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The most disapointing Banks ever
am 25. August 2005
I fail to understand others' enthusiasm for this shoddy, poorly edited work. In it, Iain Banks dashes expectations culled in works such as The Wasp Factory, in which interesting characters and mysterious hints and hidden atrocities of the human soul are pointedly uncovered. The Player of Games, however, is an atrocity in itself, completely unsurprising and written in a sad, tired prose unrecognizable as coming from Banks' pen. The story is based on a faceless character who trains and then subsequently plays the "ultimate" game ever imagined for very high stakes (the reign over a culture). Banks utter lack of imagination as to the nature of this ultimate game is simply astounding, almost unfathomable: Since the story takes part in the far future, in a (completely unplausible, certainly underdescribed) world in which mankind has evolved into a state of Marxian paradise, one would expect this "game" to be something novel. Instead, it is just a very large board game, its surface encompassing the size of a soccer field. Lack of imagination, lack of character depth, lack of plot best describe this feeble book. It is the only book I have ever thrown away after reading, and justly so.