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The Official Iain M Banks Thread


Danster
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That's totally corrwrong, as Look to Windward is amazing...as indeed is The Algebraist.

Of course, Matter was 95% rubbish, saved by the last couple of chapters if you're being kind. And as I personally haven't even bothered to read his last two M Banks outings, you won't find me in the realm of stout defender of his talent anymore I guess.

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Look To Windward is obviously meant as a kind of companion piece to Consider Phlebas, as he again takes the point of view of a protagonist who hates the Culture to highlight the flaws in his creation. But the problem is that this time the story is set inside the Culture - and the Culture is a utopia and therefore boring. The fact that the whole thing is a set up (again) is kind of annoying as well.

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Look To Windward is obviously meant as a kind of companion piece to Consider Phlebas, as he again takes the point of view of a protagonist who hates the Culture to highlight the flaws in his creation. But the problem is that this time the story is set inside the Culture - and the Culture is a utopia and therefore boring. The fact that the whole thing is a set up (again) is kind of annoying as well.

The sections when it describes how Masq (sp?) oversees things are just grand. And that big universe animal that lives through galaxy revolutions. Oh my. Oh, oh, and the detail it goes into describing the scale of GSVs. And that elevator bit. It's not very well structured but there is so much exciting fan service and massive ideas in there that I just can't stop loving it.

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ooh, I was only looking about a month ago to see if he had anything in the works.... nice.

Taken from wikipedia:

The Hydrogen Sonata is an upcoming novel by Iain M. Banks set in the universe of The Culture, reportedly the longest Culture novel yet released. It will be released in October 2012.[1]

The release date for the hardcover has been announced as 4 October in UK and 9 October in US. Also, both official synopsis and the cover art have been released.[2]

At a book signing at Foyles in London, England on April 11th 2012, Mr Banks briefly described the The Hydrogen Sonata as "it's about the whole subliming business".

http://upcoming4.me/media/k2/items/cache/2e4b541bb7638c714ebfa8fbcd4ab5f2_XL.jpg

Synopsis:

It is, truly, provably, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization.

An ancient people, they helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they’ve made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence.

Amidst preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed and Cossont is blamed. Wanted dead — not alive. Now, aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command — find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago. Cossont must discover the truth before she’s exiled from her people and her civilization forever — or just plain killed.

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Yeah i agree Surfaec Detail was a return to form, albeit in need of some choice editing, but don't diss Look to Windward, which is amongst his best IMO.

No-one picked up on this? For shame, rllmuk! :quote:

May our pedantry never fade nor falter.

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  • 3 months later...

Ban this sick Filth!

;-)

Can't wait for Hydrogen Sonata. Only a month to go. The release of a new Culture book is always a personal (ahem) cultural highlight of the year for me. Sit down with the hardback, a nice big cuppa, and I just fall back into that awesome universe.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just read this thread after blazing through almost all the books in about six months, after reading Matter at Christmas. Only got The Algebraist left to go.

I'm a bit surprised at the negativity towards Matter:

Fair to say the travelling was a bit slow, but at least lots of it took place in the Shellworld, which I thought was a beautifully-realised world. I could feel its sense of scale and had a really vivid mental picture of the place.

Consider Phlebas, Player of Games and Use of Weapons were a pretty great introductory run but I think Excession is the best of the bunch.

Ship minds galore, so good. The Dajeil/Genar-Hofoen plot was kind of dull, but it resolved well enough, and I enjoyed the Affront.

Also loved Against a Dark Background, but thought Feersum Endjinn was a bit of a tough read

(ironically not because of Bascule, it was just a very odd world to fix in my head).

Inversions was the only one that didn't really click at all for me.

Anyway, might crack open The Algebraist tonight. Second copy I've bought as the first one got ruined by a leaky bottle in my bag, leaving me to buy the Hunger Games on a whim before a train journey and then barrel through the trilogy. Fun, but nowhere near sci-fi or lefty enough!

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Also loved Against a Dark Background, but thought Feersum Endjinn was a bit of a tough read

(ironically not because of Bascule, it was just a very odd world to fix in my head).

I loved Feersum Endjinn precisely because of that; I'm a sucker for that kind of thing.

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Just read this thread after blazing through almost all the books in about six months, after reading Matter at Christmas. Only got The Algebraist left to go.

I'm a bit surprised at the negativity towards Matter:

Fair to say the travelling was a bit slow, but at least lots of it took place in the Shellworld, which I thought was a beautifully-realised world. I could feel its sense of scale and had a really vivid mental picture of the place.

Consider Phlebas, Player of Games and Use of Weapons were a pretty great introductory run but I think Excession is the best of the bunch.

Ship minds galore, so good. The Dajeil/Genar-Hofoen plot was kind of dull, but it resolved well enough, and I enjoyed the Affront.

Also loved Against a Dark Background, but thought Feersum Endjinn was a bit of a tough read

(ironically not because of Bascule, it was just a very odd world to fix in my head).

Inversions was the only one that didn't really click at all for me.

Anyway, might crack open The Algebraist tonight. Second copy I've bought as the first one got ruined by a leaky bottle in my bag, leaving me to buy the Hunger Games on a whim before a train journey and then barrel through the trilogy. Fun, but nowhere near sci-fi or lefty enough!

Hope you like it - it's easily in my top 3. It deals with a non-Culture galaxy where

faster-than-light travel is by (rare) wormhole only

really well.

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No one who has read the books would say read Excession next. It's infinitely better than Use of Weapons, but you shouldn't be reading it before. It just ain't right!

In fact, you should read The State Of The Art before Excession too, you filthy hippy.

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I'd like to have read Excession first, then all the others, then go back to Excession and see how much my opinion of the Culture had changed.

Deffo read State fo the Art, if only for the State of the Art story itself.

On Feersum Endjin

I always thought that the ant was a pointer towards the fact that Bascule himself is very small. It's like their whole world is one castke, or a spaceship of sorts. I think I'll re-read that one soon....

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I loved Feersum Endjinn precisely because of that; I'm a sucker for that kind of thing.

High five. The world was so bizarre, it really stretched my imagination to think of the scale of Serafa Fastness, and the reasoning that went into building it. I think it's probably the most imaginative book he's written.

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