Titan is reissuing two of Christopher Priest’s novels next year: The Adjacent and Islanders and we have the exclusive cover reveals right here. You can see the smaller versions above and the larger versions following the synopses…
“And yet, in a real sense, the awards that we bestow give us a snapshot of where our cultural priorities are in any particular year. And when we grouse about the shortlists and the winners, what we really rail against is the consensus taste that they imply.” – Chris, The King of Elfland’s Second Cousin
“[T]he beauty of the Clarke shortlist is that it’s always going to offend someone.” – Jon Courtenay Grimwood
Last week I discussed one way to think about how we create, interpret, and use literature, building on some ideas of the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. This week I will elaborate on that discussion by examining an episode of controversy that recently arose in the fantastic field of literary production: Christopher Priest’s polemic against the selections for this year’s Clarke Award and the responses to it. Priest’s unblunted critique quickly became a point of contention and fomented a mixture of agreement and backlash from other authors and bloggers across the Internet, which was been the main arena for these struggles for a generation. Indeed, Priest published his polemic on his website and it was quickly disseminated, generating a plethora of responses. While some echoed or extended Priest’s criticisms, others were dismissive; many respondents found Priest’s line of reasoning self-serving or elitist. A few, such as Jeff VanderMeer and Catherynne Valente, used Priest’s diatribe to reflect on matters related to the field. It was often noted that a response like Priest’s was common, as most awards announcements inevitably spawned reactions that took issue with the choices of the awards.
But this characterization only scratches the surface of both Priest’s polemic and the struggle that it engendered.
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