Tim Hicks's Reviews > Against a Dark Background

Against a Dark Background by Iain M. Banks
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's review
May 06, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction
Read in May, 2010

Lots of good ideas, but so many of them weren't relevant. Grumpy people go on a mission for an implausible reason. Other grumps try to stop them or beat them. Lots of people die messily, often after we spent pages learning how weird and/or unhappy they are. Then it ends. The McGuffin - the Lazy Gun - is implausible and doesn't end up mattering as much as it might have - of course, because if a tool or person can do ANYthing you don't have a story to tell.

Some people find allegories and messages in this, and deep analyses of how societies work and evolve. I found a bunch of futuristic characters and tools chucked into a pot and set to boil until they were mostly dead.

To be fair, I'm not sure any other ending would have been possible, given the cards dealt. The pieces were put together carefully, and I was carried along.

At the end, though, I am left with a feeling of dissatisfaction with the book. Maybe the author would say, "Good, that was the idea."

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