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Feersum Endjinn

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,073 Ratings  ·  234 Reviews
In a world where one can live multiple lives, Count Alandre Sessine VIII has survived seven times and is down to his last, leaving him one final shot at finding his killer. His only clues point to a conspiracy that reaches far beyond his own murder, and survival lies in discovering other fugitives who know the truth about the ultimate weapon of chaos and salvation. Reprint ...more
Paperback, 311 pages
Published July 1st 1996 by Spectra (first published 1994)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Riting a revyoo as thoh I wuz Bascule seems 2 me the obveeyus cors. 1 mit even say the playd cors; the yoosd up an cleechayd cors. But a browz uv the revyoos postd on Goodreedz indicayts uderwize. I wood thot bi now sumbudy wood ritten a revyoo in the styl uv Bascule but it apeerz not 2 b the cays.

Thayr r meny protaguniss in Feersum Endjin but Bascule iz reely the dryvin chayractr. Hez the regyoolar gi we can idennify wif. Hez the unliklee hero frust in2 sercumstansis beyond hiz understandin o
Mar 21, 2010 Brad rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
By looking at my star rating you might think I am not a fan of Iain M. Banks non-Culture novel Feersum Endjin. That is not the truth, though.

I am a fan. A big fan, actually, but I try to stick to what the stars claim they are for, and since they range from "didn't like it" to "it was amazing" and are clearly subjective ranks rather than qualitative ranks, the book only received an I "liked it" rating from me.

If I was rating its quality, however, Feersum Endjin is worthy of the full compliment o
Feersum Endjinn: An eclectic far-future science fantasy mashup
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Sometimes a book has so many incredible elements that it defies easy summary. Compound that with the fact that it shares themes with some of your favorite genre classics, and that it is written by the incredibly-talented Iain M. Banks, and you have the recipe for a very unique reading experience. As I read the story, I was forcibly reminded of some classic books in the genre, particularly Arthur
Erik Graff
Dec 31, 2013 Erik Graff rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Banks' most devoted fans
Recommended to Erik by: John Elkin
Shelves: sf
Iain M. Banks is the only sf author I've actively pursued in years. His Culture novels have been particularly interesting, their sociological framework being unusually intelligent for the genre.

This is not a Culture novel per se, though, god knows, it may fit in somewhere as pre-C in the broad canvas of Banks' imagination. What it is is a future Earth story, date unstated, but certainly not near-future. The ostensible plot-driver is an interstellar cloud which, increasingly, is occluding solar r
Philip Hollenback
May 10, 2016 Philip Hollenback rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned, sci-fi, fiction
First of all, I'm a big Iain Banks fan. Keep that in mind when I tell you that this book is unreadable.

The number one problem is that one of the main characters has some sort of disability and can only write phonetically. So you have to wade through pages and pages of garbage like this:

But am Bascule thi Rascule, thass whot they call me! Am yung & am onli on my furst life I tells her, laffin; Bascule thi Teller nuffink, that's me; no I or II or VII or any ov that nonsins 4 yoors truly; am g
Jul 07, 2010 Hugo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set on an almost unrecognizable far future Earth, this book is Iain. M. Banks' second non-Culture SF endevour. Earth is past it's golden hour, and technology has fallen into the realm of mysticism and ritual. The story follows four different people living in the remains of what can only be described as an disproportionately scaled super-city as they are reluctantly dragged into a plot involving a threat against the entire Earth. They face a conspiracy of powerful individuals with their own agend ...more
Aug 29, 2013 Derek rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dying-earth
It grabbed me from the start. Part of this was the simple spectacle of it all, of the brobdingnagian "castle" where most of the story is set, in its kilometers-long, kilometers-tall chambers, of a destructive civil war between royalists and those aligned with the clan of Engineers, of the grotesque "chimeric" animals of sentience, and of the multiple layers of reality implemented in the vast dataspace of the cryptosphere where the data chaos lurks. And then there is the overwhelming concern of t ...more
Chris Amies
Feb 22, 2012 Chris Amies rated it really liked it
Well, this was what I wrote in 1995 when I read this book. I think I was a bit hard on Banks and the philosophy behind the "Culture" series; after all it was himself who said the fate of one character properly managed can be the subject of an entire book. Anyway, to the review, which originally appeared in my apazine "In the Wedge" for "Acnestis" in February 1995.

Ah jus finisht reedin "Feersum Endjinn" ba Iain Em Banx. U kan tel, cant u? Its way weerd. Ah thot it wuz fukin long an ol. 1/2 thi ti
Feb 19, 2010 Psychophant rated it really liked it
Shelves: far-future, reviewed
This is the first book I have change the grade after re-reading. It is still a great book, but I no longer think it is grand.

Although it is not a Culture books, there are some winks to Banks' preferred technologies. Here he takes the well used subject of humankind on earth at the end of time and gives it a spin. I thought I saw a couple of winks to Gene Wolfe, but may be it is in my eyes.

The story is told by the weaving of four almost concurrent narratives, including an "infamous" pseudo-phoneti
I -- don't know what to think. This one will have to sit and be turned over in the mental thought-bank for a while: the difficulties of following the narrative through POV changes and the phonetically written sections made it fragment in my mind, despite me reading it at my usual tremendous pace. I think I liked it a lot: I certainly liked the concept of the world, anyway, though on reflection I don't give much a monkey's about most of the characters.

If phonetic spelling is going to annoy you, a
Leif Anderson
In my opinion, this is Banks' best work yet. I really liked it a lot.

There were a few minor difficulties. About one quarter of the book is written phonetically, which is really interesting, but hard to read. After a couple chapters you get used to it, though. Also, the description on the back of the edition that I have is only vaguely related to the actual story. The back talks about Count Sessine, who I feel is only a minor character. There is little or no mention of the encroachment (an inter
Jan 25, 2008 Bill rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
When I finished this novel I wasn't sure if I liked it. With a good portion of the book written in the vernacular of our grammar-challenged hero, and a whole lot of heady stuff like cyber regions and vast settings, Iain Banks isn't giving the reader an easy go of it. I even had to seach the Internet for
discussions on the story afterwords to be sure that what happened was what I thought had happened.
Looking back after a few days I just can't help but be impressed with the novel as a whole. So yea
Jun 15, 2010 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite an enjoyable read, this! The world Banks creates here is rich with far-future cosmological pondering and cyberpunk intrigue, but it's also flavored with absurdity and lightheartedness. The book deals with the long-term survival of the human race, but also features talking animals imbued with the remnants of digitized consciousness. Talking sloths! It's a great example of a rich, layered and epic world that doesn't require a bloated trilogy to come alive. The main hurdle to enjoying "Feersu ...more
Jan 01, 2014 Martin rated it it was amazing
Not sure why I didn't rate this a 5 the first time. It's the first Banks novel I read (I believe), and it's responsible for getting me "into" the author, as well as the art of Michael Whalen, who painted the beautiful cover. I am in the midst of re-reading it, only because I'd run out of steam on the other novel I was reading, and wanted a "sure thing". It's sucked me back in, and I'm definitely finding it quite enjoyable the second time through. (Though it likely helps that it's been long enoug ...more
Aug 22, 2008 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is it a Culture novel? It might be, but it takes place on Earth eons in the future, where humans inhabit nanoengineered megastructures created by their ancient forbears and live in a world of technology they no longer understand. Powerful factions on Earth are feuding over a tool that may or may not save humanity from The Encroachment, a cloud of interstellar dust that promises to cause the ultimate destruction of the planet. It's a wonderful story. I really enjoyed the character of Bascule, a y ...more
Sally Melia
Aug 04, 2014 Sally Melia rated it liked it
I have read all of Iain M Banks books, and I read Feersum Endjinn the year after it was first published in 1994. This is probably the only Science Fiction book of Iain M Banks that I had read problems finishing.

This is a future earth story, and part of the issue I have with this book was that the main character: Bascule the Teller writes a large part of the story phonetically, and is really quite difficult to get used to. What actually happens is your reading pattern is disrupted, and instead of
Jan 26, 2009 Lemongrass rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 04, 2016 Ethan rated it really liked it
I'm a huge fan of Banks's Culture novels (see my blog post on all of them: I also enjoyed The Algebraist and The Wasp Factory. I really wanted to give this five stars, but despite heavy doses of Banksian brilliance, I can't say it quite measures up to his other work.

It's not that I didn't like this one. The writing is often beautiful. The semi-phonetic chapters are brilliant as much as they are initially frustrating (you do get used to it after awhile)
Aug 26, 2009 Annette rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This book was my introduction to Iain Banks, who was recommended to me by a friend.
I've no idea if this book is indicative of the rest of his oeuvre, but the best word I can come up with to describe "Feersum Endjinn" is "weird."
The plot in a nutshell: It is thousands of years in the future, and Earth is threatened by a sun-blocking cloud of space dust which may well destroy all human life on the planet. Said humans are very long lived indeed at this point, because there's been a bit of an update
Jun 01, 2010 Alan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tough guys, linguistically speaking
Recommended to Alan by: Other work
Man, this book was hard to get through... about a third of it is written from the point of view of young Bascule, who uses an idiosyncratic orthography that is part cellphone text and l33tspeak, and part Charlie Gordon in his pre-savant phase. In its way, this is quite a sustained achievement, but having to sound out the narrative for those parts word by word does rather interrupt the flow.

Ultimately, I found this one not nearly as satisfying as Banks' other works... in addition to Bascule's nea
Frank Ryan
Sep 08, 2012 Frank Ryan rated it really liked it

It was a toss-up whether I included Feersum Engjinn among my Banks's greatests. I probably should have done. Certainly I would have done had I not feared that the strange phonetic spelling of Bascue the dyslexic Teller(prescient of modern day texting or what?)and the difficulty this might create for some readers. Actually, given the univerality of much the same dyslexic texting these days, Bascule might be the easiest text in the book for many readers. But absolutely no doubt that this is an awa
Well. It's earth that's on the verge of an ice age. It's also an earth where people who are left behind (earth having been vacated by those who wanted to be space explorers) have forgotten science, and are mystics. It's an earth where cities have died and the last bastion of civilization is an enormous castle called Serehfa. It's an earth where the people live 8 lives, after which they move into a virtual world called the crypt and have 8 more lives to live there. It's an earth where there's a b ...more
Jan 23, 2010 Rushabh rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 27, 2011 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow what a book. Where to start? It's layered, both literally and metaphorically. A lot of it is written in phonetics which starts out really hard to read but you get used to it. There are characters who are birds, ants, and all manner of weirdness. It's often hard to tell where base-reality and other levels of reality begin and end. It's a race to save the world. It's got kings and counts and an ice skating asura.

This book took a long time to read for such a short book. I found myself going ba
Julie S
Jun 30, 2015 Julie S rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 31, 2014 Nigel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Iain M Banks went off and wrote a few non-Culture sf books just to prove he could, and what we got was a dazzling, baroque novel about a moribund future Earth about to be swamped by an interstellar dust cloud and the efforts of various parties to activate ancient defense systems which, if they actually exist, may save the day, while the ruling elite for reason of their own, work to thwart these efforts. The book is also notable because fully one third of it is spelled fonetikly, with the result ...more
Jul 26, 2013 Neil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most delightful main characters ever! Reminiscent of Flowers for Algernon, the main character has a learning disability, as most of the book is his mental-journal a large portion of it is written phoenetically. While this annoys the hell out of a lot of people it is easily read by the fifth page and, if not, it is worth persevering to uncover one of the most endearing characters I have ever read.
May 22, 2016 Cliff rated it really liked it
An early Ian M Banks, first published 1994. However, I haven't read it before. It's not a 'Culture' novel, but one about the Earth many thousands of years in the future when large numbers of people have left the planet the 'diaspora'. Those that are left live in the ruins of vast castles, towers etc with, however, futuristic technology. There are chimerical speaking animals and birds, some specially contructed and all is apparently controlled by 'the crypt', a form of virtual reality into which ...more
Juan Raffo
Apr 25, 2014 Juan Raffo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Miles de años en el futuro, Serehfa es la CIUDAD en mayúsculas; su estructura es un capricho que emula un castillo enorme, sus torres, murallas y contrafuertes tienen kilometros de altura,subir a sus tejados requiere de oxigeno, balcones y terrazas albergan enormes ciudades y hasta un volcan es contenido en una de sus alas. Pero en Serehfa puede estar la clave para la salvación de la Tierra, amenazada por una nube insterestelar que se aproxima llamada La Intrusión.

Mientras el gobierno se enfrent
Sep 12, 2008 Gawain rated it it was amazing
Awesome. Another stand-alone book which is set on Earth thousands of years in the future - although again, Banks leaves you few clues as to how the world and locations are staged, leaving much to your imagination.

I love the way the narrative of one particular character is written completely in phonetics like the title (Feersum Endjinn = Fearsome Engine). It is also tremendously funny in parts, in what I can only describe as a very "British" manner.

One of Banks' best.
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Iain M. Banks is a pseudonym of Iain Banks which he used to publish his Science Fiction.

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
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“Very little matters very much and almost nothing matters greatly.” 1 likes
“At one end of the vast C bitten from the castle a sin­gle great bastion-tower stood, almost intact, five kilometres high, and casting a kilometre-wide shadow across the rum­pled ground in front of the convoy. The walls had tumbled down around the tower, vanishing completely on one side and leaving only a ridge of fractured material barely five hundred metres high on the other. The plant-mass babilia, unique to the fastness and ubiquitous within it, coated all but the smoothest of vertical surfaces with tumescent hanging forests of lime-green, royal blue and pale, rusty orange; only the heights of scarred wall closest to the more actively venting fissures and fumaroles remained untouched by the tenacious vegetation.” 0 likes
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