Arguably one of Iain Banks' best science fiction works. I found myself wandering back to the first chapter time and again to reconstruct narrative strains, the themes of which are already laid down on the first pages. A book about an opus magnum which in itself has symphonic qualities. Banks also mastered a rather intricate equlibrium between an evolving tragedy of, well, orbital scale and the fine irony which is interwoven in the fictional sociography of a civilization which so adamantly confronts us with the extremes of the 'here and now'. If one does not choose to read an author's books in the order of appearance, this book would make a fine appetizer. But be prepared to reserve some place on your bookshelf. You'll be coming back for more!
Iain Banks hat es wieder einmal geschafft, mich in eine andere Welt zu entführen. In jedem Kapitel findet man neue Ideen aus dem Kultur-Universum, die einfach immer ein bisschen weiter gedacht sind als bei anderen SF-Autoren, und das Buch durchgehend spannend und mitreissend halten. Von der Qualität her würde ich die Geschichte zwischen "Excession" (mittelmaessig) und "Consider Phlebas" (genial) einordnen, auf jeden Fall ein lesenswerter Banks.
Another Novel by Banks. Another 5 Stars from me. This is one of the calmer Culture novels. Much more like my favorite "The Player of Games". Of course, the stakes are high again. A suicide terrorist preparing and trying to get to his target is a very modern story to tell, and Banks is one of the best storytellers alive. He invents a completely new life form, that represents an ecosphere of itself, large enough to house humans and other, much larger life forms - just as a side branch of the story.
Banks tried to use some titles like Cr (Composer) oder Av (Avatar) in this novel. It didn't work well and from the looks he never tried again afterwards. I take this is a good sign.
Iain (M.) Banks is definitively one of the best Sci-Fi authors today. And what may be important as well: he is both imaginative and productive. The genre can be lucky to have a good classical author find his interest in Sci-Fi. Sci-Fi usually isn't a very demanding genre, so it sees many mediocre entrepreneurs. Banks has a rich imagination, rich vocabulary and is just a master writer. He does action scenes as well as giving a whole impression of societies, he can be funny at times as well as giving you very sobering insights, he can overwhelm you with richest unseen scenes and make hopelessness palpable just by describing a bleak scene. There are few things that are constant about his works - besides their quality. Namely his strange interest in shit, what seems to pop up now and then. And then there's is aversion against religion. The more religious someone is, the more amoral is character will act.
Finally after waiting quite long another book of Iain M. Banks. It is worth reading just to get into the complex world of the Culture. It is not quite as interessting as his other Culture books, but still definitely worth reading.
Read it in german years ago, now in english. Its fun to read, i simply enjoy science fiction like that; small plots at the beginning where you ask "how come", but merging into a picture gaining more and more fascination. He is not shy to go into detailed description of the mental evolution of his figures, even if there are surely readers that dont like excessive descriptions of state of minds. The only thing that gets me crazy are the many unknown words (at least to me), but luckily there is a dictionary at hands. I really recommend it, read it and enjoy!
Banks brings us to fantistic places, seemlessly creates the most pathetic race of aliens I have ever heard of and expands the readers view on the nature of the Culture. This is some fantastic world building science fiction with so many interesting parts that it kept my mind wandering through it's world for days. If there is one thing to nit pick it's Banks excessively detailed descriptions of living space in the Culture. It's beatiful, we get it. No need describing a city for two pages that's completely irrelevant for the story.
Finally another Culture book - long anticipated and certainly not a disappointment. It does not play in the same league as "Player of Games" or the wonderful "against a dark background" but provides some interesting historical background information on the Idiran War. All around a good read for these peskily long Winter weekends.
With his culture novels, Banks has found a perfect balance between hard-core space opera science fiction and finely woven intrigue. "Look to windward" with its parallel plots and many characters captures you from the first to the last chapter and when you finally close the book, you wish it would go on for another 400 pages...
... beinhaltet in guter Tradition den Titel im Text der Handlung. Erneut ein Roman aus dem Universum der Culture. Gut geschrieben. Spannend, kurzweilig. Woran man sich bei Banks nicht stören darf ist das zwischen Zeiten und Handlungen gesprungen wird. Man kriegt meist recht schnell mit wo man gerade ist.
Positiv: - Es sind wieder Raben da, am Rande aber doch - Altbekanntes und neues werden gemischt, es ergibt sich ein kurzweiliger Mix aus beiden - Es geht weniger um die Technik als auch hier wieder um die Moral der Handelnden - Ja, auch hier haben wir wieder überraschende Wendungen und Auflösungen mit Aha-Effekt. (Also nicht Spoilern, man vermiest sich die Spannung - Figuren sind unterschiedlich und mit genug Tiefe - es werden wieder eine Unmenge an Culture Schiffsnamen genannt (Kinder? spielen ein Ratespiel). - Dafür das so wenig passiert trotzdem spannend bis zum Schluß
Negativ: - Es sind wieder Vögel da - Die Culture schafft es mal wieder ohne allzu viele Kratzer