Iain M Banks - 'Culture series' Page 3

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  • Sorbicol 24 May 2008 07:27:19 591 posts
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    Psychotext wrote:
    Seemed pretty straight forward to me ;)
    That's the thing, it was straight forward other than what happened to the servant. It was all so abrupt that you never really got to know that he got away, or how. You could kinda work out that he got off planet... but I'm not sure how he managed to make it to the kid and the kid's protector (I forget their names). Nor really why those two came back with him.

    The cut from ferbin jumping the wall to djan being cut in half felt the same... I really did think for a second that a bit was missing from the book! I'm really surprised that they didn't have the servant meeting up with the re-grown djan in there at the end either.


    Other than that... I did enjoy the last two thirds as I said. =)

    I know what you mean, I guess it's because I'm used to Iain Bank's train of thought having read all his books. I might have felt a bit bored or insulted if I'd had everything that happened spelt out to me.

    Of course that's a personal opinion!
  • Carrybagma 22 Jul 2008 01:04:18 3,904 posts
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    I read Matter a while back and thought it was rubbish.

    All Iain (M) Banks books are pretty much journeys in my opinion. You often know (roughly) where he's going to end up, but most of it is about how he gets you there: the places you pass through, the people/aliens you meet. The best books have the plot regularly interrupting the journey and making you wonder where the hell it's going to go next. The worst books are the ones where you cease to care where it's going, or in this case, where you get travel-sickness and then find the destination is an anti-climax.

    The 'alien' lifeforms are boring and over-detailed. The female lead is an under-developed bore. The main male characters were quite good I suppose, but their 'journey' got boring and turned out to be a little pointless too. Oh and the piss-poor imitation of an 'Iain M Banks' ending - everyone dies! Or almost dies! - what disappointment. I can only imagine he's been playing 'Halo3' and was influenced by 'the plot'. That, or he paid a poor student to write it.

    By contrast, I thought the 'Steep Garbadale' book was quite good stuff. A long journey again, but an enjoyable one!
  • mcmonkeyplc 15 Aug 2008 14:07:20 39,467 posts
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    I'm reading Excession now, first culture novel I've read, first book in ages.

    It's awesome so far and I'm only 1/4 through! Tell me there all like this and I will be a happy man.

    Come and get it cumslingers!

  • Bremenacht 15 Aug 2008 15:53:13 18,761 posts
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    Some of them are. I liked Excession.
  • LeoliansBro 15 Aug 2008 15:55:42 44,512 posts
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    Fearsum Endjinn is good.

    Looking back at the Culture series, they are massively, crushingly average.

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • Carbon_Altered 15 Aug 2008 16:42:32 675 posts
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    I used to be a big fan of the Culture series, but recently I got into the "Nights Dawn" trillogy by Peter Hamilton and have to say that they are streets ahead.
  • Deleted user 22 August 2008 11:05:48
    Carbon_Altered wrote:
    I used to be a big fan of the Culture series, but recently I got into the "Nights Dawn" trillogy by Peter Hamilton and have to say that they are streets ahead.

    FAIL
  • Bremenacht 26 Aug 2008 20:54:41 18,761 posts
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    Toast wrote:
    After an initial brilliant start with Banks' work, I got bogged down in Use Of Weapons, which I really didn't enjoy. I forced myself to get to the end but found it to be a chore rather than a pleasure. Over-complicated, over-blown, and self-obsessed, it was a literary wank as far as I was concerned. However, like mcmonkeyplc I'm about 1/4 the way through Excession and I'm right back to how I felt with Consider Phlebas and The Player of Games, so I hope it continues.
    How did you find it then? It pushed all the right buttons for me - I went back and read Consider Phlebas again straight after.
  • Bremenacht 26 Aug 2008 20:57:16 18,761 posts
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    Incidentally, I wonder if what made both books good was that they were mostly from the POV of a Culture enemy. i.e. The Culture viewed from the 'outside'.
  • Mr-Brett 26 Aug 2008 21:00:40 12,828 posts
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    I read Consider Phlebas after reading some of the EG lovin' it was getting but it just really didn't do it for me, at times I found it a slog to keep reading. I stuck it out to the end and overall it wasn't a bad book but I was happy it was finished.

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  • spindizzy 26 Aug 2008 21:07:45 6,542 posts
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    Carbon_Altered wrote:
    I used to be a big fan of the Culture series, but recently I got into the "Nights Dawn" trillogy by Peter Hamilton and have to say that they are streets ahead.

    You're ... you're actually serious aren't you? Wow.
  • GloatingSwine 29 Aug 2008 20:53:46 2,668 posts
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    spindizzy wrote:
    Carbon_Altered wrote:
    I used to be a big fan of the Culture series, but recently I got into the "Nights Dawn" trillogy by Peter Hamilton and have to say that they are streets ahead.

    You're ... you're actually serious aren't you? Wow.

    Some people are just that weird.

    Night's Dawn is an entertaining bit of fluff, but Hamilton has nothing like the imagination or wit of Banks.
  • Sorbicol 29 Aug 2008 21:10:04 591 posts
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    Carbon_Altered wrote:
    I used to be a big fan of the Culture series, but recently I got into the "Nights Dawn" trillogy by Peter Hamilton and have to say that they are streets ahead.

    You are taking the piss aren't you? Peter Hamilton's faux horror and obsession with 16 year olds having constant sex with the male lead (which frankly gets very disturbing before the end) and the most blatant "Oh fuck I've run out of ideas and got bored" Deus Ex Machina ending of any book I've read?

    Seriously. go back and read Excession, Look to Winward and The Player of Games (especially The Player of Games) and realise just how wrong you are.

    The Judas / Pandora book weren't bad but that latest one is drivel. If you want epic space opera that just about approaches the same level as Banks try Alistair Reynolds. Neil Asher writes a good story but he is just too much of a Banks rip off merchant for me to give him too much credit.
  • colinmac 29 Aug 2008 21:49:16 734 posts
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    Excession .... This is my favourite book of all time. Bar none.

    Man, The first attack. That teeny knife missile's fight to survive. Awesome.

    I've read it and re-read it. Every time I do - I remember exactly why I liked it in the first place.

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  • Ginger 19 Jun 2009 13:23:53 6,879 posts
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    I'm finding look to windward really really slow. Does it pick up towards the end?

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  • Articulate-Troll 19 Jun 2009 13:32:02 3,101 posts
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    Look to Windward is the only culture book I've read, and I definitely found it slow going at the beginning not to mention confusing for someone unfamiliar with the world. It does get better towards the end though, when everything falls into place.
  • Oh-Bollox 19 Jun 2009 13:38:13 5,327 posts
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    Ginger wrote:
    I'm finding look to windward really really slow. Does it pick up towards the end?

    Not really, it's quite slow all the way through.


    Player of Games is fucking fantastic, best one I've read.
  • figgis 19 Jun 2009 13:49:43 7,376 posts
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    Suprised no one really took Bungie to task over the Culture influences in the Halo stuff.
  • Goban 19 Jun 2009 14:18:26 9,076 posts
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    I generally find his books a bit of a strain for the first 1/4 or so, if I make it past that I thoroughly enjoy them.
  • TechnoHippy 19 Jun 2009 14:36:08 14,719 posts
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    colinmac wrote:
    Excession .... This is my favourite book of all time. Bar none.

    Man, The first attack. That teeny knife missile's fight to survive. Awesome.

    I've read it and re-read it. Every time I do - I remember exactly why I liked it in the first place.

    This is my favourite of the Culture books. I love all the AI jibber jabber.

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  • iokthemonkey 19 Jun 2009 14:40:19 4,664 posts
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    His stuff is ace. And I happen to really LIKE Inversions.

    But yeah, Player of Games is probably the best. Consider Phlebas is good and Feersum Endjinn is class.

    I also like his non-M stuff, too. The Crow Road is great if you were of that age, The Bridge is Life On Mars 10 years before it was filmed, Whit and The Business are funny and Espedair Street is really touching. The Wasp Factory is just bloody mental, Walking on Glass is so-so, Canal Dreams is a bizarre action flick, Song of Stone is interesting and Complicity is a reasonable little thriller.

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  • lucky_jim 27 Sep 2009 20:17:13 5,326 posts
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    I've meaning to try the Culture series all year. I read The Algebraist last xmas, and after finding it hard work to begin with, was completely enthralled by the end (sorry Otto, it's great and you're wrong for having an opinion which differs from mine!)

    Only problem is I'm not sure what's the best one to start with. Is Consider Phlebas a good place to begin? Because some people have suggest that The Player of Games is actually a better one to start on. Any advice?
  • idiotsavant 27 Sep 2009 20:42:09 63 posts
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    I preferred The Player of Games, but to be honest either is good. Just make sure you read them both!
  • Bremenacht 27 Sep 2009 20:47:55 18,761 posts
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    Either will do nicely - they're different enough. I liked the Algebraist too. Given how limp 'Matter' was, I'm thinking he'd be better off not bothering with The Culture again. I think all his SF non-Culture stuff is excellent - The Algebraist, Against a Dark Background & Feersum Endjinn.
  • lucky_jim 27 Sep 2009 20:52:36 5,326 posts
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    I'll probably pick both up. Does it matter (in terms of plot and chronology) what order they're read in?
  • Bremenacht 27 Sep 2009 21:07:16 18,761 posts
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    Nah. They're quite different. The Player of Games sort of sets the format for future Culture books, whereas Consider Phlebas simply has them as a part.

    edit: Do get both. I'm sure you'll enjoy them. I wonder how it will be for you, starting with a 'mature' Culture novel and then going back to the first two!
  • otto Moderator 27 Sep 2009 21:10:27 49,320 posts
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    Consider Phlebas was the first Culture book, but it's not one of my favourites. Good place to start though. That said, there is no real order in which to read them, they stand alone.

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  • elstoof 27 Sep 2009 21:20:16 7,762 posts
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    figgis wrote:
    Suprised no one really took Bungie to task over the Culture influences in the Halo stuff.

    Banks can't really lay claim to the whole idea though, Larry Niven got there about 15 years earlier with the Ringworld series for instance.
  • ccfb 13 Oct 2009 13:07:00 337 posts
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    otto wrote:
    Consider Phlebas was the first Culture book, but it's not one of my favourites. Good place to start though. That said, there is no real order in which to read them, they stand alone.
    Except perhaps Look To Windward which is (nominally) a sequel to the events of Phlebas.

    Just read them in order, is my advice. Each one is stuffed full of whizz-bang ideas and good in their own ways.

    Excession is my favourite.
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