Christopher Priest (novelist)
14 July 1943 |
Cheadle, United Kingdom
|Period||1966 – present|
|Genres||Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction, Slipstream|
|Notable work(s)||Inverted World, The Affirmation, The Glamour, The Prestige, The Separation, The Islanders|
|Notable award(s)||See below|
Christopher Priest (born 14 July 1943 in Cheadle, Greater Manchester) is a British novelist and science fiction writer. His works include Fugue for a Darkening Island, Inverted World, The Affirmation, The Glamour, The Prestige and The Separation.
One of his early novels, The Affirmation, concerns a traumatized man who apparently flips into a delusional world in which he experiences a lengthy voyage to an archipelago of exotic islands. This setting featured in many of Priest's short stories, which raises the question of whether the Dream Archipelago is actually a fantasy. The state of mind depicted in this novel is similar to that of the delusional fantasy-prone psychoanalytic patient ("Kirk Allen") in Robert Lindner's The Fifty-Minute Hour, or Jack London's tortured prisoner in The Star Rover.
Priest also dealt with delusional alternate realities in A Dream of Wessex in which a group of experimenters for a British government project are brain-wired to a hypnosis machine and jointly participate in an imaginary but as-real-as-real future in a vacation island off the coast of a Sovietized Britain.
His most recent novels are The Islanders (2011), set in the Dream Archipelago, and The Adjacent (2013), a multi-strand narrative with recurring characters.
Priest was approached to write stories for the 18th and 19th seasons of Doctor Who. The first, "Sealed Orders", was a political thriller based on Gallifrey; it was eventually abandoned due to script problems and replaced with "Warriors' Gate". The second, "The Enemy Within", was also eventually abandoned due to script problems and what Priest perceived as insulting treatment after he was asked to modify the script to include the death of Adric. It was replaced by "Earthshock". This falling-out soured the attitude of the production office to the use of established literary authors, and no more were commissioned until Neil Gaiman authored the episode "The Doctor's Wife" in 2011.
A film of his novel The Prestige was released on 20 October 2006. It was directed by Christopher Nolan and starred Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman. Despite differences between the novel and screenplay, Nolan was reportedly so concerned the denouement be kept a surprise that he blocked plans for a lucrative US tie-in edition of the book.
Work under pseudonyms
- Priest uses the pseudonyms John Luther Novak and Colin Wedgelock, usually for movie novelizations. As well as the eXistenZ novelization (which undermined the pseudonym by including Priest's biography on the pre-title page), he has novelised the movies Mona Lisa (as John Luther Novak) and Short Circuit (as Colin Wedgelock).
- Priest has co-operated with fellow British science fiction author David Langford on various enterprises under the Ansible brand.
Awards and honours
He won the BSFA award for short fiction in 1979 for the short story "Palely Loitering"; and has been nominated for Hugo Awards in the categories of Best Novel, Best Novella, Best Novelette, and Best Non-Fiction Book (this last for The Book on the Edge of Forever (also known as Last Deadloss Visions), an exploration of the unpublished Last Dangerous Visions anthology). The Space Machine won the International SF prize in the 1977 Ditmar Awards . Priest's 1979 essay "The Making of the Lesbian Horse" (published as a Novacon chapbook) takes a humorous look at the roots of his acclaimed novel Inverted World. He was guest of honour at Novacon 9 in 1979 and Novacon 30 in 2000, and at the 63rd World Science Fiction Convention in 2005.
Between 7 November and 7 December 2007, the Chelsea College of Art and Design had an exhibition in its gallery Chelsea Space inspired by Priest's novel The Affirmation. It followed "themes of personal history and memory (which) through the lens of a more antagonistic and critical form of interpretation, aims to point towards an overtly positive viewpoint on contemporary art practice over any traditional melancholy fixation."
- Indoctrinaire, (n.) Faber and Faber, London, 1970
- Fugue for a Darkening Island, (n.) Faber and Faber, London, 1972—Campbell nominee, 1973
- The Inverted World, (n.) Faber and Faber, London, 1974—BSFA winner, 1974, Hugo Award nominee, 1975
- The Space Machine, (n.) Faber and Faber, London, 1976
- A Dream of Wessex (US title The Perfect Lover), (n.) Faber and Faber, London, 1977
- The Affirmation, (n.) Faber and Faber, London, 1981—BSFA nominee, 1981
- The Glamour, (n.) Jonathan Cape, London, 1984—BSFA nominee, 1984
- Short Circuit, (n.) Sphere Books, 1986 (Film tie-in novelisation as Colin Wedgelock)
- Mona Lisa, (n.) Sphere Books, 1986 (Film tie-in novelisation as John Luther Novak)
- The Quiet Woman, (n.) Bloomsbury, London, 1990
- The Prestige, (n.) Touchstone, Simon and Schuster, London, 1995—BSFA nominee, 1995; World Fantasy Award winner, James Tait Black Memorial Prize winner, Clarke Awards nominee, 1996
- The Extremes, (n.) Simon and Schuster, London, 1998—BSFA winner, 1998; Clarke Award nominee, 1999
- eXistenZ, (n.) Harper, 1999 (Film tie-in novelisation)
- The Separation, (n) Scribner, 2002; Old Earth Books 2005—BSFA winner, 2002; Clark Award winner, Campbell Award nominee, 2003
- The Islanders Gollancz, 2011-BSFA winner, 2011; Campbell Award winner, 2012
- The Adjacent Gollancz, 20 June 2013 
Short Story collections
- Real-time World, (s.s.) Faber and Faber 1975 - reissued 2009
- An Infinite Summer, (s.s.) Faber and Faber 1979 (three stories reissued in "The Dream Archipelago")
- The Dream Archipelago, (s.s.) Earthlight 1999 - reissued 2009
- Ersatz Wines - Instructive Short Stories (s.s.) GrimGrin Studio 2008 (anthology of early works)
Short stories and other works
- "The Run", (ss) SF Impulse, May 1966 [Volume 1 Number 3]
- "Conjugation", (ss) New Worlds, #169 December 1966
- "Impasse", (sss) SF Impulse, February 1967 [Volume 1 Number 12]
- "The Ersatz Wine", (ss) New Worlds, #171 March 1967
- "The Match", (ss) Tit-Bits, 11 November 1967
- "Occupation Force", (ss) Tit-Bits, 25 November 1967
- "The Haul" [with Dick Howett], (ss) Tit-Bits, 31 August 1968
- "The Interrogator", (nv) New Writings in SF 15, editor John Carnell, London: Dobson, 1969
- "The Perihelion Man", (nv) New Writings in SF 16, editor John Carnell, London: Dobson, 1969
- "Breeding Ground", (ss) Vision of Tomorrow, January 1970
- "Double Consummation", (ss) The Disappearing Future, editor George Hay, Panther, 1970
- "Fire Storm", (ss) Quark/#1, editor Samuel R. Delany & Marilyn Hacker, Paperback Library, 1970
- "Nothing Like the Sun", (ss) Vision of Tomorrow #10, July 1970
- "Real-Time World", (nv) New Writings in SF 19, editor John Carnell, London: Dobson, 1971
- "Sentence in Binary Code", (ss) Fantastic, August 1971
- "The Head and the Hand", (ss) New Worlds Quarterly 3, editor Michael Moorcock, London: Sphere, 1972
- "The Inverted World", (nv) New Writings in SF 22, editor Kenneth Bulmer, London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1973
- "Transplant", (ss) Worlds of If, January/February 1974
- "A Woman Naked", (ss) Science Fiction Monthly, v1 #1 1974
- "The Invisible Men", (ss) Stopwatch, editor George Hay, New English Library, 1974
- Your Book of Film-Making, (n.f.) Faber and Faber, London 1974
- "Men of Good Value", (ss) New Writings in SF 26, editor Kenneth Bulmer, London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1975
- "The Cremation", (nv) Andromeda 3, editor Peter Weston, London: Futura, 1978
- "The Negation", (nv) Anticipations, editor Christopher Priest, Scribner's, 1978
- "The Watched", (na) The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, April 1978
- "Whores", (ss) New Dimensions 8, editor Robert Silverberg, Harper & Row, 1978
- "Palely Loitering", (nv) The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 1979
- "The Agent" (with David Redd), (nv) Aries 1, editor John Grant, David & Charles, 1979
- The Making of the Lesbian Horse (n.f.), Novacon 9 (for the Birmingham Science Fiction Group), 1979
- "The Miraculous Cairn", (nv) New Terrors #2, editor Ramsey Campbell, London: Pan, 1980
- "The Ament", (nv) Seven Deadly Sins: A Collection of New Fiction, editor anon., Severn House, London 1985
- The Book on the Edge of Forever, (n.f.) Fantagraphics, Seattle, June 1993
- "In a Flash" (from The Prestige), (ex) Interzone, #99 September 1995
- "I, Haruspex", (ss) The Third Alternative, #16 1998
- "The Equatorial Moment", (ss) The Dream Archipelago, Earthlight, 1999
- "The Cage of Chrome", (sss) Interzone, #156 June 2000
- "The Discharge", (ss) SciFi.com Website 13 February 2002
- "A Dying Fall", (ss) Asimov’s Science Fiction December 2006 [Volume 20 Number 12]
- "The Trace of Him", (ss) Interzone February 2008 [Issue 214]
- The Magic - the story of a film, (n.f.) GrimGrin Studio, Hastings, 2008
- The Stooge [screenplay], 2010 or 2011
- "Widow's Weeds", (ss) House of Fear: An Anthology of Haunted House Stories, editor Jonathan Oliver, Oxford: Solaris Books, 2011
- "1974 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 17 May 2009.
- "1998 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
- "2002 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
- "2011 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
- "1996 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 17 May 2009.
- "1979 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 17 May 2009.
- "1975 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
- "1981 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
- "1984 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
- "1995 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
- "1999 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
- "2003 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 29 June 2009.
- "Christopher Priest - The Adjacent cover art and synopsis reveal". Upcoming4.me. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- Priest, Christopher (30 December 2011). "The Stooge online". Christopher Priest. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
- "The Stooge". Back Stage 53 (19): 32. 10 May 2012. "Arekita Productions is casting The Stooge, a short film from a screenplay by Christopher Priest... The story follows a downtrodden but determined man seeking work as a magician's assistant who enters the world of a legendary illusionist and a captivating showgirl, and soon realizes that the world of magic reveals more surprises than he could ever have imagined."
- London Calling Interview with Christopher Priest
- Christopher Priest at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Christopher Priest's web site
- His story "The Discharge" at Sci Fiction
- 1995 interview by David Langford, includes brief summaries and comments by Priest on most of his novels to date.
- His Guest of Honour speech at the 2005 World Science Fiction Convention
- (French) Interview de Christopher Priest in Actusf.com