The Islanders

Published: Gollancz, 2011, hardcover £12.99. [Paperback, 2012, £7.99, ISBN: 978-0-575-08864-1, pp.339.] In the US: Titan Books — published in 2014.

Awards: BSFA Award for best novel, 2011; John W. Campbell Memorial Award, best novel 2012.

Chris Priest’s twelfth novel takes the outward form of an alphabetical gazetteer of the islands in the Dream Archipelago. Each of the selected islands is given its own chapter, in which intending visitors are advised about sights to visit, health precautions they need to take, flora and fauna to be aware of, and in some cases a brief history of the main events that took place in the past. We also hear about notable inhabitants of the islands and their various activities and entanglements. It is through these people — artists, criminals, scientists, poets — that the story emerges. According to the blurb: ‘… an intriguing, multi-layered tale of a murder and the suspect legacy of its appealing but definitely untrustworthy narrator.’