Audible is the soundtrack to my busy, city-walking life!
Loved this book so much. From the creative world building to the questions it raises for me about human nature and our perceptions of what a civilized society is.
It took some time to get into the story. After getting used to the sci-fi I loved it.
I understand why Musk and Zuckerberg love the book and use it as a vision of our possible future.
I've heard a fair amount of praise for this author, and this was supposed to be his best. I had tried starting with his first book (Consider Phlebas) and it failed to grab me, to the extent that I gave up around halfway through. Disappointed in that, but thinking that 'Hey, an author's early work is usually poorer,' and knowing Banks' books to be more episodic than not, I thought I would give him another chance, but alas.
It's hard for me to describe why I grow so easily bored with this author. I can say that some of it stems from feeling unattached to most of the characters, the main protagonists especially. Gurgeh, the main for this book, was too close a Mary Sue for my tastes. I cared very little as to whether he would succeed or fail, especially after some rather cartoonish efforts were made to make his opponents (a whole civilization) out to be thoroughly vile and contemptuous.
Spoilers (sort of?) from this point on.
The fact that Gurgeh was shown to be obviously capable of breezing through every obstacle in his path, yet still had to be manipulated into doing "what needed to be done", and therefore was not so much the glorious hero as a selfish but useful buffoon, didn't make him any more interesting or respectable, it just made me feel all the more disappointed for giving *his* story any attention. The perspective of his handler(s) might have been more interesting, but on the whole, the lack of any real conflict/challenge means it would likely feel stagnant either way.
I enjoyed this story greatly. The only drawback was the narrator. Was the man mainline Nguyen 5Hour Energy or what? I kept checking to see if the speed was right. It was. He just read like he had to be someplace in the next five minutes.
I would strongly suggest reading the series from start to finish. This one, however, is one of the highlights on the journey. Masterfully crafted. Beautifully written. Wonderful characters. Cutting social commentary. Brutally honest.
RIP Mr. Banks. This book has made you immortal.
I never once "phased out" and needed to rewind. I'd often find myself sitting in my car, listening, well after I'd arrived at my destination. I can't recommend this enough.