I probably should give this a 4-star since it is really solid and tightly written and very exciting and quite satisfying. It probably will find its waI probably should give this a 4-star since it is really solid and tightly written and very exciting and quite satisfying. It probably will find its way into many young readers' paths and I will help promoting this one -- just that I wasn't as taken by it as a reader myself. Tastes definitely reign here....more
This second volume of The Culture series by Iain Banks kept me entranced throughout its sprawling telling of a brand new "universe" in my reading worlThis second volume of The Culture series by Iain Banks kept me entranced throughout its sprawling telling of a brand new "universe" in my reading world.
Banks created a Utopian future where ownerships of objects, places, or people (as in, exclusive relationships) are no longer the norm and where sexual identities and preferences are all treated equal: in fact gender changes and and having partners in both genders are considered common place. In such a "Culture," how do people entertain themselves and what matters and what matters not? Fun questions to ponder and explore. However, most of the story was set in the off world of Asad which bears similarities to our own human world -- or perhaps the more barbaric ages of our world. Asad's social structure is highly organized around rules and punishments -- and there are some very cruel ways that criminals are dealt with (also what constitutes a "crime" can be quite shocking.)
I enjoyed reading the many theories of how the games are constructed and played and the author kept me guessing as to what the outcome would be. Thanks to my role playing game friend Brian who introduced me to this book! I'm onward to the first book of the series: Considering Phlebas. ...more
This reads like a lulling memoir, from a young woman's view point, who had an almost idyllic boarding school / well-run orphanage experience growing uThis reads like a lulling memoir, from a young woman's view point, who had an almost idyllic boarding school / well-run orphanage experience growing up. The book is full of anecdotes about her friendships with two classmates and their somewhat odd and entwined past. Since I knew that the book is SciFi and there are enough hints and clues embedded in the incidents, I was never surprised by the way the story progresses.
Yes, like many readers, I was questioning "how is this possible?" and "how can they just take it and take it and no one rebels?" For me, that is what differentiates this alternative history/scifi from many other of genre that treats this topic: the young people who are inculcated since birth of their "uses" in the world would not question the system and would not want to organize anything remotely like a movement to gain rights for themselves. They donate, they care, and then they "complete." For this, I greatly respect and admire the author.
Did I absolutely love the book? Not exactly, since it is perhaps too quiet and introspective, and the too minute examination of characters and their motivations is too "well done" (and thus dry and tough, not quite juicy and supple) to my taste. I wonder if this is told from Tommy's point of view and how he might have acted if he had different encounters and friends at the "school." That said, I believe this is definitely a great conversation starter and a worthwhile read.