THE PRESTIGE is unique in winning both a major literary prize (the James Tait Black Award) and a major genre prize (The World Fantasy Award) THE PRESTIGE is being filmed by the Nolan Brothers (MEMENTO; the new BATMAN movie) THE SEPARATION won both the Arthur C Clarke and the British Science Fiction Awards 'The Prestige is a brilliantly constructed entertainment, with a plot as simple and intricate as a nest of Chinese boxes ... a dizzying magic show of a novel, chock-a-block with all the props of Victorian sensation fiction' WASHINGTON POST 'Priest's mesmeric power is formidable' THE INDEPENDENT 'A taut, twisting, prize-winning story of two magicians and their fin-de-siecle rivalry that taints successive generations of their respective families ... an unexpectedly compelling fusion of weird science and legerdemain' KIRKUS
Christopher Priest's novels have built him an inimitable dual reputation as a contemporary novelist and a leading figure in modern SF and fantasy. His novel The Prestige won both a prestigious literary award and a major genre prize; The Separation won Britain's two major SF awards. He was selected for the original Best of Young British Novelists in1983 and has gone from strength to strength ever since.
Notions of doubleness pervade this tale of a feud between the families ot two Victorian-era magicians. Alfred Borden and Rupert Angier have spent their careers trying to sabotage one another. When Borden ups the ante by developing a seemingly impossible trick in which he is moved across the stage in a unimaginable short time, Angier responds by enlisting inventor Nikola Tesla to build a turn-of-the-century version of a Star Trek-like transporter. The magicians' story is framed by that of two descendants, affected by the feud in ways they are only beginning to fathom, who meet at the Angier family's desolate country estate. Mixing elements of the psychological novel with fantasy, this is an inventive, if somewhat far-fetched, British neo-Gothic. For most collections.‘Lawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib. Consortium, Andover, Mass.
Priest, one of Granta's Best Young British Novelists (1983 list), has not been overproductive since he made a small reputation with The Affirmation and The Glamour, published here more than a dozen years ago. His new novel (the title of which refers to the residue left after a magician's successful trick) is enthrallingly odd. In a carefully calculated period style that is remarkably akin to that of the late Robertson Davies, Priest writes of a pair of rival magicians in turn-of-the-century London. Each has a winning trick the other craves, but so arcane is the nature of these tricks, so incredibly difficult are they to perform, that they take on a peculiar life of their own‘in one case involving a mysterious apparent double identity, in the other a reliance on the ferocious powers unleashed in the early experimental years of electricity. The rivalry of the two men is such that in the end, though both are ashamed of the strength of their feelings of spite and envy, it consumes them both, and affects their respective families for generations. This is a complex tale that must have been extremely difficult to tell in exactly the right sequence, while still maintaining a series of shocks to the very end. Priest has brought it off with great imagination and skill. It's only fair to say, though, that the book's very considerable narrative grip is its principal virtue. The characters and incidents have a decidedly Gothic cast, and only the restraint that marks the story's telling keeps it on the rails. (Oct.)
The prestige is certainly at home in the presitgious SF masterworks series, You can't lose - and that's no illusion! - British Fantasy Society