Iain M Banks - 'Culture series' Page 5

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  • Bremenacht 19 Nov 2010 23:52:15 19,666 posts
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    Hey otto - if you're still here - is the 'deranged warship' one encountered in an earlier book? If so, does the new story have it's roots in that book?
  • otto Moderator 20 Nov 2010 17:34:16 49,335 posts
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    Uh, no, I think the ship is a new character. This novel is standalone. There are a couple of characters who've appeared in an earlier book but you don't know that until the end and it adds nothing to this particular story - hence 'Easter egg'

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  • Bremenacht 20 Nov 2010 18:46:23 19,666 posts
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    Ah well. I thought it might be a ship from Excession.

    Good to see you posting btw. The forum needs it's otto vitamins.
  • otto Moderator 20 Nov 2010 20:26:48 49,335 posts
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    Aww ta. I've never gone away, I just don't have time to spend on here these days. Do miss games though, there's a (J)RPG-shaped hole in my life. Was there anything like Grandia released in this gen? /flings thread off-topic

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  • Deleted user 20 November 2010 21:13:56
    Lost odyssey on the 360 was the closest thing I've seen.
  • wobbly_Bob 24 Jun 2011 21:18:24 1,898 posts
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    I love the ship names in the culture novels :-)

    Has anybody read "Transitions"? by him? It's written under his non-sf name, but it seems quite sf considering it deals with multiple worlds and time travel.
  • LockeTribal 24 Jun 2011 21:34:12 4,540 posts
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    I enjoyed Transition yeah. He has a great ability to write very interesting and compelling characters.
  • wobbly_Bob 24 Jun 2011 21:37:59 1,898 posts
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    Just got it for my kindle :-) Hopefully I will like it. I was a bit put off by the reviews saying this is really hard going and confusing, but hopefully will be good. Not sure if I should read this now or go for something a little more easy on the brain. Might get the Peter F Hamilton Comonweath books as I fancy and easy read and that should be :-)

  • TechnoHippy 24 Jun 2011 21:39:15 14,716 posts
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    Damn you all, I thought this was news of a new book :-(

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  • otto Moderator 24 Jun 2011 21:53:36 49,335 posts
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    wobbly_Bob wrote:
    Not sure if I should read this now or go for something a little more easy on the brain. Might get the Peter F Hamilton Comonweath books as I fancy and easy read and that should be :-)
    I don't know about easier on the brain, personally I don't find utter fucking shit easy on the brain. :(

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  • wobbly_Bob 24 Jun 2011 21:55:36 1,898 posts
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    Steady on, old chap! Bit harsh?! Did you like his other stuff or just this one that offends? :-)
  • otto Moderator 24 Jun 2011 22:02:47 49,335 posts
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    wobbly_Bob wrote:
    Steady on, old chap! Bit harsh?! Did you like his other stuff or just this one that offends? :-)
    I enjoyed Night's Dawn very much, despite its flaws. I also quite enjoyed his Greg Mandel books. His recent stuff has been diabolical, he seems to have lost all talent for spinning a decent yarn which was the only talent he ever had, and his characters have gone from being two-dimensional to being positively idiotic in their lack of depth. I genuinely hate the Commonwealth stuff, I can't believe I ploughed through as much of it as I did.

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  • coda 24 Jun 2011 22:53:46 1,866 posts
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    Hey, I just realised this guy was born on Feb 16th, the same as me! :)

    What book would everyone recommend to someone like me who's never read any of his books and wants a gentle introduction to his writing?
  • Oh-Bollox 24 Jun 2011 22:58:04 5,439 posts
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    The Player of Games.

    :-D
  • Jetset_UK 24 Jun 2011 23:01:10 3,570 posts
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    They're all great. But Consider Phlebas is the first of the series. But they don't have to be read in order.
  • Deleted user 25 June 2011 01:52:52
    Consider Phlebas/The Player of Games/Against a Dark Background/The Algebraist would be my recommendations for first contact... Although the Algebraist and AADB aren't Culture novels, they really are superb.

    Then take you time building up to Excession which is simply stunning.

    And avoid Matter simply because it's shit.

  • ilmaestro 25 Jun 2011 02:26:59 32,537 posts
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    Totally agree with The Player of Games over Consider Phlebas as an easier way "in". If you're simply unfamiliar with Banks but read a lot of other space opera type stuff you can pretty much jump in where you like, though.

    Transition I thought was pretty good, nice to move to low fantasy/SF for a change, didn't love all/many of the characters, though.

    I still didn't read Surface Detail, anyone with an opinion on it?

    4235

  • Ajay 25 Jun 2011 02:36:49 2,412 posts
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    My first Culture book was Use of Weapons, which was a pretty gentle introduction into the series' universe focusing almost entirely as it does just on the human/machine civilisation itself.

    Got Surface Detail to get stuck into after I finish my current book, which I'm looking forward to.

    And avoid Matter simply because it's shit.
    I quite enjoyed it, though it did take me longer to get into than the others I've read. The melding of pseudo-fantasy stylings with the rest of the universe took a while to gel and did feel out of place at times, but the 'fractal' theme fleshed the universe out some, albeit relatively unsubtly.
  • Deleted user 25 June 2011 02:44:31
    I've had Surface Detail and Transitions since Christmas but not had a chance to get in to them - been distracted with uni work and A Game of Thrones definitely next on my reading list.

    As for Matter, I see what he was trying to do, I just didn't feel any particular empathy for any of the main characters and it was such a dull and slow burn which seemed particularly un-Banks-like. (I was going to put un-Banks-Iain but then realised I'd probably get hurt.)

    I also think it lacked a lot of the warmth and humour of other Culture novels although admittedly a Contact/SC drone disguising itself as a vibrator was good for a giggle.
  • Ajay 25 Jun 2011 03:07:08 2,412 posts
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    Fair comments on the (very) slow burn. It's probably telling that the final third or so is by far the most memorable for me, and that it's also then that the non-Culture characters really seemed to come to life in the context of the overall story. The exception being Holse, whose 'drone' role Banks seemed to have fun with for the most part.

    Bonus points for the pun, though!
  • Bremenacht 25 Jun 2011 10:32:20 19,666 posts
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    wobbly_Bob wrote:
    Just got it for my kindle :-) Hopefully I will like it. I was a bit put off by the reviews saying this is really hard going and confusing, but hopefully will be good. Not sure if I should read this now or go for something a little more easy on the brain. Might get the Peter F Hamilton Comonweath books as I fancy and easy read and that should be :-)

    Same here! I had to read some freebies first though like, errrmm, Pride and Predjudice. [shameface]

    I've read absolutely nothing about Transition in advance (partly through having got a bit bored of Bank's SF output - Matter really is a dull book, if you've read all the other culture stuff). It is confusing to begin with, but no more so than Feersum Endjinn, which for me is his creative and fun-loving highpoint. You've just got to keep reading and hope it makes sense at the end.

    I've read nothing about Surface Detail either, other than the generally favourable opinions expressed on another thread in this jolly forum.
  • TechnoHippy 25 Jun 2011 10:33:37 14,716 posts
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    Excession remains my favourite Culture novel, I love the ship interactions. And the Affront are an amusing race :-)

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  • Psychotext 30 Jun 2011 01:32:56 55,057 posts
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    Just finished Surface Detail... god damn I enjoyed that. I'm actually sad that I'm out of pages. :(

    I've been reading a lot of classic science fiction (the top 50 if you will) and I think that certainly stands up there with some of them. I wouldn't recommend it unless you're a fan of the culture books though... you need some understanding of the universe as a whole to get the most out of it.

    Top stuff.
  • ilmaestro 30 Jun 2011 02:28:03 32,537 posts
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    Psychotext wrote:
    I've been reading a lot of classic science fiction (the top 50 if you will) and I think that certainly stands up there with some of them.
    :o

    I will have to bump it up my "to read" list.

    4235

  • Wacko_AK 30 Jun 2011 09:00:39 207 posts
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    Just finished Surface Detail... god damn I enjoyed that. I'm actually sad that I'm out of pages. :(

    Same for me, one of the few books where that has happened to me.

    I still think that when the ship takes out the enemy and says "happy fucking day!" is one of the best lines I've read
  • Immaterial 30 Jun 2011 09:25:06 1,519 posts
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    Wacko_AK wrote:
    Just finished Surface Detail... god damn I enjoyed that. I'm actually sad that I'm out of pages. :(

    Same for me, one of the few books where that has happened to me.

    I still think that when the ship takes out the enemy and says "happy fucking day!" is one of the best lines I've read

    Falling Outside The Normal Moral Constraints pretty much sums that character up. Loved it.

    Think I'll just switch everything off.

  • Psychotext 30 Jun 2011 10:57:19 55,057 posts
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    Ha, yeah. Brilliant character.
  • Razz 30 Jun 2011 11:00:04 61,664 posts
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    Such a depressing series of books,, I wish Mr Banks wouldn't write such sad visions of the future :/

    Edited by Razz at 12:53:54 29-06-2012

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  • Bremenacht 30 Jun 2011 22:54:26 19,666 posts
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    What!? They're hugely positive! A future/alternative universe based around a civilisation where everyone can have lots of fun whilst being watched over by machines of loving grace. Sounds great.

    I met IMB at a book-signing and asked him if he'd ever kill off The Culture, perhaps at the hands of orangemen in space or something, and he said "Why would I? They're great!". He also pointed out that he's already done bigots in space.
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