mark monday's Reviews > Excession

Excession by Iain M. Banks
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's review
Dec 12, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: z-iain-banks, rain-man-reviews, futuristik


this weekend's special is an Outside Context Problem! this amazing special is so unique, most shoppers will only encounter it once - in a millenium! please look for the infinity symbol tagged on our specially-marked OCP items.

on aisle 1, back by popular demand, we are excited to present faction upon faction of Culture Minds, as embodied physically by their glorious Mind Ships!!! shoppers, we have read your suggestions and we respond! you will find very few examples of those sad, silly creatures known commonly as "Cultured humans" throughout our festive OCP sale weekend. and that's not all... we proudly announce the debut of two marvelous new Mind Ships! at the front of aisle 1, the lovely and amazing Sleeper Service - necro-artist and secret agent! and lurking in the rear, unlisted on any official Culture registry... the remarkable Grey Area - avenger of genocides, torturer of torturers! ignore his nickname "Meatfucker" at your very own and very personalized peril!

on aisles 2 through 11, our hallmark OCP product The Excession continues to be available in ever-widening sizes and ever-changing formats. whether it be a black swan event, an unreadable black body sphere, a transport system for higher powers, or an ageless conundrum appearing since before the dawn of time, the Excession is tailor-made and custom-fit for thrilling contemplation of the infinite and - perhaps - cosmic oblivion!

on aisle 12-A we are excited to feature an exciting, one-time only Super Special... Warships! buy one, get 80,000 free! literally!!

we would also like to direct your attention to aisle 12-B... to our brand new line of society, The Affront! this bold new community brings a fresh and energetic perspective to many fronts: the gender war, the race war, the male-on-male war, and of course the timeless war between galaxies! you'll laugh at the barbaric shenanigans of this sociopathic "civilization" 'til your sides literally split open, entrails spilling and flying willy-nilly! BUY NOW - we guarantee you will soon find our special Affront products to be disappearing fast.


and now for the review: i liked it. the writing was especially witty in this one; the concepts were typically grandiose. sadly, a rather deflating ending. and a feeling of, i dunno... thinness, somehow? just not a whole lot to think about after putting this one down - a rare thing for one of my favorite authors. but i did love how this Culture novel was all about the fascinating Mind Ships and their various factions - so many of them, i had to write a list to keep track. i love the Culture Minds. besides, who needs humans anyway? wouldn't you rather read about Mind Ships?
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04/30/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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Brad fun review, mark, and i think we felt pretty much the same about the book in the end. you know ... i think i'll probably read this one again too.

mark monday i will probably read it again too. i love those Mind Ships!

message 3: by Ian (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ian " sadly, a rather deflating ending. and a feeling of, i dunno...thinness, somehow?"

Yup. But I am planning to read it again in the near future. I'm going through the culture books in order again and I just finished my re-read of Use of Weapons.

Robert Has anyone else noticed the continuity error between Consider Phlebas and every other Culture book? To whit, in Consider Phlebas ships of GCU class or bigger typically had two or more Minds aboard, which is contradicted by every GCU or GSV we've ever subsequently encountered?

mark monday i've only noticed that recently, and only because the idea of 'hive Mind' Ships was raised in a review by, i think, joel. banks is usually so detail-orientated, i'm surprised that he hasn't supplied an explanation for this in one of the Culture novels. seems like it would be easy enough to do...something along the lines of Minds developing the ability to run Ships on their own.

Robert I got the impression that the multiple Minds were a combination of redundancy and being social rather than any lack of ability to cope with an entire GCU/GSV on their own...I don't think it really struck me until the 3rd time round with Consider Phlebas.

message 7: by Ian (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ian Actually I'm pretty sure GCU's always only had one Mind--they are fairly small ships (less than a kilometer long). But you're right that in Consider Phlebas, GSV's were described as having three Minds. In later books, all ships have only one Mind, even up to the largest (GSV) types. I thought I recalled reading something about this by Iain banks; some explanation, perhaps in his Culture essay. I'll have to look it up.

Robert Maybe it was only for GSVs - I don't remember. It was clearly an idea that turned out inconvenient for the way he developed his ideas for Player of Games, though.

mark monday thanks brian!

message 10: by j (new) - rated it 3 stars

j actually there is a bit in excession that explains why the ships now have one mind i think. i swear i just read it, so it is before page 160.

Peter Undrell Good review, :-)

message 12: by mark (new) - rated it 3 stars

mark monday thanks Peter!

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