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The Prestige
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Group Reads 2014 > November 2014 group read - The Prestige

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message 1: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo | 1092 comments This folder is for discussions about November 2014's group read The Prestige by Christopher Priest


message 2: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo | 1092 comments I really like Christopher Priest but i've just seen it's about magicians. Can't imagine sci-fi and magicians so I wonder if it will be more fantasy based. Anyway i'll soon find out as i've started reading it this morning.


Salem Salem | 11 comments I'm looking for a copy of it. I saw the movie years ago and did not realize there was a novel behind it. I'm very curious to check out the author's version and also to discover a new (to me) voice.


message 4: by Buck (last edited Nov 01, 2014 07:27AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Buck (spectru) | 896 comments I'm about a quarter of the way into this. So far there's hardly a hint of science fiction, or fantasy either. After the first part, we are reading from the magician's memoir supposedly written just after the turn of the twentieth century. The prose is good, in a Victorian style but not too stodgy. It is quite different, in both style and story, from The Inverted World, that we read recently.


message 5: by Buck (last edited Nov 01, 2014 07:31AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Buck (spectru) | 896 comments Jo wrote: "I really like Christopher Priest but i've just seen it's about magicians. Can't imagine sci-fi and magicians so I wonder if it will be more fantasy based. Anyway i'll soon find out as i've started ..."

https://www.worldswithoutend.com puts it in the fantasy genre with sub-genre tags of dark fantasy, contemporary fantasy, and soft SF.


Zeynep (zonder) | 10 comments Interesting story, but this is one of the rare cases where the film (by Christopher Nolan) is better than the book, IMHO. The ending is different in the film and I think works much better than the book's ending. And, of course, David Bowie is fantastic as Nikola Tesla.


message 7: by Andreea (new)

Andreea Pausan | 4 comments I didn't like the book in the beginning, I could not understand what the story was. But little by little, I got drawn into the story, the voices overlap and join like in a symphony, while the mystery unravels like a puzzle. And the story comes together only with the last line. I believe this is a best suspense building I have ever encountered: you think you are off the hook, when some minor detail engages you again. Brilliant.


message 8: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo | 1092 comments I'm about 40% of the way through but I really can't imagine this book as a film, especially one directed by Christopher Nolan.

From previous books by Christopher Priest I know I have to be patient as his books always grow on you but I really can't see where this one is going.


Buck (spectru) | 896 comments Jo wrote: "I'm about 40% of the way through but I really can't imagine this book as a film, especially one directed by Christopher Nolan.

From previous books by Christopher Priest I know I have to be patien..."


I'm farther along that your are, Jo. There are clues along the way, I think, I'm guessing. In the very first part of the book there is some talk about the leader of a religious cult being bi-locational and Andrew Westley, the narrator of the first part, believes that he must have an unknown twin. Twins and being in two places at once are recurring elements in the story. I expect that they will be entangled in the resolution of the book.


message 10: by Buck (last edited Nov 04, 2014 09:36AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Buck (spectru) | 896 comments About two thirds along, Nicola Tesla is approached by Rupert Angier about building a device for his magic act. After Angier explains what he wants, Tesla says, "Energy and matter are but two manifestations of the same force. Surely you realize this. Then you already know the answer, though I must add that I cannot see why anyone would want to transmit matter."

I was astonished that Tesla would say such a thing. Why would anyone want to transmit matter, indeed! Of course these words were put in Tesla's mouth by Christopher Priest. I think Tesla would have instantly recognized the value of transporting matter without mechanical conveyance. Didn't Tesla watch Star Trek?

Of course if Tesla had invented a Star Trek style transporter, there wouldn't be an electric automobile named after him today.


message 11: by Jo (last edited Nov 05, 2014 09:22AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo | 1092 comments Buck wrote: "About two thirds along, Nicola Tesla is approached by Rupert Angier about building a device for
his magic act. After Angier explains what he wants, Tesla says, "Energy and matter are but two manif..."


Funnily enough i've been reading some old science magazines, one of which had an article on Nicola Tesla and his thoughts on electricity, this is one of his quotes:

War will be rendered harmless by being reduced to a sort of game between ‘telautaumata,’ machines which behave “just like a blind-folded person obeying instructions received through the ear,” any one of which is “enabled to move and to perform all its operations with reason and intelligence.”

Pretty impressive prediction from 1900!


message 12: by Buck (last edited Nov 07, 2014 05:01PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Buck (spectru) | 896 comments Finished.

The science fiction comes in with Tesla's device. Not only does it transport a man, the magician, but it has a more morbid effect that is only hinted at, but is revealed in the end.

Alfred Borden's Twin and his grandson Andrew Westley's twin are both germane to the story but are unrelated to one another.

There are lots of hints and suggestions as we go along. I suspect they would be obvious to us on a rereading of the book, but they are certainly not obvious in the first reading. I have vage recollections of references earlier in the book... If only I could have recalled what Priest has written about this one or the other.


message 13: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo | 1092 comments I've finished too, quite enjoyable but not my favorite Christopher Priest book. The ending was strange and I'm going to have to track a copy of the film down next to see what the difference is.


message 14: by Buck (new) - rated it 3 stars

Buck (spectru) | 896 comments The climax doesn't seem quite to live up to the protracted build-up. The only other Priest I've read was our recent monthly read, The Inverted World. The two are quite different from one another. The writing styles are different too. I have no qualms about reading more Christopher Priest.


Michael | 7 comments I enjoyed this - I read it ages ago when the film came out. Last time around I enjoyed the film more, but re-reading it I think some of the bookending in the novel works better than I remember.


Salem Salem | 11 comments I only just picked up a copy. I'm not sure why the first chapter was necessary, but I'm enjoying being past it and into the epistolary side of the writing...


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