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Publisher's Summary

It was one of the less glorious incidents of a long-ago war. It led to the destruction of two suns and the billions of lives they supported. Now, 800 years later, the light from the first of those ancient mistakes has reached the Culture Orbital, Masaq. The light from the second may not.

©2000 Iain M. Banks (P)2013 Hachette Digital

Critic Reviews

"Banks keeps ratcheting up the suspense" ( Guardian)
"Confirms Banks as the standard by which the rest of SF is judged" ( Guardian)
"In terms of sheer storytelling prowess and verve, Look to Windward is a work of genius" ( SFX)
"A great book" ( New Scientist)
"A mordant wit, a certain savagery and a wild imagination " ( Mail On Sunday)

What listeners say about Look to Windward

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another fantastic Culture book

Amazing universe, excellent premesis, wonderful characters, dry wit - this installment is everything you want from Banks.

2 people found this helpful

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...never ceases to surprise

The most entertaining culture novel so far. Nicely performed, wonderfully written, space-candy and alien drama.

2 people found this helpful

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A Good Story & Worthwhile Listen

The Short: If you like Banks, you’ll like this novel. It is a more solid bet than many others in the series, and it’s pretty much certain you’ll enjoy it, if not love it. If you have yet to read any Banks, it could be a good place to start (maybe better than the first novel in the series, which is much more space-opera than the others). _. ._ The Long: 3 stars might seem harsh, especially when matched with “worthwhile listen,” so let me start by saying that, having listened to about 5 novels in the Culture series, so far, I haven’t been blown away as so many other listeners seem to have been. I’m a big fan of Sci Fi, but have yet to connect with the elements that so many are quick to label as “genius” in Banks’ work. That’s not to say that I don’t think they might be there: I would certainly consider re-listening to a few of the books, for a second look. It’s very possible that the subtlety requires greater attention than what I give the story, when listening to it (i.e. it might be that, in my case, the stories would be more revealing if read, rather than listened to). That being said, besides a few interesting ideas and a little forays into some disjointed world-building, I just didn’t find very much in this particular story. I *enjoyed* it, but find that Banks relies a lot on a quasi-vacuous form (here I mean vacuous in the technical sense, not in the colloquial sense): he leaves out a lot of the story for the reader to fill-in. This isn’t done artlessly - to some extent it contributes to the interest of the story, and maintains interest; however, it also feels very much like a Dalian curtain winding it’s way up & down, back & forth and at odd-angles to hide the deus (dei?) ex machina that breathes life into his novels. Personally, I am neither for nor against the use of “deus ex machina” - it can be used to great effect (as it is in the BBC’s Sherlock series), and it can be just be cheap and lazy (see all truly mediocre Sci Fi !); however, in Banks’ case, it feels misplaced. The volume of information and details not explicitly provided makes it feel as though Banks himself was aware of this mis-fit of the narrative tool, and so tried to minimize it’s presence. If all this crap about narrative techniques annoys you, let me say that I’m (normally) with you on that front - literary analysis has its limits. More than anything, the above is simply an attempt to understand why it feels as though there was perhaps 5-8h of story missing from this novel. In plain language, that is really what it felt like: some interesting ideas, some great characters, but a few parts that just don’t fit together, and it seems as though the author knew it, as well. Overall: Not a waste of time or money. Definitely entertaining. Not genre-defining Sci Fi, nothing to blow your mind. A safe bet for entertaining listening. I hope this was helpful to you in deciding whether or not to purchase the book. Please take a moment to click on the button, if it was, so i can continue to provide helpful reviews. Happy listening!

1 person found this helpful

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Slow and anticlimactic

I really liked Consider Phlebas and Player of Games which I’ve read previously but I never really got in to this. The plot moves really slow and is weighed down by too much conversation (even if it’s often quite funny). Also I had such a hard time with identifying with—or even give physical form in my mind to—three-legged alien species! Especially hard in erotic scenes... How does a tiger-centaur slide up on her partner for sex when he is on his back? This might seem like a small problem, but it kept throwing me off the story. The reading/“voice-acting” is excellent however!

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A masterpiece from one of sci fi's greatest Minds

This story is tapestry of grand scope and scale masterfully woven together by a mind brilliant enough that He might as well be a GSV in disguise

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Possibly his best culture story so far

Great story with all the culture twists you would expect leaving you in awe with the scale of dimension and time

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  • Marc
  • 05-22-14

Fantastic book, expertly delivered by Peter Kenny.

What did you like most about Look to Windward?

Another fantastic culture book. Great characters and an interesting plot. Peter Kenny once again brings this book to life.

What about Peter Kenny’s performance did you like?

Peter delivers this book in his usual perfect way. His talent of bringing a book to life is simply amazing. If you have ever read this book, then I highly recommend listening to Peter read it. He brings a whole new dimension to the story. He is a very comfortable narrator to listen to, and his character voices make it a pleasure to follow. Easy listening. Perfect.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Once started, it is very hard to stop. I found that time literally flew by whilst listening, and very often found myself still up in the early hours listening to this great story.

Any additional comments?

Another fantastic Culture book. Having read all the Banks books, I am now listening to them all one by one. If your a fan of Banks, then there is no better way to enjoy them.

5 people found this helpful

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  • I Asimov
  • 11-14-15

Best Culture Book - amazing

I have listened to every culture book so far and they are all outstanding but this is the best one. Banks is a formidable writer. A very moving and poinant story that will stay with me for years. Peter Kenny gave excellent narration as always.

3 people found this helpful

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  • B. Webb
  • 11-01-16

Another brilliant book expertly performed

A fantastic story brilliantly read by Peter Kenny. Iain M Banks and Peter Kenny are a truly excellent combination. The story had me riveted throughout and when it was over I felt myself mourn for it. Glad I have more to download!

1 person found this helpful

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  • scott
  • 05-22-16

Love the culture! !!

great sci-fi read by an engaging narrator.
Ian bank's books are a must read/listen if you want to escape into utopia

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mike G.
  • 05-12-16

an exploration of death, rebirth and civilization

I thoroughly enjoyed this! it has comedy, tragedy and philosophy in Banks' trademark style. excellent!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dr Ward
  • 04-18-16

One of finest and most currently apposite.

One of finest and most currently apposite in the post 9/11, fundamentalist enriched world. His death was a great loss.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Paul
  • 09-21-15

great book

brilliant story and great delivery by Peter Kenny as usual. just love the culture. just purchased the next book

1 person found this helpful

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  • Chris
  • 09-17-15

Best sifi series ever written, narrated superbly

Banks was the best author in this genre, in my opinion, his books are of a depth that is hard to come by with fiction in general let alone SF. Kenny performs supremely as always.

1 person found this helpful

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  • J.E.Thomas
  • 08-28-15

A subtle weave of stories

thoroughly enjoyed this story, one which I had forgotten after reading in paper back form many years and now brought, expertly and passionately back to me. well done Peter. well done Iain

1 person found this helpful

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  • Chris
  • 02-15-15

A great story well narrated

One of my favourite books by Banks, captures the empty feeling of loss in a way that is both beautiful and tragic. Narrated well and easy to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Chris
  • 08-10-19

Outstanding

A masterpiece both in the writing and the reading. I look forward to forgetting enough to listen to it again!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-20-18

Classic Banks

A classic Culture novel with a similar tilt to Consider Phlebas (it was intended as something of a sequel). It follows a non-Culture protagonist through alien worlds and a huge Culture habitat. There's the usual drone and Mind banter to look forward to and, in classic Banks' style, the story has a complex, multiple arc structure that comes together beautifully in the end. Peter Kenny's narration is brilliant too.