aPriL eVoLvEs (ex-Groot)'s Reviews > Surface Detail

Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks
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's review
Aug 08, 12

bookshelves: science-fiction, soap-opera
Read from August 03 to 08, 2012

I think an Intagliate being is the neatest alien pan-human I've ever read about it. Every cell in her body tattooed? Wow.

However, despite the amazing plot intricacies of the 600+ page book, I was disappointed by the somewhat secondary roles of most of the female characters. They were mostly appealing, needing rescue, and not as tough as the males despite the Culture's ability to change anyone into anything. Apparently sexual transmutation does not mess with sexual stereotypes from primitive 20th century Earth.

The most amazing projections of what uses The Matrix' movie-type technology could be used for were explored by the author, and some were horrifying, mostly because I could see how such technology COULD be misused by religious societies exactly as projected in the novel.

This is truly a convoluted and twisting plot, with many threads. While I think it was very entertaining, smart and hellishly inventive, I don't think it was a light or fast read. It requires a commitment to read. But it is very fun.
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Reading Progress

08/03/2012 page 31
08/07/2012 page 151
24.0% "Banks creates the weirdest wolds..."
08/07/2012 page 336
54.0% "Intricate."

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Andrew Watson Strange review as the way I see it the two leading roles are females and the only leading male (discounting the ships which are obviously androgynous), Veppers, is a monster.

aPriL eVoLvEs (ex-Groot) The women are written as strongly noticeable characters, but they don't exactly do anything important at crucial moments except whatever femininity thing is required, like speak rationally or look up information or make the phone call and the coffee or run gracefully away or be someone helpless to rescue. The men do all the heavy nastiness or killing or imprisoning or torturing or actual saving of people or major deciding (when it wasn't a sentient computer). Every time the time for action was upon them, the women picked curling up into balls. The men did the shooting, except for the woman on the space station, near the beginning.

Martin I'm confused... so you find the book disappointing because the females characters are... feminine?

aPriL eVoLvEs (ex-Groot) What you call feminine Martin I call a stereotypical male fantasy.

Martin aPriL MEOWS often with scratching wrote: "What you call feminine Martin I call a stereotypical male fantasy."

Ok, so that was uncalled for.

I've tried to phrase a reply more than a few times to your response, but failed to find the correct words to voice my disappointment.

I apologise if I have offended you in any way, I leave my questioning at that.

message 6: by aPriL eVoLvEs (ex-Groot) (last edited Apr 15, 2013 10:06PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

aPriL eVoLvEs (ex-Groot) Not offended! Been married 36 years to a knuckle-dragger. Kidding! (About dragging his knuckles. They only kinda bang into things). :)

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