Thursday, May 1, 2014

Christopher Priest

Science fiction writer Christopher Priest's books include The Prestige, The Islanders, and The Adjacent.

From his Q & A with Nicole Hill at The Barnes & Noble Book Blog:

The Adjacent, much like The Prestige and your other works, uses misdirection (and the presence of a stage magician or two) to great advantage. What’s your particular fondness for that technique?

Magicians and novelists use similar techniques! An illusion is a story, it has a plot, it has surprises, it’s inventive, it’s a form of entertainment—and none of it is real. Magicians misdirect by playing to the audience’s assumptions.

A novelist misdirects the reader with plot: it’s a contrivance, a way of telling the story. Details are leaked out one at a time. Some things are not revealed or discussed until later. The reader knows from the outset that it’s fiction, it’s not real. But (like magic) fiction can seem real enough, can contain elements of reality that the reader will recognize. The book might be set in New York, Geneva, Caracas…all real places, and the reader will have some kind of pre-knowledge of them, sometimes a close knowledge, sometimes just a vague knowledge. But the novel will do something different with the setting, something made up. The reader is misdirected.

To answer your question, when I was researching The Prestige, I realized...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue