The Inverted World is a rather fun, quick read. However, the back cover promises a very surprising twist at the end. This doesn’t really happen, since it is all quite predictable. Moreover, the explanation for an important consequence of this twist (and hence the plot as a whole) is totally unbelievable, and that ruins the book, all things considered.
It could have been pretty clever with better editing, but now it only merits an “Okay, you guys sure were afraid of Nuclear Holocaust back in the seventies.”
Hard science fiction purists should avoid this, since the science part of this book is ludicrous.
UPDATE 5/2018 – I read this at the beginning of my exploration of science fiction. Having read more ‘vintage’ SF now, I think I would review The Inverted World totally differently. There’s a good chance I’d appreciate it a whole lot more, as I liked reading it, but felt cheated because of the ending. That’s because in 2014 I judged that ending basically only on its Hard SF merits, but I think I entirely missed the point by doing so. There’s an insightful review on Calmgrove that didn’t miss the point, and Chris also makes some interesting points in the comments.
originally written on the 14th of August, 2014