This is one of the best novels I've read in awhile, the characters are vivid and leap off the page. Having finished the book I am saddened like the lead character that it is over - I will miss them! A delightful sci-fi romp and thinly veiled social commentary taking a look into a potential human society of the future where machines and man coexist as join minds for the greater society - in this episode we see a man manipulated into serving his society in a particularly fun and interesting way. A good read indeed!
The idea of a culture or society as an elaborate game is an old one, but rarely developed better than here. Games usually attempt to be a reflection of life, but a concept of one which is life in all its complexity is a fascinating idea, and one which Banks really brings to life here.
I have, and this one, as with all of his performances, is excellent. He does a great job of fitting his voice to the story and allowing you to get lost in the plot.
There is a moment where the protagonist is describing how he feels about winning, and the hollowness it creates. In games and in life there is a far greater satisfaction in playing beautifully than in winning, and this is something well captured by this scene.
I'm new to banks and was looking for something to quench my science fiction/space opera thirst after
reading all of my favorite authors books from Alistar Reynolds. Banks hits a home run with his own style scoring a top position as one of my new favorite authors!!!!!
A Sci Fi junkie who occasionally goes slumming to read other literature.
A master game player in the Culture, Gurgeh, is manipulated to play the game of Azad in the Empire of Azad, a game that determines status and success. Gurgeh does very well and ultimately begins to win the game against the emperor himself. A person's skill at the game is a reflection of their values. The implication is that a member of the Culture (which treats everyone equally, even drones) has higher values than a member of the empire (which is highly discriminatory). At the end, Gurgeh learns a little bit about his manipulation and has the opportunity to learn the whole truth, but doesn't seem too interested.
I sort of figured out half way through the novel what was going on, and I hoped that Gurgeh, rather than being manipulated, was in fact secretly manipulating the drones and everyone else. After all, he is one of the best game players of all time. He should have the ability to see life as a game and position himself well in the final outcome. I was disappointed that this brilliant person was clueless and nothing but a pawn.
The novel is interesting and was worth reading, but was a little bit one dimensional for me.
Peter Kenny is an awesome narrator. His variety and precision with voices is amazing.
If you're looking to get into Iain M. Banks' The Culture series this is the place to start. Yes, I know this is technically the second novel in the series, but the novels can be read in any order with the only connection being the shared setting. Also, the "first" novel doesn't so much introduce you to The Culture as toss you at them.
This novels gives us a great introduction to The Culture, an intergalactic utopian society that entertains themselves (amongst other means) by helping less developed civilizations overcome various issues. That doesn't really do the novel much justice at all, let's get more specific!
Our protagonist, Jernau Morat Gurgeh, is a member of The Culture with a knack for games; all sorts of games but especially those with high stakes. When Special Circumstances, the part of the culture responsible for helping lesser civilizations, ask for his help on a mission to a planet where games are a way of life he jumps at the chance. But Gurgeh has no clue what he's just gotten into.
Mr. Banks, who has since passed away, was one of the greatest science fiction, or just general, writers of the late 20th/early 21st century. This language of this novel was smart and witty, which Peter Kenny handled with absolute mastery. Like I said, Banks is quite the word crafter and Kenny is quite the narrator.
Here is a series that redefines what science fiction can be, and a great starting place if you want to get into sci-fi. Colorfully imaginative civilizations, engaging characters and prose, there's a lot to love here.
I think I've found a new series be obsessed with, and strongly encourage you to give it a try too!
This was recommended to me as a good starting point into Banks' Culture novels (although technically its book #2) and I enjoyed it immensely.
The narration was fantastic, read at a fairly fast pace but not hard to follow. Kenny adjusts his voice in subtle ways to suggest different people, but does not treat it like an audio play. It felt like a book being expertly read to me. While I have recently grown to appreciate other narration styles, this is just the kind of experience I originally joined Audible for.
I'm disappointed to see that not all of the Culture books are available on Audible, but I'll listen to the ones I can, particularly if they are narrated by Peter Kenny.
A great story. Lately I became tired of the 'kill the evil superior technologically aliens with our low technology but right to exist and propagate in our primitive ways values' kind of science fiction. So I tried to find something of a different kind. And this is just what I was looking for. There is just a tiny obligatory overtone of the above theme. Well developed story. Narration is also excellent.
This book kept my attention. The narrator is good and the subject matter while not my usual fare was engaging.
I really didn't like the first book of the Culture series, but a buddy of mine told me that Consider Phlebas is not representative of the remainder, so I gave Player of Games a shot. It's really good. The narration is excellent and the story is excellent. I'll check out the third book in the series next.