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Inverted World (New York Review Books…

Inverted World (New York Review Books Classics) (original 1974; edition 2008)

by Christopher Priest, John Clute (Afterword)

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Title:Inverted World (New York Review Books Classics)
Authors:Christopher Priest
Other authors:John Clute (Afterword)
Info:NYRB Classics (2008), Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library

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Inverted World by Christopher Priest (1974)



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English (28)  French (3)  Italian (1)  All languages (32)
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
An incredible read. ( )
  JohnCondello | Apr 2, 2014 |
"Sit down, please." Reluctantly, Helward complied. "Don't think I'm inhuman, but
ironically this expedition will reveal to you why some of the city's customs might seem to be inhuman. It is our way, and it is forced on us. I understand your concern for . . . Victoria, but you must go down past. There is no better way for you to understand the situation of the city. What lies there to the south of us is the reason for the oath, for the apparent barbarisms of our ways.

I read this book a long time ago, and decided to re-read it after it was reviewed on the sfbrp podcast. I spent most of the book wondering how the authorities had remained unaware of this city moving across the countryside on rails, as although I remembered the premise of the story, I had forgotten that it takes place a couple of hundred years after civilisation crashed due to running out of fossil fuels. Most of the story is told by Helward Man a member of the Future Surveyors guild, and the rest by Elizabeth Khan, who is not from the City, but I think the book could have been better if some of the story had been told from the point of view of Victoria and the Terminators (who wanted the city to stop moving), as the story comes to rather an abrupt end after the meeting where Elizabeth explains the true nature of the City. ( )
  isabelx | Mar 20, 2014 |
The Inverted World is choke-full of big ideas for a relatively short book. But the real problem with this book is, towards the end, Priest turns unconvincingly realistic with his approach and hence it seems a bit rushed and a lot of things are left unexplained.

I think Priest wrote himself into a corner and then seeing no way out, rushed towards a more realistic and thus an anti-climatic end. But in retrospect, I think that might have been the only way as he himself was not sure how to end the book convincingly enough the message he wanted to convey was drastically different than I had expected while reading the book.

My suggestion to anyone who is interested in reading this book would be to start it without reading any reviews anywhere, and that’s the reason I am not even going to summarize the plot here.

The book will hold your attention right till the end as something weird and/ or amazing is always happening, but don’t expect to get all your questions answered as the ambiguity about certain scientific phenomena is never going to be elucidated in the context of the plot.

But even with its rather dull ending, this book is not likely to disappoint as the rest is pretty good.

3.5 stars. ( )
  Veeralpadhiar | Mar 31, 2013 |
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 | Mar 31, 2013 |
This was a bit of a mind bending read, but I enjoyed it. Learning what's going on slowly as the character did heightened the suspense.

The main character was sympathetic and I enjoyed following his travels. ( )
  ShannaRedwind | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (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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Whereso'er I turn my view,
All is strange, yet nothing new;
Endless labour all along,
Endless labour to be wrong
— Samuel Johnson
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.)
Disambiguation notice
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060134216, Hardcover)

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

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