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Favorite Iain Banks novels

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  • #31
    Indeed. Roll on the development of AI, and hope they are as benevolant as the awsome Culture Minds.

    Looks like Player of games is in the lead. Best I re-read it as I can't remember more than a couple of fleeting scenes.
    Considering it has taken 49 years to become 'not a complete ass,' I wonder if I shall ever become 'wise?'

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    • #32
      Sounds like a good idea Chris.
      Im long overdue a re-read of what is for me,one of the best of a good bunch!
      "I hate to advocate drugs,alcohol,violence or insanity to anyone,but they've always worked for me"

      Hunter S Thompson

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      • #33
        i went for inversions, the "secret" culture book.

        there's just a brilliant realisation of character among the the two leads in the dual narrative "fantasy novel", that come from "far away lands", the bodyguard to the protectorate being the only black character and the doctor to the rival king being the only Asian character in what feels at first like a generic western european fantasy novel.

        add in that its an allegory for the english civil war

        add in that the "villain", ends up being the most sympathetic and heartbreaking character and its a stonking good read.

        player of games, use of weapons, look to windward and surface detail are great scifi works.

        his non scifi stuff, i love his comedies like Whit and the crow road

        then there's his "its not scifi or fantasy honest" stuff like The Bridge, Walking on Glass and Transitions, which are all great and a good point for fans of Mikes books to get into Iain Banks stuff. Transitions in particular, Temandijin Oh is kinda a homage to Jerry Cornelius (in a good way like Nemesis the Warlock, not like ugh Gideon Stargrave)

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Chris Northern View Post
          Indeed. Roll on the development of AI, and hope they are as benevolant as the awsome Culture Minds.

          Looks like Player of games is in the lead. Best I re-read it as I can't remember more than a couple of fleeting scenes.
          The thing that always sticks in my mind with Player of Games is the porn scene, its really bloody horrible, but it says a lot about the aliens within the book, and who they represent in our world at the time of writing - Reaganites/Thatcherites

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Rothgo View Post
            The culture really couldn't be based on capitalism, else the humans really wouldn't be doing as well as they are, being, well, rather inferior.
            the culture is an anarchist society (with socialist tendencies).

            there's a lot of thought went into it. What kind of society could end up expanding amongst the stars? - not a bunch of cavemen waving pointy sticks at each other because they look different. not a bunch of greedy bastards snuffling up all the goodies for themselves while their fellows starve. To get that far takes cooperation and tolerance.

            sadly this is probably why the culture, aren't us in the future, but a collection of humanoid aliens who decided to band together (and breed together). The first culture book takes place during the 12th century, in our years. Possibly why we will never also have "minds" - garbage in / garbage out the first rule of programming, but i like to hope we will gradually move that way over time.

            As we have being doing over time to be honest, bar a ruddy great devolution into barbarity during the mid 20th centuary

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Rothgo View Post
              Well, with enough voting done, we can see that the concept raised in a previous thread, that Bank's recent stuff isn't quite as good as his earlier works, seems to be a broad consensus.

              The options above were in publication order, so we can see popularity vs. time scale fairly easily: the first half have 29 votes, the second half 5.

              Even given the disadvantage that Transitions hasn't been out long enough for many folks to have read it, it is still a fairly conclusive result.
              its a shame, because transitions and surface detail are a big return to form.

              he did have a period of being a bit iffy though, the algebraist wasn't great (but it had a great villain) and dead air is easily my least favorite banks book, but transitions is one of his best, a great novel for our times.

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              • #37
                I've read Transitions and it is a fascinating, rambling journey through Banks' version of the Multiverse. It's one of the best books I've read for several years.

                The Wasp Factory, however, is the real stunner. It's a gruesome analysis of the mind of an outsider.

                When I eventually publish my debut novel I hope it has just an ounce of what Banks put into the Wasp Factory.

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