Arthur's Reviews > Inversions

Inversions by Iain M. Banks
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Jul 19, 2012

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Read in July, 2012

One of the best written of the Culture series, though not necessarily the most interesting. Banks pares this one down to two simple narratives (that's progress for him, usually he's barely keeping track of 3 to 6 knife-missilesque plots) on opposite sides of a single planet. The gimmick is that the stories are set on a planet in a late middle ages / early renaissance period, and told without reference to the broader universe in which The Culture takes place, leaving you to question who if any of the characters even know the Culture exists. It's a tension familiar to anyone who's seen a First Contact episode of Star Trek, but played out with Banks' usual cynicism in contrast to Roddenberry. Very enjoyable, especially for anyone who likes a little swordplay with their sci-fi.

This one also had an ending that I really enjoyed, which is another rarity for Banks. Not too "A ha! Reveal!" (I'm looking at you, Use of Weapons), but not "Bla, whatever." either.
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