The first ever collection of Iain Banks's short fiction, this volume includes the acclaimed novella, The State of the Art. This is a striking addition to the growing body of Culture lore, and adds definition and scale to the previous works by using the Earth of 1977 as contrast. The other stories in the collection range from science fiction to horror, dark-coated fantasy to morality tale. All bear the indefinable stamp of Iain Banks's staggering talent.
©1991 Iain M. Banks (P)2013 Hachette Audio
Had been quite some time since I had read this collection of short stories, I'd forgotten about it's existence. But I managed to get this downloaded shortly before being wheeled in for an emergency appendectomy. So please consider my review through the eyes of post-operation medical quality opiates.
First story, isn't that nice.
Second story, what? Listen again. Oh yes that is good.
A few more stories which are rather good, but as I find with Peter Kenny's reading, he is the unsung star of this generation of Banks' publishing. Even if one doesn't necessarily *enjoy* the story, of which there was one in here that honestly after my hospital release I can't recall which one, Kenny's reading is a joy to listen to (and trust me, even more so under the influence of opiates). His attention to tone, character and timing is I think impeccable.
I must give a warning about the title short story. There is one scene, the dinner scene, where you may laugh so hard that you do yourself an injury. Sure, I had recently been sliced open and should have controlled myself. But, the extra morphone that was required due to the additional injury was not unwelcome.
This review is rambling? Sure, I'm out of hospital and still on painkillers.
The book? Oh yes, I'm reviewing the book and not the opiates. The book's a must have for the Banks completist. And a great little introduction of the differing styles for which Banks was well known. Kenny again delivers. My only niggle would be that it sounded like it was recorded in a small room and not a acoustically dead (ie, no reverb) room. However I'm fairly certain this was only noticeable at 4am on the ward with headphones when the only noises to be heard was the nurses footsteps checking on the patients. This isn't to say it's bad, but more to say why the 'overall' score I've given it doesn't match the performance and story scores.
OK, I'm out. Not editing this review. I need some more codeine based stuff...
"My 2nd Audible Experience!"
I recently began work at an organization that let you listen to your mobile...so I downloaded my 2nd book...'State of the Art' by Iain M Banks. Just like the first book, I loved it. Iain M Banks sci-fi books are very detailed and can be difficult to read but having his stories read aloud (through my headphones obviously) makes them just as good, maybe better!
"A perfect introduction to Banks' Sci Fi world"
A collection of (mostly) sci fi stories, several featuring Banks' "Culture" universe and the novella State of the Art where the Culture visits Earth. This makes for a great intro the Iain Banks' work and is full of his usual wit and invention. The tales are sometimes funny and sometimes tragic, always thoughtful and intelligent, and highly distinctive and original. Often when rereading (or in this case listening) to a short story collection some years after originally doing so, inevitably there are one or two tales that have slipped my memory. But not so here - each one stuck in my mind distinctly and clearly, and it was a pleasure to revisit them.
"For the true Banks SF lover"
brilliant, entertaining, moralistic
This collection of short stories has much to offer from more action based ones to those exploring the human condition. The novella The State of the Art is extremely enjoyable and gives a very interesting background to Diziet Sma (Use of Weapons / Surface Detail).
In The State of the Art the ship makes a request to the BBC World Service to play David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' "(...) for the good ship Arbitrary and all who sail in her."
There were a number of passages that made me laugh not at least where an alien being not understanding a herder looking like bush has its fingers and toes ripped off in a 'she loves me ... she loves me not' exercise.
This is a collection of SF short stories that is probably best enjoyed after having read a few of Banks' SF novels.
"An interesting collection of stories"
This works well as an introduction to Iain M Banks as its a little less daunting than some of his epics. It contains interesting and varied stories that explore his relationship with the wider world and the sf genre alongside the novella State of the Art. This is a good read (listen) as a standalone story but is better if read after Use of Weapons as it explores two of the key characters.
I was disappointed because there was really no story there. The performance by Peter Kenny was however amazing
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