'Inverted World'. High-concept SF can be a joy if undertaken by experts and 'Inverted World' is built around the 'highest' concept SF has seen for a very long time. While coming up with the notion of a world shaped like a hyperboloid with infinite limits at its poles and equator seems difficult enough, putting that notion to work in a compelling fiction seems a harder thing still. And yet Priest pulls it off: the world of his slightly dissociated exploratory Guildsman, Helward Mann, proves to be inverted in more ways than one and to reflect an odd light back on what we take to be our world. Without giving too much away, fans of later Priest books like 'The Affirmation' and 'The Prestige' will find in 'Inverted World' an early but powerful use of many of Priest's most interesting and enduring concerns. Incidentally, the NYRB Classics edition of 'Inverted World' contains a short but significant 'Prologue' which (I think) has never been printed in any of the many British editions that the novel has clocked-up since its initial publication in 1974. (Certainly the 'Prologue' doesn't appear in my old, beloved, 1986 Gollancz edition or the edition in Vol. 2 of the 1999 Christopher Priest omnibus.) The NYRB edition also has an engaging and informative afterword from John Clute, who relates 'Inverted World' usefully to Priest's other works and British SF as a whole. So this edition is well worth acquiring even if you're already a fan.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars who cares about martin amis?, 17 May 2008
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On his website, Christopher Priest includes a damning review of this book by Martin Amis, presumably on the grounds that if Martin Amis says it's bad, it must be good. In fact it is good, very good indeed. Certainly in my top ten SF. The idea behind it is utterly original. It is set in a universe where all the "spheres" (incl. the earth and sun) are (or appear to be: that is the question) hyperboloids. Some of the passages were responsible for more powerful dreams than any other book has ever caused me.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A forgotten gem, 24 Feb 2009
The city of Earth is a strange place. Few of its inhabitants are ever allowed out of the city. The few that are allowed are confronted by a bizarre situation. The city, all its buildings and inhabitants have been hoisted onto tracks and it is being slowly winched across the land. The reason for this and the ultimate destination of the city are unknown. Even stranger is the fact that no one is interested in straying far from the city. Those who do stray are often gone for years and then come back changed, distant and withdrawn, unwilling to talk about what they have seen.

Clearly the central protagonist of the novel is amongst the few who will get to leave the city and slowly learn the secrets of this bizarre world.

Of all weird world novels this novel is set in the weirdest world of them all. The revelations as to what the situation is and why it exists is gradually presented at just the right speed to keep you hooked.

Although in reality the book follows the age-old fantasy travelogue style of merely allowing the central character to wander from one edge of the world to the other, in this case it is worth going along for the ride. The situation is so bizarre that exploration is just what you want to read. The only real fault is that the ultimate revelation as to just what it has all been about is a trifle contrived, but that is ok, otherwise this book would have been perfect and perhaps not be such a forgotten gem.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting idea, 18 Aug 2010
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This review is from: Inverted World (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
I randomly found this book while browsing. since then, i have bought several others in the SF masterworks series due to this story.

The entire concept is shocking and compelling. the personal struggles, sacrifices and daily routines are actually quite powerful. this book shows what people will do to carry on when they feel they must.

There are some very good parts where Priest descibes how things change during a journey. its rewarding to imagine it as if there yourself, what you would see and feel while moving through some trippy scenery.

Another thing i got from this novel was a broad view of a struggle that must be won at all costs. in a lot of ways this book mainly deals with struggles of varying scale and type.

As the end nears much is revealed and this creates some of the best parts. knowing puts things into context.

Definitely worth reading. i couldnt put this book down.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Sci Fi, 8 Jan 2011
By 
Dim Tim (Wolverhampton) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Inverted World (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
I bought this book to read on the beach on holiday but was so captivated I finished it in the first two days of my holiday! I won't describe the plot because others have already done that but will say this is one of the most innovative and original sci-fi books I've read in a while (and I've read a lot). Not the usual space opera/end of world stuff you get now-a-days but a story with a great twists at the end. When I ledt the resort I donated the book to the book share scheme - I hope others get to enjoy it as much as I did.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully imaginative idea, 15 Nov 2010
This review is from: Inverted World (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
An entire city, its inhabitants closed off from the outside world by high walls and a code of secrecy, is steadily made to traverse a treacherous landscape. It has to keep moving. The truth about its perilous condition is known only to an elite group of guild members who, down the generations, have been responsible for keeping the city on the move, allowing the citizens to live in benign ignorance. With that enticing picture, we follow the life of a young man, newly initiated into the guild system, as he gradually learns the reality of the city's situation. Then things start to change. The idea of the city being dragged along was enough to lure me into buying this book. The images conjured up by it stayed with me long after finishing it. A unique, imaginative tale.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the most haunting SF books I have read, 5 Oct 2010
By 
W. Robinson "Big Bill Robinson" (Slough, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Inverted World (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
The wonderful thing about SF is that one can create an entire world which is utterly different from our own, even a different shape! Hal Clement has done this in his book "Mission of Gravity" and Christopher Priest has a bash at it in this book, and does it brilliantly, creating a planet of hyperbolic shape, but one inhabited by normal people, who speak to each other in a polite and matter-of-fact way.

Imagine a kind of enormous railway carriage in which people live, being hauled along railway tracks across the desert. Why are they moving? Why make that colossal effort? Almost everyone living in the City, as the vast carriage is known, have no idea why. Only those who have left the City to explore are aware of the reason, and they are under sentence of death if they reveal the truth.

How can people be persuaded to keep the faith? How do they overcome obstacles in their path, to keep the City on the move? And above all, WHY? This highly-imaginative and haunting novel really keeps you guessing.

I thought about giving this 5 stars, as I notice other reviewers have done. My feeling is that it falls just a mite short of this. Personally I didn't quite get the ending, for a reason which I am unable to reveal, as it promptly gives away part of the plot! Nonetheless, certainly 4 stars and full respect to those who have given 5. Highly recommended to all SF fans.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ..and about time, too!, 10 July 2010
By 
NB STEPHENSON "galaxysurfer" (Lancs, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Inverted World (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
I'll start off by admitting that I don't actually own, or have ever read, THIS book!

HOWEVER......I say 'THIS book' as this is the first time I've seen the actual FULL and UNABRIDGED version of this fantastic (in both senses of the word) story.
I have the original 1974 edition of ' New writings in S.F.22' (edited by Kennneth Bulmer; Corgi Books No.0 552 09492 7)and in it is this story,(albeit only 39.5 pages long of it)!
The story has been one of my all-time favourites and I have returned to read it again and again over the years, as the imagination of the author, and the situation of the characters (not to mention the world they live on) has enthralled me time and again.
Despite knowing the beginning, the middle and the end of the story, I'm definitely going to be getting this to 'fill-in the missing bits', so to speak.
After all, I've waited 36 long years to see anywhere it in it's entirety!
If it's anything near as good as the abridged version, then I'm sure I won't be disappointed!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Striking early work by this underrated novelist, 10 Aug 2010
By 
Sarah A. Brown (Cambridge) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Inverted World (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Although none of Priest's novels can be described as conventional, I thought this was perhaps one of the very oddest. The setting is mind-bendingly bizarre. At first the characters seem to inhabit a comparatively normal city, and much of the novel is spent discovering (alongside the hero) its true nature - and exploring the even stranger world which lies beyond its walls.

Inverted World is an extremely compelling novel, which combines a hard sf core with plenty of human interest - in fact at times `Inverted World' reads (superficially at least) like a heroic fantasy novel as we follow the progress of the hero, Helward, through his initiation into an elite guild, his arduous training, and his call to adventure. Priest's is a highly individual voice, and he resists pigeonholing. Reading `Inverted World; is a very strange, but very rewarding, experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A moving imaginative SF, 23 Dec 2010
This review is from: Inverted World (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
I am not a reader of SciFi literature. But I am beginning to change my mind after reading this book. A brilliantly imaginative idea of a city moving through an inhospitable landscape, pulled along tracks by the city inhabitants. The storytelling defies the lumbering images that the basic motif may draw up---its brisk and subtle. The book never allows the reader to fully have a grasp of the world of this city. Inverted World draws towards a surprisingly moving and haunting end.
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Inverted World (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
Inverted World (S.F. MASTERWORKS) by Christopher Priest (Paperback - 13 May 2010)
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