Iain M Banks - Sci-Fi

#1
Picked up and finished one of his books recently "Consider Phlebas".

Bloody great stuff!

Are his other sci-fi books just as good?

Am aware he also writes non sci-fi under the name Ian Banks. Worth looking at?
 
#2
Bandalong said:
Picked up and finished one of his books recently "Consider Phlebas".

Bloody great stuff!

Are his other sci-fi books just as good?

Am aware he also writes non sci-fi under the name Ian Banks. Worth looking at?
Yes, and yes. Try "Use of Weapons" next...
 
#3
Don't forget that he also writes fiction as plain: "Iain Banks".

I can recomend "The Crow Road" & also his first book "The Wasp Factory".

He's ordinary fiction however, does seem to have got poorer in recent years, I didn't even manage to finish "Dead Air".
 
#4
Yes they are all v good. Try "The Player of Games" - my favourite.
 

Bowmore_Assassin

MIA
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#5
All his sci-fi is good but 'Feersum Enjinn' is hard work. You might also want to try Alistair Reynolds; his Revelation Space books are outstanding (he changes tack on Century Rain which is not a Revelation Space story and it is not as good). A book by Robert Reed called 'Marrow' and its follow up are tremendous.
 
#6
Agreed to all statements. I've read most of his books. Both under Ian M Banks, and Ian Banks.

The Wasp Factory is outstanding, a bit twisted in places, but an excellent read.

I had to read Consider Phlebas twice to get the most out of it. The Player of Games is also my favourite.

Buy a few, you'll not regret it.
 
#7
'Look to Windward' and 'The State of the Art' are also set in the Culture universe and based on the way it does things, as is 'Excession', but you need to make a key to the names as you go along to have the faintest idea of what is going on in that one. One or two others are also set in the Culture universe, such as 'Use of Weapons' and the latest, 'Matter', but in rather non-Culture parts of it. Others, such as 'Against a Dark Background' (which I recommend), 'Inversions' and 'The Algebraist' (which I do not) are not, IIRC, Culture-based at all. You started with the best one (IMHO), 'Consider Phlebas' - I think Banks has found it difficult to maintain the amazing invention of that one in his later SF books.
 

Sixty

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#8
Inversions is a Culture novel. You just have to know what you're looking for in regard to the Doctor and the Bodyguard :)
 
#9
I highly recommend Complicity, great book. Its pretty sick, but somehow Banks makes it enjoyable to read.
 
#10
I can't really get into the sci-fi - Banks himself prefers the sci-fi though. If you've ever been a student The Crow Road is a winner (but non sci-fi).

I think Feersum Endjin has a Glaswegian seeker or treasure "...then a goat him wae ma sord..." - I liked that character. Like Private MacAuslan in sci-fi land.
 
#12
Bandalong said:
Cheers all,

Just ordered Matter, Use of Weapons, and Excession.

Can they be read in any order?
I tend to start at page 1, and take it from there ;)
 
#15
Bandalong said:
Cheers all,

Just ordered Matter, Use of Weapons, and Excession.

Can they be read in any order?
I would say yes, because they are not really connected except by the appearance of Special Circumstances agents in Matter and Use of Weapons. Excession is very much set in the Culture, the other two are set in their own raher strange worlds, with the Culture in the background.
 
#17
Espedair street is a good banks novel, very different in tone to others as there are more personal links to it.

Ref the science fiction, while the settings may be other worldly, the nitty gritty is nearly always about personal or family relationships, guilt, secrets etc etc
 
#18
I've read most of his Sci-fi books, but Consider Phlebas is outstanding and is by far, the best book I've ever read. I must have read it about 8 or 9 times and am on my fourth copy as, when I lend it to people, I never get it back.

Some of my favourite passages are:

The Culture mind ship's construction, flight and destruction in its first and only battle, which causes the on-board mind to warp into the tunnels of Schar's World, The Dra'azon planet of the dead.

Horza's escape in The Clear Air Turbulence from the soon to be demolished orbital after the game of 'Damage'.

The CAT's approach to Schars world and the message shell stating 'There is death here' (is it a warning or a statement of fact, past present and future?)

The annexes are good reading too. In fact I tell people I lend the book to, to read these first. Reasons for the War: Idiran, then Culture. Dramatis personae, and best of all, the half page that begins...

'Gimishin Foug, heavily pregnant and late as usual....'

It seems that everyone who reads that finishes the book. It is the hook!

Its crying out to be made into a film. Lets hope they can get someoene English to direct it. And lets hope they stick to the the grim ending in the book, not 10 minutes of explosions and the hero gets the girl lke every other bloody septic film these days.
 
#19
Books came this morning and not seen missus all day due to reading Excession in my pit.

Its almost worth it just for the 'ship' names.

My faves so far...

Kiss The Blade
Anticipation Of A New Lovers Arrival

Im giving the pub a miss tonight to finish it off.
 
#20
The man is an utter and total genius, with Matter suggesting he might return to his glory days (Excession, Player of Games, Use of Weapons) on his next book (Algibraist and Look to Windward just aren't up to standard, IMO).

"Favourite Mind names" is one of my favourite games, with Experiencing a Significant Gravitas Shortfall my current fave.

Oh and the sig block quotation went in before I saw this thread :D
 

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