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The Alteration

Authors: Amis, Kingsley
Publisher: New York Review Books
BISAC/Subject: FIC040000, FIC052000, FIC028010, FIC028120
ISBN: 9781590176375, Related ISBNs: 1590176170, 1590176375, 9781590176177, 9781590176375
Classification: Fiction
Number of pages: 256,
Audience: General/trade
Synopsis: BOOKER PRIZE–WINNING AUTHOR

Set in a world in which the Reformation failed, this award-winning science fiction tale is “one of the best . . . alternate-worlds novels in existence” (Philip K. Dick)

 
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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