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The Alteration (New York Review Books)

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The Alteration (New York Review Books) Cover

ISBN13: 9781590176177
ISBN10: 1590176170
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In Kingsley Amis’s virtuoso foray into alternate history, it is 1976 but the modern world is a medieval relic, frozen in intellectual and spiritual time ever since Martin Luther was promoted to pope back in the sixteenth century. Stephen the Third, the king of England, has just died, and Mass (Mozart’s second requiem) is about to be sung to lay him to rest. In the choir is our hero, Hubert Anvil, an extremely ordinary ten-year-old boy with a faultless voice. In the audience is a select group of experts whose job is to determine whether that faultless voice should be preserved by performing a certain operation. After all, any sacrifice is worth it for the perfection of art.

 

How Hubert realizes what lies in store for him and how he deals with the whirlpool of piety, menace, terror, and passion that he soon finds himself in are the subject of a classic piece of counterfactual fiction to equal Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle.

The Alteration won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science-fiction novel in 1976.

Synopsis:

In Kingsley Amis’s virtuoso foray into virtual history it is 1976 but the modern world is a medieval relic, frozen in intellectual and spiritual time ever since Martin Luther was promoted to pope back in the sixteenth century. Stephen the Third, the king of England, has just died, and Mass (Mozart’s second requiem) is about to be sung to lay him to rest. In the choir is our hero, Hubert Anvil, an extremely ordinary ten-year-old boy with a faultless voice. In the audience is a select group of experts whose job is to determine whether that faultless voice should be preserved by performing a certain operation. Art, after all, is worth any sacrifice.

How Hubert realizes what lies in store for him and how he deals with the whirlpool of piety, menace, terror, and passion that he soon finds himself in are the subject of a classic piece of counterfactual fiction equal to Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle.

The Alteration won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science-fiction novel in 1976.

About the Author

Kingsley Amis (1922–1995) was a popular and prolific British novelist, poet, and critic, widely regarded as one of the greatest satirical writers of the twentieth century. He won an English scholarship to St. John’s College, Oxford, where he began a lifelong friendship with fellow student Philip Larkin. Following army service during World War II, Amis completed his degree and joined the faculty at the University College of Swansea in Wales. Lucky Jim, his first novel, appeared in 1954 to great acclaim and won a Somerset Maugham Award; from that point on he would publish roughly a book a year. Amis received the Booker Prize for his novel The Old Devils in 1986 and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1990.

William Gibson is one of the best-known North American science fiction writers, fêted by The Guardian in 1999 as 'probably the most important novelist of the past two decades'. Gibson has written more than twenty short stories and ten critically acclaimed novels (one in collaboration)  and has contributed articles to several major publications and collaborated extensively with performance artists, filmmakers and musicians. His thought has been cited as an influence on science fiction authors, design, academia, cyberculture, and technology.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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lukas, June 24, 2014 (view all comments by lukas)
"One of the best--possibly the best-alternate-worlds novels in existence."-Philip K. Dick
If you started, as many readers do, with Kingsley Amis's great campus novel "Lucky Jim," you may be frustrated by trying to find another one of his many novels that is at good. He did not age gracefully; his wit curdled, his prejudices became hardened, his sardonic humor turned to crankiness. That's not to say he didn't write some other good books and this, which dabbles in "virtual history," is one of his more interesting efforts. He imagines a world in which Martin Luther, rather than starting the Reformation, became Pope and founded a theocracy. It has enormous promise as an idea and Amis doesn't quite deliver. There are several references to P.K. Dick's counterfactual novel "The Man in the High Castle." You might also like "The Handmaid's Tale," "The Green Man," "Hello America," and "Hocus Pocus."
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781590176177
Author:
Amis, Kingsley
Publisher:
New York Review of Books
Author:
Amis, Kingsley
Author:
Gibson, William
Subject:
Science Fiction and Fantasy-Fantasy
Subject:
Science / General
Subject:
Science Fiction and Fantasy-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20130531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
7.98 x 5.01 x 0.55 in 0.56 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Fantasy » General

The Alteration (New York Review Books) New Trade Paper
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Product details 256 pages New York Review of Books - English 9781590176177 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In Kingsley Amis’s virtuoso foray into virtual history it is 1976 but the modern world is a medieval relic, frozen in intellectual and spiritual time ever since Martin Luther was promoted to pope back in the sixteenth century. Stephen the Third, the king of England, has just died, and Mass (Mozart’s second requiem) is about to be sung to lay him to rest. In the choir is our hero, Hubert Anvil, an extremely ordinary ten-year-old boy with a faultless voice. In the audience is a select group of experts whose job is to determine whether that faultless voice should be preserved by performing a certain operation. Art, after all, is worth any sacrifice.

How Hubert realizes what lies in store for him and how he deals with the whirlpool of piety, menace, terror, and passion that he soon finds himself in are the subject of a classic piece of counterfactual fiction equal to Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle.

The Alteration won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science-fiction novel in 1976.

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