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Consider Phlebas | [Iain M. Banks]

Consider Phlebas

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....
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"Dazzlingly original." (Daily Mail)

"Gripping, touching and funny." (TLS)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (647 )
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3.8 (564 )
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Story
4.3 (555 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    David Monterey, CA, United States 12-29-13
    David Monterey, CA, United States 12-29-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    74
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    "Good for what it is."
    If you could sum up Consider Phlebas in three words, what would they be?

    Unlikable Characters. Beep.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Inevitable.


    What does Peter Kenny bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I don't remember


    Any additional comments?

    I don't really tend to like Ian Banks' Characters. They are all pretty unlikable. If you can deal with that, then this is a good book.

    Don't let the crappy (pardon the pun) first chapter deter you. Things get better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris L. Hansen Cashmere, WA USA 10-09-13
    Chris L. Hansen Cashmere, WA USA 10-09-13 Member Since 2014

    scorp67

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good, entertaining story and fantastic reading!"
    What made the experience of listening to Consider Phlebas the most enjoyable?

    Banks' word choice and writing skill is impeccable, as is Kenny's performance. A perfect match.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    I really enjoyed Banks' characters and the way he brought the story to an emotional conclusion. As for the least interesting . . . I'd have to say that the middle chapters stretched a bit for me, despite their creativity.


    What about Peter Kenny’s performance did you like?

    I thoroughly enjoyed how he brought the characters to life and sustained their unique "voices" consistently to the end.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The end, for several emotional reasons.


    Any additional comments?

    Even if sci-fi doesn't interest you, I recommend this novel based on Banks' characterization and Kenny's performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim McCool 06-22-13
    Jim McCool 06-22-13

    mccoolj

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "If you think SF is the 1st 3 episodes of Star Wars"
    What would have made Consider Phlebas better?

    Then you might like this novel. Reducing the size of the novel by half - that is apply competent editing and get rid of the useless fluff.

    Pointless events on a meandering journey to a nowhere conclusion. The "I'm pregnant" scene is perhaps the most horrid piece of writing I've ever come across. The novel takes deus ex machina to new and remarkable heights.


    What was most disappointing about Iain M. Banks’s story?

    It droned on and on taking forever to get basically nowhere with lots of boring battles, over-hyped breathy descriptions of irrelevant detail. There really wasn't much of a story.


    What three words best describe Peter Kenny’s voice?

    He did fine


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Sadness and disappointment that I'd wasted my money. Anger that I believed the hype about Mr. Banks' work.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Secaucus, NJ, United States 05-29-13
    Mark Secaucus, NJ, United States 05-29-13 Member Since 2011

    Esoth

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Banks' Galactic Range"
    What did you love best about Consider Phlebas?

    The use of familiar tropes and archetypes in new and inventive ways


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Horza, the Changer. Horza, a chameleon and potential cipher with questionable if any ethics, despite being in ceaseless peril, emerges as a character worthy of caring about.


    What does Peter Kenny bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Banks' frequently changes point of view, in sometimes jarring ways, yet Kenny doesn't miss a beat. One of my peeves that fell by the wayside as I became engrossed in the tale, was the familiar naming of characters convention of using long and overly alien-sounding names, and I was grateful to have Kenny flawlessly take on this task.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The denouement of the relationship between Horza and his principle rival, the Culture Agent.


    Any additional comments?

    Consider Phlebas is a wonderful introduction to the Culture series, rich in action, characterization and finally, ideas. Banks' euphoric mastery of his material, whether close-observed or spanning the galaxy, is ultimately irresistible. Banks' prodigious imagination almost obscures his insightful understanding of human nature and motivations. Reading "Consider Phlebas" in 2013, it seems as if it must have been written more recently, after 2001. Banks' writing seems prescient even under that mistaken premise in light of recent events. But then as you read on you realize that in attributing our current fractiousness to the Culture War, with its pre-echoes of the Clash of Civilization, or the Cold War if you are given to looking back, you are missing deeper, transcendent lagers.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BillyBillBlack NE 05-13-13
    BillyBillBlack NE 05-13-13 Member Since 2012

    BillyBillBlack

    ratings
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    "Just didn't grab me"

    The universe created was deep enough that I might move to the next book in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian United States 03-15-13
    Brian United States 03-15-13 Member Since 2012
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    2
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    "Great intro to the Culture"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I'd recommend this audiobook as a good intro to Bank's Culture series. Peter Kenny does a great job with range of accents - and an even better job handling everyone's name. I'm sure I wouldn't have been up to the task.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The depth of the Culture universe was great and a while there were parts that were a bit slow, the action sequences made up for it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jed CHICAGO, IL, United States 01-22-13
    Jed CHICAGO, IL, United States 01-22-13 Member Since 2014
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    "A different kind of Sci-Fi"
    What did you love best about Consider Phlebas?

    It raised many interesting if not always comfortable ideas while maintaining a motivating pace (I listen while on the treadmill). The characters flaws and mistakes made the story more engaging. The end was fitting but not obvious, and unlike many sci-fi stories the conclusion was not abrupt or fantastical.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carl HUNTINGTON, WV, United States 09-24-12
    Carl HUNTINGTON, WV, United States 09-24-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not my favorite Culture book"

    Genre: Sci-Fi space age far future

    Rated: R- violence, sex, and language, though none of it was disturbing to me

    1st or 3rd Person: 3rd 1 main character and 5-6 side characters

    Static or Dynamic: The first half is dynamic and rapidly moving but the last half just dragged on...

    Art or Entertainment: Entertainment. This is the only Culture book I've read that wasn't more artistic than it was meant to make your time enjoyable. It might be considered a mild thriller whereas "The Player of Games" or "Surface Detail" which are in the same universe (Banks' Culture novels) are considerably more thought provoking and inspiring. This is the first book in the collection of Culture novels but, it, like all of the other novels are independent of each other entirely except for their general setting. I think this book, being the first, was Mr. Banks exploring the idea of what the Culture is and how it works.

    Linear or Non-Linear: Linear. Unfortunately towards the end it got into the "this happened then this happened and then this happened" rut. A lot of the story was a little predictable but that's not necessarily a bad thing as it was still very enjoyable to listen to.

    Narrator: Peter Kenny is a God among other voice actors. Guarantee you'll love him.

    Plot Outline: Horza is a spy for the Idirans (sp?) who are fighting a war against the Culture. The Idirans are sort of a traditional empire whereas the Culture is a decentralized anarchic continuum of genetically redesigned humans and their sentient machines. The plot is an adventure story that revolves around Horza trying to find something that both the Idirans and Culture want badly. He runs into some people that help him along the way and there is some romance throughout. He's a complicated character and fun to travel besides as a listener of the book. I would recommend the book if you are a die hard Culture fan and want to flesh out some of the background of the Culture or if you're up for some relatively pros story telling. The few parts that are thought provoking are intense but brief so you don't have to spend to much brain juice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Seth Playa Del Rey, CA, United States 09-10-12
    Seth Playa Del Rey, CA, United States 09-10-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    8
    4
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    "Starts with a bang, ends with a whimper."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I would make me care about the characters.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Something that isn't a part of the Culture series.


    What does Peter Kenny bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    An accent.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Probably. The scope is epic.


    Any additional comments?

    Wish it were better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jon livingston Columbia, SC, United States 12-21-13
    Jon livingston Columbia, SC, United States 12-21-13 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    "never finished"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    The audio issues annoyed me too much to finish........After every sentence, there was an extended pause. After the first 30 minutes, i couldn't take it anymore.


    What was most disappointing about Iain M. Banks’s story?

    I have heard good things about the story, i just must wait until another version of the audio book is out, or......read it.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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