Inverted World

  • by Christopher Priest
  • Narrated by Steven Cree
  • 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A uniquely powerful novel of a society in decay. On a planet whose very nature is a mystery a massive decrepit city is pulled along a massive railway track, laying the line down before it as it progresses into the wilderness.
The society within toils under an oppressive regime, its structures always on the point of collapse, the lives of its individuals lived in misery. No one knows where they are going, why they are going or what they will find when they get there. The ending of the novel provides one of the most profound twists in SF.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

mind altering fun

Inverted World is the first book by Priest I've read, and I found it to be a revelation. The main business here is the building of an outlandishly original fantasy world, artfully revealed to us in provocative flashes by a young apprentice named Helward. Without giving anything away (the revealing is so much of the fun!), I'd just say that it's one of the more unique fictional worlds I've inhabited lately, to the point where comparisons are difficult - if you mash up China Mieville, Terry Pratchett and Haruki Murakami, with a dash of George Lucas, you might be in the ball park?

The book is marked by a lot of playful, artful zig zags. Very subtly, the story shifts from a coming of age story to a bizarro, Odyssey-like journey to a chronicle of a very warped world, and back. It's heady, but unlike other brainmelting 70's sci-fi, I found it to be constantly humane - the characters maintain their charm and as a reader I felt like my amusement was the mission. In that respect, I'd say it's more along the lines of Terry Pratchett than Philip K. Dick.

Cree's narration was pitch perfect, in my estimation. He conveys the sound of an awed young apprentice wondering at a world full of new curiosities.

Note: the forward (ie chapter 1 of this audiobook) has what I'd consider to be minor spoilers. A lot of the joy of this book is following his crazy-worldbuilding, and the forward makes a lot of the connections for you. It didn't ruin the book by any means, but I'd recommend skipping it and listening to it after you finish.
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- Eric

Underwhelming-did Priest only write 1 good novel?

Would you try another book from Christopher Priest and/or Steven Cree?

Christopher Priest books are a mixed bag - The Prestige was excellent, but the 2 others I've read are mediocre.

What was most disappointing about Christopher Priest’s story?

The premise is intriguing but the story is boring and the ending is really soft and lame.

What didn’t you like about Steven Cree’s performance?

The thick Scottish accent is really off-putting. I kept expecting him to start singing a Proclaimers song.....

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I think the author wrote this book for the right reasons - for art's sake - but its just a boring and unsatisfying tale.

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- Graeme

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-03-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios