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The Player of Games Audiobook

The Player of Games

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Publisher's Summary

The Culture - a human/machine symbiotic society - has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. The Player of Games. Master of every board, computer, and strategy. Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game... a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the challenge of his life - and very possibly his death.

©2008 Iain M. Banks (P)2011 Hachette Audio

What the Critics Say

"Poetic, humorous, baffling, terrifying, sexy - the books of Iain M. Banks are all these things and more." (NME)

"An exquisitely riotous tour de force of the imagination which writes its own rules simply for the pleasure of breaking them." (Time Out)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (1840 )
5 star
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4.5 (1653 )
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Story
4.6 (1648 )
5 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Jolyon Wold Morton Peoria, IL United States 01-29-13
    Jolyon Wold Morton Peoria, IL United States 01-29-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story, better performance!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this audiobook to a friend. All of them, actually, if I had more than one. It's a great story and a brilliant performance by the reader/voice actor, and I like my friends and would like them to have have the joy that I did listening to this story.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Mawhrin-skel because he was such an un-Culture-ish ass.


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

    There were several moments in the book that moved me, but, you know, spoilers.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua mcleansville, NC, United States 01-07-12
    Joshua mcleansville, NC, United States 01-07-12 Member Since 2013
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    "Should have been shorter or longer"

    Okay, this is my last Iain Banks book. I gave him two tries, and that should be enough.

    Someone else mentioned that this could have been a novella. That is true and all you really need to know.

    He's not a bad writer. And the book does have a satisfying conclusion. It just didn't take me in the direction I wanted it to go. Too much time was spent on inconsequential things, in my opinion. I also do not like the amount of sexual references and depravity that we see or hear mention of. Sure the Empire is a decrepit and corrupt place and needs to go, but there must have been more tasteful ways to convey that.

    The personalities of the droids shine through again, and he does a good job of describing the game without getting too bogged down in details. I just don't understand why both this book and the previous one, Consider Phlebas, actually center around fringe storylines rather then really taking us through the Culture and all the vast wonders that must surely be part of it.

    Alas, I don't have the patience to try another one to see if this ever happens.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    WendyT1 Newark, NJ, United States 12-14-11
    WendyT1 Newark, NJ, United States 12-14-11
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    "meandering but really enjoyable"
    Where does The Player of Games rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Loved it. This is one of my favorite Culture stories. The characters are well done, and the titular Game is rather interesting. I loved the story and the huge climax that it builds to.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The ending! Many culture stories kind of fizzle out at the end but this one was pretty good. I loved how it built up to a big conclusion.


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

    At first it was fairly slow, but once you are a few chapters in it really gets interesting and it's hard to stop listening.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 10-25-17 Member Since 2015
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    "The best"

    Iain banks is much missed.. The best opera sci-fi ever! Have read them all and this is the second time around

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry Jarrard 10-01-17 Member Since 2017
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    "really good!"

    it started off slow, but it really picked up and I really enjoyed it! I'm sure I'll listen again!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MK 08-31-17
    MK 08-31-17
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    "Progressively better throughout."

    Firstly, I loved the narration, especially the different styles between drone, human, and apex.

    Player of Games started off a little slow for me, but a few chapters in I was hooked. As always with Ian Banks, I liked the little surprises thrown in at the end, especially given just slightly enough information was given to 'suspect' what had happened for awhile.

    Liked it more than Consider Phelebas.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David S. Mathew 08-30-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Chess with Planets"

    Player of Games focuses on Jernau Gurgeh, a famous game player in galactic utopia known as the Culture. Gurgeh is unwillingly(?) drafted into a gaming competition with a less enlightened alien empire, with stakes as higher than he could possibly imagine. Imagine a spy thriller set in space and you'll have some idea about how this goes.

    I was on the fence about starting this novel, since Ian Bank's first Culture novel left me feeling very "Meh." That said, I am very grateful to a friend for pushing me to give the second book a shot, because this novel is superb! I'll certainly be checking out future Culture novels after this!

    Finally, Peter Kenny's narration is absolutely on point. He has grown dramatically better since Consider Phlebas. If you love science fiction, you need to give this a listen. Very highly recommended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anonymous 08-22-17
    08-22-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Great Book!"

    One of my new favourite sci-fi books. hard to stop listening once I started listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stasya 08-17-17
    Stasya 08-17-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Interesting read, though I didn't love it"
    What about Peter Kenny’s performance did you like?

    I generally could tell the difference between characters, though some of the Azad voices were identical, so I couldn't tell them apart. He was playful with his voices which I liked. His consonants were really harsh, so it could be exhausting to listen to at times.


    Any additional comments?

    Honestly, didn't love it. I thought it could be really dry at times, and had rare moments of excitement. I didn't really find any of the characters relatable. The drones did provide good comedic relief.

    It was a very masculine book, despite the extreme emphasis on the different sexes. The author really pounded home that gender was fluid and differing, and talked about genitalia a lot, but there didn't seem to be much point to it. They talked about it a lot for something that didn't seem to have much effect on the plot. Everyone in power was male or Apex (both sets of genitals). There wasn't any female perspective or strong females at all. All the females were sex workers or lovers of the main male/Apex characters. If the book had pitched true equality, then I could see why there would be more emphasis on gender fluidity, but it really didn't do that. As it was, the author just seemed obsessed with genitals.

    The books was obviously trying to pit imperialism/capitalism vs communism, and I wish they'd gone into more detail with theories as to why one works better than the other. They seemed to be trying to make a metaphor with the game, but didn't go into enough detail of the strategy to make the point. They showed us some of the really nasty aspects of the empire, but we didn't see much of the Culture.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan Adams Lansing, MI 07-18-17
    Dan Adams Lansing, MI 07-18-17 Member Since 2017
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    "great book"

    really fascinating book, far better in my option than Consider Phlebas from the same series. narration was on point as well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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