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Feersum Endjinn

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  6,083 ratings  ·  205 reviews
A cloud of space dust is advancing on Earth, threatening to destroy all life. The task of saving the planet falls to the Chapel Engineers, an organization of scientific consciences, many of whose bodies are dead, plugged into a computer network.
Count Alandre Sessine VII has already died seven times, but the wonders of the vast net of technological memory have kept his sou
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Paperback, 324 pages
Published June 1st 1995 by Spectra/Bantam Books (NYC) (first published 1994)
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Ian
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
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Brad
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
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Erik Graff
Dec 31, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 2 of 5 stars
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
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Hugo
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
Chris Amies
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
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Derek
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
Psychophant
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
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Nikki
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
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Robert
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
Martin
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
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
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John
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
Bill
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
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Sally Melia
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
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Lemongrass
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Annette
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
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Alan
Jun 01, 2010 Alan rated it 2 of 5 stars
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
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Frank Ryan

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
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Chaitra
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
Rushabh
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dave
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
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Nigel
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
Neil
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.
Juan Raffo
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
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Gawain
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.
Tarald Røste
I tried to read this book, I really did. I love most of Banks work, and the chapters I got through told what I believe to be the start of an interesting story.

But the reading was so slow due to the ... interesting writing form, and it made my head hurt. Gave up about a third into the book. So many other books to read, so little time.

I wouldn't mind a translation into "normal" english, even if the story might lose "something" in the process.
Stephen West
This is my favourite Banks book. But I nearly didn't read it. I thought the phonetic spelling a lame wheeze. I'm glad I persevered. Banks has crammed in so many amazing ideas, fascinating characters, and richly textured, cinematic scenes, it's hard to believe that it's only a single novel. An amazing achievement of imagination, and a book to be savoured and re-read often.
Greg
Not a Culture novel (at least outwardly), but an interesting quasi-fantasy set in a deteriorating clannish far-future on an isolated earth where people live amount the leftover technological ruins left behind when the majority of the species left for the stars, and a poorly-understood yet vast VR/AI underworld bubbled under everyone's feet. The plot itself was relatively spare and simple, the setting definitely being the star of the show, but it's worth a read and the characters and interesting ...more
Tony
Thrilling, unusual, dream-like and satisfyingly odd. Re-reading this after doing MATTER earlier this year, Mr Banks has a grand sci-fi vision, but does have a tendency to just STOP...all that grand build up and then you get a 3 page wrap-up...

Delicious..but not 100% satisfying
Andrew McCrae
Ian M. must have been on the dodgy smarties, mefinks (c, kan speek it 2), before if not whilst writin' sum a diss. (Wunz u start, its ard 2 stop). As a genre, buster, it's kinda out there: a little bit sf, a little bit children's, a lot a fantasy.

I read Feersum Endjinn first 8 years ago, didn't review it, and didn't rate it at the time (i.e. rank it), although I had a strong impression in my mind it wasnae bad, it was fun, too, so retrospectively rated it around 7/10. Then, when I dipped into th
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5807106
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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Consider Phlebas (Culture, #1) The Player of Games (Culture, #2) Use of Weapons (Culture, #3) Excession (Culture, #5) Surface Detail (Culture, #9)

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