Customer Review

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
This review is from: Inverted World (New York Review Books Classics) (Paperback)
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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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 23 Feb 2010 18:59:42 GMT
monica says:
Thanks for the information about this edition; I might otherwise never have known about a prologue. Cheers.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Apr 2010 18:22:14 BDT
Brian Flange says:
Thanks, Monica. The extra prologue is a bit of a mystery. I can only find it in the NYRB edition above. All best, B.F.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 May 2010 11:58:56 BDT
Last edited by the author on 31 May 2010 10:01:22 BDT
Brian Flange says:
Slightly to my surprise, my review has ended up attached to the new SF Masterworks edition of 'Inverted World' as well as the NYRB edition - which is fine by me. But please note that the SF Masterworks edition has an introduction by Adam Roberts, rather than an afterword by John Clute. It also reprints the Prologue mentioned above.
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