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Inverted World by Christopher Priest
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Inverted World (1974)

by Christopher Priest

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» See also 40 mentions

English (31)  French (4)  Italian (1)  All languages (36)
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Don't get too far ahead of your gravity field. ( )
  HenryKrinkle | Jul 23, 2014 |
What a wonderfully executed book! The structure of the book, its pace, how it negotiates between first-person, third-person, and a more distanced narrator in one section, are all handled superbly and lend a cadence to the episodes in the novel as well.

I did almost give up halfway through Part 1, and I assume many readers might find the detailed pages—and pages and pages—of track-laying laborious. But, just as it is laborious for Helward, so, too, must it be for the reader; this is the crux of the "inverted world" and having this background allows what happens to make sense... as well as nonsense.

What I really found interesting here was how Priest handles gender and class in this seemingly organized world of the city. The social commentary here, aimed right back at late-1960s and early-1970s Britain, is unabrasive but it is also unrelenting, proving that speculative fiction can speak to social and cultural issues "on the ground," as it were.

Having not really read around much in the genre of speculative and/or science fiction apart from Atwood and some of the more canonical titles, I will say that Priest's ease at handling this material—and his talent at making it resonate and be of such immense interest—has me very eager to explore this genre in some more depth. ( )
  proustitute | Jul 17, 2014 |
Book Description
Publication Date: December 12, 2012
The city is winched along tracks through a devastated land full of hostile tribes. Rails must be freshly laid ahead of the city and carefully removed in its wake. Rivers and mountains present nearly insurmountable challenges to the ingenuity of the city’s engineers. But if the city does not move, it will fall farther and farther behind the “optimum” into the crushing gravitational field that has transformed life on Earth. The only alternative to progress is death.

The secret directorate that governs the city makes sure that its inhabitants know nothing of this. Raised in common in crèches, nurtured on synthetic food, prevented above all from venturing outside the closed circuit of the city, they are carefully sheltered from the dire necessities that have come to define human existence. And yet the city is in crisis. The people are growing restive, the population is dwindling, and the rulers know that, for all their efforts, slowly but surely the city is slipping ever farther behind the optimum.

Helward Mann is a member of the city’s elite. Better than anyone, he knows how tenuous is the city’s continued existence. But the world—he is about to discover—is infinitely stranger than the strange world he believes he knows so well. ( )
  camtb | May 23, 2014 |
http://nwhyte.livejournal.com/2281091.html

I had of course read this many many years ago; I liked it back then, and I liked it again on re-reading. The core concept is that our protagnist and his people are involved in transporting their city, on rails, across a landscape of varied terrain; and we discover that the landscape itself changes drastically, as does their experience of it, depending on how far ahead or behind they venture on the city's path.

The at the end there is a Big Reveal, which completely inverts our take on the city and what exactly is going on. I see some critics complaining that this spoils the story, but for me it doesn't - it makes the point that everyone's perspective is wrong, in the end, and the inversion may not be where you think. Having said that, the logic of the conclusion is not a hopeful one for the people of the city. ( )
  nwhyte | May 3, 2014 |
An incredible read. ( )
  JohnCondello | Apr 2, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
"... it is certainly one of the strangest SF novels of all time. Unfortunately the ending lets you down almost as badly as the traditional dream in Nineteenth Century stories."
added by RBeffa | editAnalog Science Fiction/Sciencd Fact, P. Shuyler Miller (Nov 7, 1975)
 

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christopher Priestprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lye, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nenonen, KariTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stephenson, Andrew M.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stephenson,Andrew M.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Whereso'er I turn my view,
All is strange, yet nothing new;
Endless labour all along,
Endless labour to be wrong
— Samuel Johnson
Dedication
To my mother and father
First words
Elizabeth Khan closed the door of the surgery, and locked it. (From Prologue)
I had reached the age of six hundred and fifty miles. (From Chapter 1 of Part 1)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060134216, Hardcover)

Good condition

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:00 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The city is winched along tracks through a devastated land full of hostile tribes. Rails must be freshly laid ahead of the city and carefully removed in its wake. Rivers and mountains present nearly insurmountable challenges to the ingenuity of the city's engineers. But if the city does not move, it will fall farther and farther behind the "optimum" into the crushing gravitational field that has transformed life on Earth. The only alternative to progress is death. The secret directorate that governs the city makes sure that its inhabitants know nothing of this. Raised in common in creches, nurtured on synthetic food, prevented above all from venturing outside the closed circuit of the city, they are carefully sheltered from the dire necessities that have come to define human existence. And yet the city is in crisis. The people are growing restive, the population is dwindling, and the rulers know that, for all their efforts, slowly but surely the city is slipping ever farther behind the optimum. Helward Mann is a member of the city's elite. Better than anyone, he knows how tenuous is the city's continued existence. But the world--he is about to discover--is infinitely stranger than the strange world he believes he knows so well.… (more)

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