The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction - cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender.
Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction.
©1987 Iain M. Banks (P)2011 Hachette Audio
"Dazzlingly original." (Daily Mail)
"Gripping, touching and funny." (TLS)
For whatever reason, this is the fourth Culture series book I read. Like many of the others, it is a very compelling world to engage within. Also like many of his other books, the plot is great at the start and end but drags in the middle. All in all, I highly recommend it. My favorite Culture series book is The Player of Games. It is tightly written and does not depend on any other book.
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
This is the first in Ian Banks’ highly acclaimed Culture Series. I could not make myself get into this book; which is a shame because it has all the Space Opera elements that I was looking for in a Sci-Fi novel. I had read that this first book in the Culture series was an acquired taste, but I decided to give it a try anyway. My parting feeling was that this reads like Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy but without the slapstick belly laughs. The result was that I have decided that this is not for me. Only a strong personal recommendation could get me to continue this series.
Peter Kenny has a nicely sophisticated British accent which makes for pleasant listening but which does not provide for easy emotional empathy for those of us requiring more American cultural cues to gain full access.
The first half was great. It left lots to the imagination. The author tries to address to much at different times, and the story gets very confusing by the end. The book practically ends 2 chapters before the end. The last chapters were like the author was sobering up and tying up loose ends.
that was terrible and painful to finish. I didn't care about the main character and the side characters were okay and the mind ship was mentioned barely and that was the thing I was most interested in. I would never recommend this book.
Audio Addict Capt Kirk
A real review on the author is out of my league but this was fantastic. And the narrator made me laugh out loud. His reading of a 'stunned and addled drone' was masterful.
Enjoyed it a lot. I hadn't heard of this series before but Banks is clever, creative, and compelling in his writing. Also it was interesting to see much earlier versions of current video game and sci fi tropes (ring worlds, irritable drones, genetically altered humans, life and death stakes games) that were written in the 1980's. Not that Iain Banks is the first to describe all of this; much of it has been seen in some form before, but he does a wonderful and inventive job of creating his own version of the universe.
It's been said that there are no new stories, but the art is in how classic tales are re-crafted by a particular artist. Banks is a master.
Let me start by saying that the performance was very good. My disappointment is solely in the writing.
So, I love Alastair Reynolds, but I've read almost all of his books. Anyone I asked, and websites online said that if I liked Reynolds, I should try Iain M. Banks' Culture series. And a good place to start was either Consider Phlebas or Player of Games. Well, it's possible Player of Games was good, but Consider Phlebas was not. It certainly was not up to par with Reynolds.
The characters were dull archetypes (the spy with the good heart and noble reasons for the things he does, the caricature of a "space pirate" captain, the idealistic and loyal follower of the captain who falls in love with the protagonist, etc) at best, and just dumb at worst. The space pirate team (or "Free Company") that we spend most of the book with are like the rejects from every other sci-fi company. The plot contained many silly cliches (the spy left someone they loved who didn't agree with them, but that they hope to win back), as well as whatever the opposite of Deus Ex Machina is, where everything just goes wrong out of pure bad luck, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time, etc. Doing that once or twice in a book is okay, but THIS book is FULL of these occurrences. For example, (SPOILER ALERT): They're on an alien planet with tons of underground train stations. One of the bad guys that they killed earlier they didn't apparently kill good enough and he gets a train going to crash into the train the protagonists are on. Well the audible alarm that would alert the protagonists that a train is going to run into them just happens to be in a register that's too high for humans' ears to hear. And the visual alarm that would alert them just happens to be hidden by one of the characters' helmets. And this kind of thing happens throughout the ENTIRE BOOK.
I'm very disappointed in this book, and wish I could get my money back for it. I DID actually listen to the entire thing, almost as a "hate listen" as I was driving across the country at the time and the growing rage at this book helped to distract me from how boring the drive was.
I don't recommend this book to anyone, nor will I buy another book from this author.
The genre? No, I love sci-fi and in particular space opera.
The author though? Yes, I'll never buy Iain Banks' books again.
I haven't, but the performance was great, just bad writing.
Not really, the performance was good, but that's not really part of the book.
Great world building and fascinating macro story, however the main narrative focus was slow and not as interesting. Point in fact that I enjoyed the epilogue a lot since it spoke to the larger events taking place in said world
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