Back in my youth (no pun intended), I devoured Gibson's novels and so considered myself an ardent fan of the genre. And yet, I mus...moreThis was a good one.
Back in my youth (no pun intended), I devoured Gibson's novels and so considered myself an ardent fan of the genre. And yet, I must not have been much of one because I never even heard of John Shirley before seeing this doorstop of a volume in the store a year or so ago. Intrigued, I bought it, brought it home, stuck it on my TBR shelf because I was in the middle of some other large master piece at the time (some Hamilton space opera, most likely), and forgot about it until now.
First published in the mid to late eighties, with updates by the author for this edition (Facebook and iPads are mentioned, as well as the Arab Spring as something positive. I wonder if Shirley regrets that last one), the book's anachronistic qualities are equal parts attractive and disturbing.
Attractive because it's fun to read a 25 year old sci-fi story to see how the the present and near future jibs with the author's view of the future two generations past the time it was written in. I have to say, Shirley hits the mark more often than he misses in that regard.
Disturbing because, despite all of the positive events that have moved the world closer to freedom and equality for all in the last 25 years, the current political climate is such that it is very easy to see how we could end up in the world of 2040 he envisions.(less)
This book gripped me in a way that Consider Phlebas did not. Perhaps it's because I am an avid player of games of all types, I could not put this one...moreThis book gripped me in a way that Consider Phlebas did not. Perhaps it's because I am an avid player of games of all types, I could not put this one down.
Don't get me wrong, Consider Phlebas is a good book and is a fantastic introduction to the Culture and the Big Ideas contained therein. The Player of Games takes it to the next level. Just as the protagonist gets completely absorbed by the games he plays, I found myself completely absorbed by this novel.(less)
I like this one. I had a weird love/hate relationship with it, though. I really got sucked into reading it when I was reading it, but if I stopped rea...moreI like this one. I had a weird love/hate relationship with it, though. I really got sucked into reading it when I was reading it, but if I stopped reading, I really had to force myself to start up again. As a consequence, this one took a bit longer to read than others of similar style and theme. I really don't have a reason why this is, and it should not be construed as a knock against the book or the author, but a co-worker who started reading it after I told him about this novel also expressed a similar feeling. I tell you this because it seemed odd, and such oddities should be shared precisely because they are odd.
Anyway, there is a lot of genius in this one. At first the Zones of Thought seemed a bit too contrived, but that lasted only a short time into the novel. (view spoiler)[I especially enjoyed the consequences of the Slowness on high tech during the space battle at the end of part two. (hide spoiler)] I think his concept of the Net of a Million Lies and how messages are relayed is one of the best elements tying the story together.
Don't listen to me. Read the book, already.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)