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Iain (M) Banks
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Goofy Beast
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I'm just re-reading Excession, which I'm enjoying a lot. In a way it's the least 'plotty' IMB novel I've read so far; it's more of a "let's throw this pebble in the pond and see what ripples it makes" book, but since the ripples are very intriguing, I don't mind at all. Smile I recently read Feersum Endjin, which I enjoyed too, although as is often the case with me and IMB, I usually read the ending and feel that I didn't really fully get it.


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Posts: 10887 | Location: Switzerland | Registered: September 05, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Excession's probably the best introduction to the Culture. The leet sections of Feersum Endjinn were hard to slog through.

Firefly fans, I recommend you try Banks's Against a Dark Background, this was the kind of story Joss Whedon was aiming for in Firefly: character-driven, heartbreaking, unforgettable sf.

To me, the Culture always seemed like a bunch of petulant spoiled brats, acting out because they don't have boundaries. I keep thinking this is not how an empowered spacefaring civilization would play out, in a wish-fulfillment universe where technology triumphs over Murphy's Law. And esthetically Banks gets it, so the Culture's threatened in Excession and in Look to Windward. If you create Superman, you have to create kryptonite, otherwise the story's got nowhere to go.

In Matter you start to see the real shape of things: the regular Culture is the common rabble kept amused with bread and circuses, Contact is the working, productive middleclass, Special Circumstances are the elite. George Orwell stands firm, we'll always have the High, the Middle, and the Low, no matter what.
 
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Lexis Nexus
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I've just read Consider Phlebas and am now about 1/3 of the way through Look to Windward. Good stuff, but Excession is still my favorite.


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Posts: 16373 | Registered: December 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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*bump* Has anyone read Transition? The blurb seemed meh. I want more Culture stuff, or at least the large-scale space opera that Banks does so well. Guess I'll wait for it in paperback.
 
Posts: 2627 | Location: Manila | Registered: October 15, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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i haven't read Transition, but i finished Matter recently and was entirely underwhelmed. i love every other Culture novel however - my favourite being Use of Weapons.


- Soul


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I thought Matter was an interesting read, deliberately undercutting expectations and with a powerful sense of humanistic anger that I haven't felt in his sci-fi for a while, despite nods towards it in The Algebraist and Look to Windward. But I'm not in a lot of company there, I know.

Transition has it's moments, but theres a slightly annoying tricky-switch - Don't get me wrong, I love twists, but this one felt more dishonest than most. It's still a fun ride, though.


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I just discovered Banks a few months ago and I am trying to read them in order. I liked Consider Phlebas because the main character was agienst the culture.


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Just finished "Inversions". It made sense as a Culture novel, but I think someone just stumbling over it might not get it.


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Inversions is so... meh. It's just about ok, but it's the weakest of the culture novels by a street.

It's just another debate about the ethics of intervention with a twisty turny ending that was clunnnnky. I felt Matter was much more brutal, and far less compromising on those ethical issues, bringing them forward with a real sense of anger and betrayal.


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Posts: 8147 | Location: London, England | Registered: July 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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totally agree on the meh. Haven't read matter yet.


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Posts: 2485 | Location: Page 42 | Registered: December 27, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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finshed windward, about to start matter.

We'll talk more later.


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Found this while my cat was getting spayed. I'm about 5 chapters in so far.
 
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ooooh. you bastard... I'm forcing myself to wait for the paperback edition. Looooong wait.


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I'm only about a quarter of the way through, but I'll go ahead and call it: Best. Culture. Novel. Evar. Neener neener! Razz
 
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Better than Excession and Use of Weapons?

Now that's some claim, right there.


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Posts: 8804 | Location: where do you think, you idiot? | Registered: April 08, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Mischief the Polarbear:
Better than Excession and Use of Weapons?


Yes. Just finished Surface Detail yesterday. Consider me ravished. Sizzles and seethes with humanistic anger. Some of the Hell passages out-Dante Dante, made me wish for mind bleach. But that's the point isn't it?

The Culture books before Matter are introductory, maybe even misleading. In Matter and Surface Detail, we start to see how the Culture really rolls. The regular wankers can dick around pointlessly on orbitals all they want, but out amongst the other Involved races they need rational adults. The Byzantine bureaucracies of The Algebraist (my favorite Banks novel) are leaking through, that's what Contact should look like.
 
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Only about half way done with surface detials. I loved chapter four- the first desscription of hell.


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The Doughmaster
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Psi recommended the Culture books to me, and I'm gratly enjoying them thus far - I started with Use of Weapons, and I'm about 3/4 of the way through Consider Phlebas. I must admit, some of the science aspects of the science fiction throw me for a loop (I just don't have the kind of brain that can grasp some of those concepts), but the stories are compelling enough to keep me reeled in.


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You are a Bookholder. To prompt, or...LINE! (not to prompt) --not to prompt. That is the question. Whether t'is nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of a bad memory, or to take arms against a sea of textual deviations, and...LINE! (by opposing) --by opposing them...LINE! (end) --end...LINE! (them) --end them...LINE! (to prompt, to correct; no more; and by a correction to say we end the heart-ache of a really terrible performance) You didn't have to give me the whole thing! I know it!
 
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