The Player of Games (Culture #2)
The Culture - a human/machine symbiotic society - has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. The Player of Games. Master of every board, computer and strategy. Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game... a game so complex, so like life itself, that...more
mea culpa: so i have been recommending that folks start...more
I had previously read and loved The Wasp Factory, Banks' classic first novel which was a fascinating glimpse into the psychology of a very disturbed young man in serious need of a hug. I also really enjoyed Consider Phlebas, which is the first of the Culture novels. With Banks having two big wins under his b...more
You are playing a game. In adjournment you are offered a cast iron safe opportunity to cheat. It won’t affect the outcome of the game, you are going to win anyway. But it may change how you win. So what do you do?
For the rest, here:
In the Culture, all basic human needs are taken care of through technology, there is no war or crime, and its peoples are free to party...more
The wit makes this book very easy to ease in to. The Utopian society of the Culture is beautiful and diverse, seeming both alien and familiar to us in equal measure. The opening sections introduce us to th...more
In the utopian and dissolute society of the Culture Jornau Gurgeh is a Player, one who devotes all his life to the study (and practicing) of games of wit and intelligence.
But after decades of such pampered life even victory doesn't taste the same anymore.
Coincidentally, Contact (the paramilitary section of the Culture) has just the kind of challange Gurgeh might need to find a renewed sense of purpose: Azad, a bewilderingly, maddeningly complex game with an entire space Empire built upon it.
The book had a very strong start and I really enjoyed the first half or so as I was learning more about the setting and the characters. Somewhere around halfway through though there was a sudden change- many of the characters just disappeared from the story to pretty much never appear aga...more
A tale of two civilizations: one, the hegemony known as the Culture, the other, a repressive social order, the Azad.
The Culture, an AI-ruled Utopia, is cold and sterile, echoes of Isaac Asimov's Foundation. The citizens flutter about in a pointless daze, seeking the next entertainment or distraction of their bohemian lives. Death is rare and written laws are unnecessary as the AIs provide for a society free of conflict and crime. Drop into this imagined Shangrila, Gurgeh, the Player of Games. He...more
When agents of The Culture suggest that he travel to a planet where an overwhelmingly complex game controls the social hierarchy, the bait has been dangled...
My book club opted to read this book last month in light of Banks' recent very bad news. Not all the readers love...more
It was a beautifully written book, with lots of great ideas, but the story just didn't do it for me. This is problematic, because I think that he is one of the most story driven modern sci fi authors out there. Quick word association game: Reynolds = suspense. Hamilton = world building. Banks = story. But the fact is, I could re...more
The Player of Games centres on Gurgeh, the best-ever games player in the Culture. Similar to the first book, Consider Phlebas, with fast-paced action, interesting human and non-human characters and a compelling storyline, this installment has a much more thought-provoking premise: that the nature of games is the nature of civilization: “…Gurgeh never ceased to be fascinated by the way a society’s ga...more
It also gives us a much better understanding of what the Culture is and how it works, despite spending most of its time in the Empire of Azad and therefore outside of the Culture. That's because Azad is an instantly familiar environment. Yes it's relatively extr...more
|SFBRP Listeners: Culture series book club discussion - introduction and general discussion||24||101||Nov 18, 2013 04:23AM|
|The Sword and Laser: May 2013 Renegade Read: Player of Games, Section1 – Culture Plate||10||166||May 31, 2013 11:59AM|
|Iain Banks / Iain...: Games / Boardgames||3||16||Feb 14, 2013 05:25PM|
|Iain Banks / Iain...: The Player of Games||1||17||Aug 14, 2012 12:55AM|
|reading for Joy: * the one (The Player of Games)||1||8||Dec 19, 2011 07:13PM|
Banks's father was an officer in the Admiralty and his mother was once a professional ice skater. Iain Banks was educated at the University of Stirling where he studied English Literature, Philosophy and Psychology. He moved to London and lived in the south of England until 1988 when he returned to Scotland, li...more
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The very first-rank games acknowledge the element of chance, even if they rightly restrict raw luck. To attempt to construct a game on any other lines, no matter how complicated and subtle the rules are, and regardless of the scale and differentiation of the playing volume and the variety of the powers and attibutes of the pieces, is inevitably to schackle oneself to a conspectus which is not merely socially but techno-philosophically lagging several ages behind our own. As a historical exercise it might have some value, As a work of the intellect, it's just a waste of time. If you want to make something old-fashioned, why not build a wooden sailing boat, or a steam engine? They're just as complicated and demanding as a mechanistic game, and you'll keep fit at the same time.”