The Affirmation

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The Affirmation
First edition
Author Christopher Priest
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Science fiction
Publisher Faber and Faber
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 213
ISBN 0-571-11684-1
OCLC 8031278

The Affirmation is a 1981 science fiction novel by British writer Christopher Priest.


Peter Sinclair endures professional unemployment and the breakup of a long-term relationship, and tries to escape his self-perceived newfound social marginality through creating an intricate fantasy fiction. In this world, he depicts himself as the winner of a lottery in the (fictional) Dream Archipelago, where the jackpot prize is a complex medical and neural operation (“athanasia”) that will ensure immortality. His fictional/alternate self must travel from Jethra, Faiandland's capital, to claim the treatment prize. As he writes, working ever deeper into his psyche, Sinclair finds that his two identities are starting to merge, although it may also be the case that Peter is experiencing visual and auditory hallucination symptoms attributable to the onset of schizophrenia. The novel's climax leaves the fact ambiguous as to which world is real and which is fantasy, with the novel ending in the same unfinished sentence as Sinclair's manuscript.

There are subsequent references to the Dream Archipelago in Priest's later short story collections, The Dream Archipelago (1999) and The Islanders (2011). However, it is uncertain whether this means that Sinclair is validly experiencing an alternate reality, or schizophrenia through visual and auditory hallucinations of that "reality."


The Affirmation won the Ditmar Award in 1982 for Best International Long Fiction, and was nominated for the 1981 BSFA Award.[1]


  1. ^ "1981 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-09-28. 

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