The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, provably, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization.
An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture 10,000 years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they've made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence.
Amid preparations, though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted - dead, not alive. Aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command. She must find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago.
It seems that the final days of the Gzilt civilization are likely to prove its most perilous.
©2012 Iain M. Banks (P)2012 Hachette Audio
Good narration. Relatively weak as far as culture stories go. Really focuses on the Minds which tends to be dull. The main protagonists had really forgettable characteristics. The interesting characters weren't highlighted nearly as much.
Snotty, elitist lawyer who reads too much and is kind too little.
I have never read the print version.
It's one part Star Wars to one part Star Trek.
I've only listened to his Culture books, and this one is as good as any of the other performances.
The end, strangely. If that's a metaphor for death, it's a comforting and nice one.
I miss the Culture already. This is a fitting send off. It feels like the concluding volume in a "series" linked only by the fact that all stories happen within a single, galaxy-spanning civilization that, for better or worse, is what it is.
This was the last of the series and one of the final books Iain Banks wrote (so sorry to see him go). It was one of my very favorite since it dealt with the Culture from the perspective of the Minds. Highly enjoyable. It was intensely personal at times by examining mortality. I would recommend reading at least two of the other Culture series before tackling this one. Enjoy!
Science Fiction Excellence
The fight to recover the cube.
Good as ever
Sadly, Iain Banks is deceased. I found him to be the most innovative writer of SiFi of this generation.
Quite a good story made even better by Peter Kenny's always excellent narration.
Not quite as goosebump-generating as some of the earlier books, specifically Player of Games and especially Use of Weapons, but I appreciated the more positive ending than some of the other, slightly depressing "everyone dies in the end" books from earlier in the series.
I like the fact that the Culture was presented here with flaws, and potentially beatable, rather than as all-powerful.
Listening to all the silly names of the ships.
His discussion on the morality and futility of advanced simulations was extremely interesting as I work in the field of Computer Science. Very profound.
The Mistake Not
I laughed out loud several times and even spit out my drink once.
Sad he's gone.
Not my favorite Banks, but Peter Kenney's performance elevates the work. Plus, it lasts almost exactly as long as it takes to drive from Nashville to Boulder!
Required reading for all Culture buffs but overall an unexciting story.
Probably the best Culture book at giving great incites into how Minds work. Shows how supreme intelligence and curiosity can lead to unnecessary meddling with negligible outcomes.
Main characters uninspiring, story never really takes off despite its potential. Narration very good.
Typically expansive in its description of the worlds and races that make up Culture space and beyond.
Definitely worth the read but don't expect it to be an exciting ' page turner'.
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