I was sad to hear that the author Christopher Priest died on February 2, 2024, at the age of 80. He was best known as the author of The Prestige, but his novels, short stories, non-fiction and criticism attracted numerous awards and nominations, and he was respected both within science fiction and literary fiction.
There are fine obituaries in Locus and The Guardian, but I was very fortunate to enjoy a short correspondence with Chris a few months ago. It’s a tribute to his wonderful character that he took the time and helped me to resolve a creative crisis.
I had contacted Chris about his review of Klara And The Sun, which reflected many of my own misgivings on Ishiguro’s previous SF work, Never Let Me Go. He responded a few days later with wit, sympathy and diplomacy, and we exchanged a couple more messages. I was surprised and delighted that an author of his stature would respond to a random self-published writer like myself.
He must have known that cancer was rapidly consuming the time he had left, so I must add a sense of privilege to my gratitude that he gave a few of those precious moments to our correspondence, and in doing so he enabled me to keep writing. It’s also humbling because I don’t think my experience was unusual. From all that I’ve read about Chris, he loved to meet and talk with readers and other writers, and he was known as a writer who could give and receive criticism without animus.
So thank you, Christopher Priest.