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Ahira's Hangar • View topic - Iain M. Banks (rescued)

Iain M. Banks (rescued)

latest discussions: Paolo Bacigalupi, Peter Watts, Iain M. Banks, Phillip K. Dick, Orson Scott Card, Julian May, Jacqueline Carey, C.S. Lewis, Philip Jose Farmer, David Brin, Greg van Eekhout, Stephen C. Gould, Alfred Bester, John Scalzi, R. Scott Bakker, Tobias Buckell

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Iain M. Banks (rescued)

Postby Duchess of Malfi » Sat May 30, 2009 5:51 pm

originally begun by duchess of malfi:
Posted: 14 Aug 2003 12:32 Post subject: Iain M. Banks

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I am going to start reading a book by Iain Banks today called Consider Phlebas which Damelon has given a very high recomendation to...
i had never heard of him before Damelon mentioned him, so thought I'd start a thread to see what others have to say, as well as saying that the book seems VERY promising...

Quote:The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were dommed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. the Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for tis moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender. Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet for the Dead proscibed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. it was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destrucition. Consider Phlebas -- a space opera of stunning power and awesome imagination.

Here is a bit about the author:
Quote:Iain M. Banks, one of the United Kingdom's bestselling authors of science fiction, has written such highly regarded novel as Consider Phlebas, the Player of Games, Use of Weapons, and Excession. Look to Windward, his next science fiction work, will soon be published by Pocket Books.

here is another bit:
Quote:Iain Banks came to widespread and controversial public notice wit hthe publication of his first novel, The Wasp factory, in 1984. Condider Phlebas, his first science fiction novel, was published under the name of Iain M. Banks in 1987. he has since gained enormous popular and critical acclaim and in 1993 he was awknowledged as one of the Best of Young British Writers. Iain Banks lived in Fife, Scotland.

His general novels:
The wasp Factory
Walking on Glass
The Bridge
Espedair Street
Canal Dreams
the Crow Road
Complicity
Whit
A Song of Stone

His science fiction novels:
Consider Phlebas
The Player of Games
Use of Weapons
The State of the Art
Against a Drak Background
Feersum Endjinn
Excession
Inversions
Look to Windward

Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell
****Tavern Wench of DOGMA, the Defenders of George Martin's Art****Edited by: danlo60 at: 7/8/06 7:57 pm


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Duchess of Malfi
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Posted: 16 Aug 2003 06:46 Post subject: Re: Iain Banks

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I loved Consider Phlebas. I am goign to have to find some of this guy's other science fiction books! Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell
****Tavern Wench of DOGMA, the Defenders of George Martin's Art****

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danlo60
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Posted: 16 Aug 2003 10:36 Post subject: Re: Iain Banks

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U're finished already! I hear nothing but good things about Excession whenever I run across his name on my net travels... And now Danlo looked in that direction, too. He remembered that snowy owls mate in the darkest part of deep winter, and so along with this beautiful white bird perched in a tree a hundred feet away, he turned to face the sea as he watched and waited.

Ahira, Ahira, he called out silently to the sky. Ahira, AhiraEdited by: danlo60 at: 8/16/03 8:43 am


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Damelon
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Posted: 16 Aug 2003 10:48 Post subject: Re: Iain Banks

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Excession and Look to Windward are fairly easy to find. I highly recommend them. Start with Excession. The stories are stand alone, but there are one or two references in each to the previous works.

Each book in the Culture series is very different from the others. Excession is basically a novel of court intrigue. In Look to Windward the main characters are driven, one by losing the love of one's life, or another haunted by acts committed in the past. The main characters are not only intelligent biological life, but computer minds as well.

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Duchess of Malfi
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Posted: 16 Aug 2003 15:22 Post subject: Re: Iain Banks

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here is a description of the Mind in Consider Phlebas, rememebr it is just a little kid Mind, intended to be the Mind of a starship someday...
Quote:Externally...it is an ellipsoid. Fields up, it looks like a very small ship. It's about ten meters long and two and a half in diameter. Internally, it's made up of millions of components, but the most important ones are the thinking and memory parts of the Mind proper; those are what make it so heavy because they're so dense. It weighs nearly fifteen thousand tonnes. It is fitted with its own power, of course, and several field generators, any of which could be pressed into service as emergency motors, and are indeed designed with this in mind. Only the outer envelope is constantly in real space, the rest - all the thinking parts anyway - stay in hyperspace...The mind does have an internal warping unit, but it is supposed to be used only to expand microscopic volumes of the memory so that there is more space around the sections of information- in the form of third level elementary particles - which it wants to change... Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell
****Tavern Wench of DOGMA, the Defenders of George Martin's Art****

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Duchess of Malfi
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Posted: 16 Aug 2003 18:43 Post subject: Re: Iain Banks

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And here is a description of a Culture starship, that such a mind is intended to occupy...

Quote:He went dizzy again, just registering the sheer scale of the vast craft. he hadn 't seen a GSV before, far less been inside one. He knew of them and what they were for, but only now did he appreciate what an achievement they represented. This one was theoretically no longer part of the Culture; he knew it was demilitarized, stripped bare of most equipment, and without the Mind or Minds which would normally run it; but just the structure alone was enough to impress. General Sysytems Vehicles were like enscapulated worlds. They were more than just very big spaceships; they were habitats, universities, factories, museums, dockyards, libraries, even mobile exhibition centers. They represented the Culture - they were the Culture. Almost anything that could be done anywhere in the Culture could be done on a GSV. Yhey could make anything the Culture was capable of making, contained all the knowledge the Culture had ever accumulated, carried or could construct specialized equipment of every imaginable type for every conceivable eventuality, and continually manufactured smaller ships: General Contact Units usually, warcraft now. Their complements were measured in millions at least. They crewed their offspring ships out of the gradual increase in their own population. Self-contained, self-efficient, productive, and, in peacetime at least, continually exchanging information, they were the Culture's ambassadors, its most visible citizens and its technological and intellectual big guns. There was no need to travel from the galactic backwoods to some distant Culture home-planet to be amazed and impressed by the stunning scale and awesome power of the Culture; a GSV could bring the whole lot right up to your front door... Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell
****Tavern Wench of DOGMA, the Defenders of George Martin's Art****

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Damelon
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Posted: 17 Aug 2003 09:15 Post subject: Re: Iain Banks

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This is from the back cover of Excession:

Quote:Diplomat Byr Genar-Hofoen has been selected by the Culture to undertake a delicate and dangerous mission. The Department of Special Circumstances - the Culture's espionage and dirty tricks section - has sent him off to investigate a 2,500 year-old mystery: the sudden disappearance of a star fifty times older than the universe itself. But in seeking the secret of the lost sun, Byr risks losing himself. There is only one way to break the silenceof millennia: steal the soul of the long-dead starship captain who first encountered the star, and convince her to be reborn. And in accepting this mission, Byr will be swept into a vast conspiracy that could lead the universe into an age of peace.... or, to the brink of annihilation.

And from the back cover of Look to Windward:

Quote:Eight hundred years after the most horrific battle of the Idiran war, light from its catastrophic, worlds-destroying detonations is about to reach the Masaq' Orbital, home to the far-flung Culture's most adventurous and decadent souls. There it will fall upon Masaq's 50 billion inhabitants, gathered to commemorate the deaths of the innocent and to reflect, if only for a moment, on what some call the Culture's own complicity in the terrible event.

Also journeying to Masaq' is Major Quilan, an emissary from the war-ravaged world of Chel. In the aftermath of the conflict that split his world apart, most believe he has come to Masaq' to bring home Chel's most brillant star, the self-exiled celebrity Composer Ziller.

Ziller suspects Quilan has come to murder him, but the major's true assignment will have far greater consequences than the death of a political dissident. He is part of a conspiracy more ambitious than he can know - a mission his superiors have buried so deeply in his mind thateven he cannot remember it.

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Posted: 02 Dec 2003 20:53 Post subject: Re: Iain Banks

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Here is an interview from telegraph.co.uk...

*******************************************
A writer's life: Iain Banks
(Filed: 03/11/2003)


The fantastical author tells William Leith how he strives to make his life boring


"I wanted to be a writer from the age of 11," says the Scottish author Iain Banks. "I have proof of this. At school we were asked to draw, in crayon, what we wanted to be when we grew up. I didn't know how to draw a writer, so I drew an actor. And I put 'and writer' in quite clear letters in the top left-hand corner."

Until now, Banks has written two types of book – mainstream novels in which the protagonist often appears to be living on a different planet, and science-fiction novels in which the characters actually are living on different planets. The science-fiction novels, which he writes as Iain M Banks, feature insanely complicated plots and Byzantine methods of torture; in the mainstream novels, which he writes as plain Iain Banks, the torture and complexity are mostly in the protagonist's head.

"I think I'm basically a science-fiction writer, and I always have been," says Banks, "but I broke into the mainstream first." His first novel was The Wasp Factory, in which a child tortures insects in a labyrinthine contraption that might almost be a map of his own paranoia. Later, Banks gave us The Bridge, a novel about a coma victim who believes he is living in a Lilliputian society that exists inside the hollow girders of the Forth Bridge, and Look to Windward, which features sentient spacecraft, talking birds, and people who can drug themselves at will. As the science-fiction gets ever more peculiar, the straight novels have been getting straighter; Dead Air, which Banks wrote in 2002, is an urgent, thrillerish tale about a radio DJ who has an affair with a gangster's wife.

"I think The Bridge may be the best one," says Banks. "Sadly, in a way. I should have done better by now." He wrote The Bridge in 1986.

His new book, Raw Spirit, is, says Banks, his first and last autobiographical work, and it's also a book about whisky. Banks has written an account of travelling around Scotland in the spring of 2003, during the Gulf war, which he was deeply against; he stops at distilleries, drinks whisky, and tells us about his life and enthusiasms. He likes drinking, and he loves tooling around in cars. He depicts himself as boyishly happy. Sometimes, he explains, people read The Wasp Factory and assume he must have had "a really awful, disturbed and even abused childhood, but it just ain't true".

Banks grew up in North Queensferry, just outside Edinburgh. His father worked for the Admiralty; his mother had at one time been a professional ice skater. "I was an only child," he tells me. "I got all the attention. And I had to make up my own stories to keep myself company."

Although slow to start reading, once he'd started he never stopped. When he started writing at school, he was "really, really good". ``And then I found out, at some point in primary school, that there were such things as professional writers. And I thought, 'Hey, I could have a crack at that.' If it was possible to make a living being a writer, it might be even better than being an astronaut or a fireman or an engine driver."

When Banks was nine, his family moved from Queensferry to Gourock, 80 miles away from the world he knew. He started "making up stories in my head. Rather than novels, they were basically fictitious TV series similar to The Man from UNCLE or Danger Man. For some reason, the secret service would have to employ a young, but very cunning and clever Scots boy, of whatever age I happened to be at the time." At 14, he wrote his first novel, The Hungarian Lift Jet, which he wrote in pencil on a series of jotters. "The idea," he tells me, "is that Hungary has invented this radical lift jet" – a sort of hovering warplane – "and the secret service had nicked it. It was just an excuse for vast amounts of mayhem. It all ended badly. Everybody died."

Meanwhile, Banks was developing "a really bad pun habit". Pun habit? "Well," says Banks, "say you're describing a chandelier. You would have a character who was drinking shandy and leered at somebody. It's that bad, I'm afraid." For a while, he wrote "really bad, pun-filled stories". "I used to count up my pun-to-word ratio and the best I ever did, I managed to get it below 10. I got my pun ratio down to 9.8 to one. Less than every tenth word is a pun. It's difficult."

In the sixth form, Banks took on a new project, which would eventually become a 400,000-word epic – The Tashkent Rambler, a book set in a near-future version of Mongolia, which is about to become the 51st state of the US. "There are fewer than 100 puns in the whole of The Tashkent Rambler," says Banks. "They're mostly concentrated in one passage, a sort of pun shootoff." Banks tells me he recently looked at The Tashkent Rambler "for the first time in about a year or more. It's still rubbish."

We are drinking cocktails in a hotel bar in Edinburgh. Banks likes a drink, and adores single malts. He is full of enthusiasms. He loves Islay and a speciality Glenfiddich which has been matured in Cuban rum casks. On the way to the restaurant, he stops to look at the Walter Scott Memorial. "A memorial," he says, "not to a king or a queen or a statesman or a general - but to a writer!" Banks opts for a Mexican restaurant. As he tells us in Raw Spirit, he loves spicy food.

These days, Banks writes to a well-oiled schedule. He writes a book every year, alternating between science-fiction and mainstream. A book, typically, takes him three months to write. The rest of the time he spends dreaming it up. He has moved back to North Queensferry, so he can see the Forth Bridge again. His parents have moved back, too; they live next door. He often drives into the hills with his wife in his Land Rover. "If it's a nice day," he says, "we'll go out in an open-topped car. Quite often, if it's not raining and we don't go out together, I'll go out on my motorbike."

Banks says: "I've been trying my entire life to make my life boring! What I'm saying is: have a life that is in a tactical sense interesting, but in a strategic sense boring. So you have lots of fun. Have you ever done that thing where you've had a brilliant evening with your friends the night before, and you've just been laughing and laughing and laughing. And the next morning, you think: What did we say? Can I use this? Is there any way of putting it across to other people? And you never can." Banks swallows a mouthful of chilli sauce. "That," he says, "is the sort of life to have."


'Raw Spirit' is published by Century at £17.99

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******************************************************

Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell


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UrVile
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Posted: 19 Jan 2004 15:41 Post subject: Banks

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Banks is a legend. Awesome author. I'd have to say my favourite book of his would have to be Against A Dark Background. Consider Phelebas is excellent, too.

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Posted: 24 Feb 2004 17:01 Post subject: Re: Banks

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Iain Banks is well known in Britain. As already been pointed out, he is from Scotland, and is most famous for the Culture novels. He has written some non-Culture SF, such as Against a Dark Background, Look to Windward, Feersum Enjinn and is apparently working on another non-Culture one now.

A mate of his, Ken Mcleod also writes SF, but with a more socialist/post-communist angle. I never liked him so much, mainly because the stories didn't hold up.

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Duchess of Malfi
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Posted: 27 Feb 2004 16:44 Post subject: Re: Banks

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I have started Look to Windward and it is pretty interesting so far. It is telling the story of a being who has lost his wife and soul mate in a civil war which was caused by a mess-up on the part of a Culture intervention into the local politics of their planet. He is now on his way to the Culture, bearing a second mind inplanted in his own, due a little high tech device placed inside his body. He and the other being talk back and forth. He has been sent to the Culture to try to talk one of the greatest living composers in the galaxy, a dissident from his planet, into returning. But he is also on a secret mission, which he is not even aware of, as it has been hidden even from him...and from the reader. ******************************************************

Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell


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autojay
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Posted: 27 Feb 2004 18:37 Post subject: Re: Banks

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Look to Windward is a culture novel? Sorry, it's been a while since I read it, I forgot.

The mainstream books of his I'd recommend are The Wasp Factory, The Crow Road, and Whit.

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Duchess of Malfi
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Posted: 27 Feb 2004 20:49 Post subject: Re: Banks

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One thing that is fun in Bank's Culture books is the names of the Minds/Ships. You would think the greatest and most intelligent beings ever to exist might be a bit...serious. But here are some of the names they have chosen for themselves:

No More Mr. Nice Guy
Resistance is Character-Forming
All Through With This Niceness and Negotiation Stuff
Someone Else's Problem
Poke It With A Stick
I Said, I've Got a Big Stick
Hand Me the Gun and Ask Me Again
But Who's Counting
We Haven't Met, But You're a Great Fan of Mine
All the Same, I Saw It First
Ravished by the Sheer Implausibility of the Last Statement
Zero Credibility
Charming But Irrational
Demented but Determined
You Might Not be the Coolest Person Here
Thorough But Unreliable
Lucid Nonsense
Another Fine Product from the Nonsense Factory
In One Ear
I Blame the Parents
Now Look What You Made Me Do
Injury Time
Kiss This Then ******************************************************

Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell


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Posted: 06 Jun 2005 12:24 Post subject: Iain Banks

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Have been reading Inversions. Minor spoilers follow:







spoiler space




spoiler space



spoiler space






This is a Culture novel which is not set within the Culture. Rather, it is set upon a primitive world, divided into lots and lots of little kingdoms, following the destruction of a large and cruel empire from falling rock and fire from space.

It follows two stories -- one is a female doctor in a kingdom that reminds me of the European Dark Ages. Needless to say, it is mysogenistic there. The other follows a male bodyguard in another country in the same world, far away from the first, in a place that seems quasi-Mediterranean, with harems, saraglios, etc.

They stories alternate, with a doctor chapter, then a bodyguard chapter.

It is rather clear that both of the main characters are Culture agents, though I am too early in the book yet to find out why exactly they are there or what their aims are.

So, in this book, we are seeing the Culture from the other side, through the eyes of "primitives".

So far I am enjoying it a lot. ******************************************************

Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell


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Duchess of Malfi
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Posted: 07 Jun 2005 21:49 Post subject: Re: Iain Banks

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Inversions is a fantastic book. I have to get Highdrake/Fist & Faith to read this.

The prologue is a discussion on whether or not selfishness is the root of all evil. The POV character from the prologue discusses how he views that idea during various parts of his life.

Banks is, in my mind, one of the best science fiction writers working today. It is a true shame that his books are so difficult to locate here in the States. ******************************************************

Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell
Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell

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Re: Iain M. Banks (rescued)

Postby Duchess of Malfi » Sat May 30, 2009 5:54 pm

begun by Danlo:
Posted: 17 Jul 2005 18:58 Post subject: Re: Iain Banks

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Loremaster sent me a copy of Consider Phelbas, I guess in exchange for a signed TCTC book I sent him a year ago. Already read Chapter one and I LIKE it! Let me see If I can finish my Claw reread quickly and I'll be in this tread often! *****
Before, you are wise; after, you are wise. In between you are otherwise.
Fravashi saying (from the formularies of Osho the Fool)

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Posted: 09 Mar 2006 13:52 Post subject: Re: Iain Banks

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I am about halfway through with Banks's latest science fiction novel, the Algebraist, and am finding it to be a great read.

It is science fiction, but not part of his Culture series.

I am amazed at the width and breadth of Banks's imagination and world building skills. Here is a universe every bit as well thought out as the Culture, but very different and unique.

The Algebraist tells the story of several space navies from several different powers converging on a solar system that contains a gas giant world. The gas giant world is the home to a very interesting species of aliens, who sometimes interact with specialists from other species. One of these aliens is a human, who accidentally and unknowingly gained a clue to one of the greatest secrets in the galaxy during on of his missions with the gas giant Dwellers.

He is sent back to the Dwellers to see if he can find the rest of the secret, while space battles and naval armadas are popping out everywhere in that solar system. Some are trying to help him...others are trying to kill him... ******************************************************

Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell


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Posted: 08 Jul 2006 21:57 Post subject: Re: Iain Banks

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I'm a major Culture fan after Consider Phlebas and Look to Windward. Great, great stuff! Use of Weapons is next on my list. *****
Before, you are wise; after, you are wise. In between you are otherwise.
Fravashi saying (from the formularies of Osho the Fool) Edited by: danlo60 at: 7/8/06 7:58 pm


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Posted: 04 Jun 2007 13:21 Post subject:

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There is a new Culture book in the works. (You have to read to nearly the end of the article to get to those details).
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Posted: 04 Jun 2007 22:50 Post subject:

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Haha, I haven't even read the last few. They're always interesting though, aren't they?

--A
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Posted: 04 Jun 2007 23:40 Post subject:

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Avatar wrote:
Haha, I haven't even read the last few. They're always interesting though, aren't they?

--A


It is hard to find Banks books in the US. I haven't read any where near as many of the Culture books as I would like too...
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Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Posted: 05 Jun 2007 01:06 Post subject:

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Really? They're all over the place here. Just can't afford them new. Not enough of them anyway. I mean I could probably buy one a month or something, but for some reason I don't, and then I spend the money on other stuff anyway.

Should prioritise better.

--A
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There should be a science of discontent. People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles.
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Duchess of Malfi
Lady Scryer


Joined: 17 Nov 2002
Posts: 5975
Location: Michigan, USA
Posted: 05 Jun 2007 11:22 Post subject:

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If you are lucky, you might run into copies of his latest 1-2 novels in mass market paperback at a better book store. Go further back than that, and it consists of trying to find them on the internet...

Actually, I should start slipping in a Banks book or two everytime I make an Amazon order...it will help to get me to the $25 mark, where you get free shipping.

Glad I just thought of that.
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The UnTitled


Joined: 02 Aug 2006
Posts: 1355
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Posted: 05 Jun 2007 23:12 Post subject:

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Lemme think, I've got...

The Player of Games

The Use of Weapons

Uh...actually, I can't remember what others. I've definitely got a couple more. (Those are my favourites though, those and Against a Dark Background (but I don't have that one.) Time for a re-read methinks.

--A
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There should be a science of discontent. People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles.
--from "Collected Sayings of Muad'Dib" by the Princess Irulan

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danlo
The Timekeeper


Joined: 06 Nov 2006
Posts: 585
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posted: 05 Jun 2007 23:19 Post subject:

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Loved Consider Phelbas and Look To Windward, gave up half way through The Algebraist...I don't know why...seemed a little stodgy. Will have to pick it up again.

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The UnTitled


Joined: 02 Aug 2006
Posts: 1355
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Posted: 05 Jun 2007 23:46 Post subject:

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Consider Phelbas and Look To Windward are not my favourites from what I remember of them. Strongly recomment AaDB as mentionred above though.

The Solipsist Mercenaries in their day-glo camo were great.

--A
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There should be a science of discontent. People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles.
--from "Collected Sayings of Muad'Dib" by the Princess Irulan

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Duchess of Malfi
Lady Scryer


Joined: 17 Nov 2002
Posts: 5975
Location: Michigan, USA
Posted: 05 Jun 2007 23:50 Post subject:

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I have read:
TheAlgebraist which is science fiction, but not a Culture book

Consider Phlebus
Look to Windward
Inversions all of which are Culture books

I loved all three of those, but might give a slight edge to Inversions, as it is so bloody different.
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Duchess of Malfi
Lady Scryer


Joined: 17 Nov 2002
Posts: 5975
Location: Michigan, USA
Posted: 31 Jul 2007 11:10 Post subject:

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Matter, the new Culture novel, supposedly will be coming out early next year.
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The UnTitled


Joined: 02 Aug 2006
Posts: 1355
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Posted: 31 Jul 2007 23:34 Post subject:

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I'm sure I'll get to it in 5 or 10 years. I didn't really like Inversions, I must say. Should look for it again though...its been a while.

--A
_________________
There should be a science of discontent. People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles.
--from "Collected Sayings of Muad'Dib" by the Princess Irulan
Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell

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Duchess of Malfi
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Re: Iain M. Banks (rescued)

Postby Duchess of Malfi » Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:16 pm

New Culture book supposedly coming out Feb of 2011 called Surface Detail. 8)
Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell

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Re: Iain M. Banks (rescued)

Postby Avatar » Wed Sep 15, 2010 3:24 pm

Do love the Culture books.

Ages since I read old Banks...should give my bunch a re-read sometime soon.

--A
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