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Feersum Endjinn

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  9,670 ratings  ·  361 reviews
In a world where one can live multiple lives, Count Alandre Sessine VIII has survived seven times and is down to his last, leaving him one final shot at finding his killer. His only clues point to a conspiracy that reaches far beyond his own murder, and survival lies in discovering other fugitives who know the truth about the ultimate weapon of chaos and salvation. Reprint ...more
Paperback, 311 pages
Published July 1st 1996 by Spectra (first published 1994)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  9,670 ratings  ·  361 reviews

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Riting a revyoo as thoh I wuz Bascule seems 2 me the obveeyus cors. 1 mit even say the playd cors; the yoosd up an cleechayd cors. But a browz uv the revyoos postd on Goodreedz indicayts uderwize. I wood ½ thot bi now sumbudy wood ½ ritten a revyoo in the styl uv Bascule but it apeerz not 2 b the cays.

Thayr r meny protaguniss in Feersum Endjin but Bascule iz reely the dryvin chayractr. Hez the regyoolar gi we can idennify wif. Hez the unliklee hero frust in2 sercumstansis beyond hiz understandin
Kevin Kelsey
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
Posted at

Even though his work was split about fifty-fifty between literary fiction and science fiction, Iain Banks considered himself first and foremost a science fiction writer. He cut his teeth on space opera, writing several novels in the seventies that went unpublished for decades. By 1984 he had shelved his earlier work and focused his attention on the world of literary fiction—what he referred to lovingly as “Hampstead” novels—hoping for better luck in the mainstream. The Wa
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scottish writer Iain M. Banks with his book "Feersum Endjinn" has given us the second science fiction novel not based upon or set within the Culture universe, the first being Against a Dark Background.
"Feersum Endjinn" is additionally Iain M Banks's sixth work of science fiction.

Banks deals in ideas. The most striking feature of this book is lack of emotional subtlety and the story is told in four threads, following four main characters.

Mr. Banks passed away on June 6 2013 at the age of 59. Awar
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a serious work of the imagination. It doesn't really fit in the Culture novels, but it's definitely some Hard-SF with a beautiful vision of a far old Earth filled with so many Big Ideas. We've got everything from allotted resurrections, ghosts solving their own murders, enormous and layered virtual realities, virus-ridden fantasy realms, and a Chaos filled with AIs. If that isn't enough, the Earth is going through some major changes. You know... like destruction. Even more physical Big I ...more
Mar 28, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
By looking at my star rating you might think I am not a fan of Iain M. Banks non-Culture novel Feersum Endjin. That is not the truth, though.

I am a fan. A big fan, actually, but I try to stick to what the stars claim they are for, and since they range from "didn't like it" to "it was amazing" and are clearly subjective ranks rather than qualitative ranks, the book only received an I "liked it" rating from me.

If I was rating its quality, however, Feersum Endjin is worthy of the full compliment o
Nov 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was incredible and also slightly perplexing. I'll definitely want to re-read at some point.

As a reader you're immediately immersed in a set of odd characters and a world with some familiar sci-fi and fantasy elements, which is also wholly unfamiliar and bizarre. You'll need patience to get comfortable with your confusion and thirst for answers as Banks' deftly and ever so gingerly lifts the veils on the plot, which being one of political intrigue against the backdrop of an impending planeta
Erik Graff
May 31, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Banks' most devoted fans
Recommended to Erik by: John Elkin
Shelves: sf
Iain M. Banks is the only sf author I've actively pursued in years. His Culture novels have been particularly interesting, their sociological framework being unusually intelligent for the genre.

This is not a Culture novel per se, though, god knows, it may fit in somewhere as pre-C in the broad canvas of Banks' imagination. What it is is a future Earth story, date unstated, but certainly not near-future. The ostensible plot-driver is an interstellar cloud which, increasingly, is occluding solar r
Aug 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dying-earth
It grabbed me from the start. Part of this was the simple spectacle of it all, of the brobdingnagian "castle" where most of the story is set, in its kilometers-long, kilometers-tall chambers, of a destructive civil war between royalists and those aligned with the clan of Engineers, of the grotesque "chimeric" animals of sentience, and of the multiple layers of reality implemented in the vast dataspace of the cryptosphere where the data chaos lurks. And then there is the overwhelming concern of t ...more
Philip Hollenback
May 09, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned, sci-fi, fiction
First of all, I'm a big Iain Banks fan. Keep that in mind when I tell you that this book is unreadable.

The number one problem is that one of the main characters has some sort of disability and can only write phonetically. So you have to wade through pages and pages of garbage like this:

But am Bascule thi Rascule, thass whot they call me! Am yung & am onli on my furst life I tells her, laffin; Bascule thi Teller nuffink, that's me; no I or II or VII or any ov that nonsins 4 yoors truly; am good a
Jul 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set on an almost unrecognizable far future Earth, this book is Iain. M. Banks' second non-Culture SF endevour. Earth is past it's golden hour, and technology has fallen into the realm of mysticism and ritual. The story follows four different people living in the remains of what can only be described as an disproportionately scaled super-city as they are reluctantly dragged into a plot involving a threat against the entire Earth. They face a conspiracy of powerful individuals with their own agend ...more
I -- don't know what to think. This one will have to sit and be turned over in the mental thought-bank for a while: the difficulties of following the narrative through POV changes and the phonetically written sections made it fragment in my mind, despite me reading it at my usual tremendous pace. I think I liked it a lot: I certainly liked the concept of the world, anyway, though on reflection I don't give much a monkey's about most of the characters.

If phonetic spelling is going to annoy you, a
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This is good. It is as intelligent as the more contemporary 'The Bridge' (which so far is still my favorite novel coming from Iain Banks that I have yet read - I am still wading through his books), it is not set in the Culture series, but as a stand alone sci-fi novel with a very unique aspect about it, just as all his novels contain. However, my main misgiving (which also stopped me reading the book the first time I attempted it several years ago) was the phonetically written sections by a char ...more
Feersum Endjinn: An eclectic far-future science fantasy mashup
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Sometimes a book has so many incredible elements that it defies easy summary. Compound that with the fact that it shares themes with some of your favorite genre classics, and that it is written by the incredibly-talented Iain M. Banks, and you have the recipe for a very unique reading experience. As I read the story, I was forcibly reminded of some classic books in the genre, particularly Arthur
Leif Anderson
In my opinion, this is Banks' best work yet. I really liked it a lot.

There were a few minor difficulties. About one quarter of the book is written phonetically, which is really interesting, but hard to read. After a couple chapters you get used to it, though. Also, the description on the back of the edition that I have is only vaguely related to the actual story. The back talks about Count Sessine, who I feel is only a minor character. There is little or no mention of the encroachment (an inter
Jan 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
When I finished this novel I wasn't sure if I liked it. With a good portion of the book written in the vernacular of our grammar-challenged hero, and a whole lot of heady stuff like cyber regions and vast settings, Iain Banks isn't giving the reader an easy go of it. I even had to seach the Internet for
discussions on the story afterwords to be sure that what happened was what I thought had happened.
Looking back after a few days I just can't help but be impressed with the novel as a whole. So yea
Edward Davies
This was the first book by Banks I’ve ever read, and I suspect it may be my last unless another one rears its ugly head in the SF Masterworks collection. Every fourth section of this book was written in a strange dialect of text message short hand that was very troublesome to read, yet these sections were the best parts. On the whole the rest of the book was confusing and really didn’t engage me in any way. My advice – don’t bother with this book, it’s just too much hard work and not enough rewa ...more
Jul 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

This was quite a weird book even by Iain M Banks’ standards. Weird, in terms of writing style (those phonetics yo! You kind of get used to that after a while though) and also in terms of the plot directions.

In regards to the plot directions, I found it one of the weaker ones written by Banks. We had 3 or 4 characters in different but related story arcs which was fascinating up until the point where one or two of the characters’ arcs turned out to be quite unnecessary, in my opinion. If
Rachel (Kalanadi)
3.5 stars
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm a huge fan of Banks's Culture novels (see my blog post on all of them: I also enjoyed The Algebraist and The Wasp Factory. I really wanted to give this five stars, but despite heavy doses of Banksian brilliance, I can't say it quite measures up to his other work.

It's not that I didn't like this one. The writing is often beautiful. The semi-phonetic chapters are brilliant as much as they are initially frustrating (you do get used to it after awhile)
Aug 26, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This book was my introduction to Iain Banks, who was recommended to me by a friend.
I've no idea if this book is indicative of the rest of his oeuvre, but the best word I can come up with to describe "Feersum Endjinn" is "weird."
The plot in a nutshell: It is thousands of years in the future, and Earth is threatened by a sun-blocking cloud of space dust which may well destroy all human life on the planet. Said humans are very long lived indeed at this point, because there's been a bit of an update
Feb 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, far-future
This is the first book I have change the grade after re-reading. It is still a great book, but I no longer think it is grand.

Although it is not a Culture books, there are some winks to Banks' preferred technologies. Here he takes the well used subject of humankind on earth at the end of time and gives it a spin. I thought I saw a couple of winks to Gene Wolfe, but may be it is in my eyes.

The story is told by the weaving of four almost concurrent narratives, including an "infamous" pseudo-phoneti
Sally Melia
Aug 04, 2014 rated it liked it
I have read all of Iain M Banks books, and I read Feersum Endjinn the year after it was first published in 1994. This is probably the only Science Fiction book of Iain M Banks that I had read problems finishing.

This is a future earth story, and part of the issue I have with this book was that the main character: Bascule the Teller writes a large part of the story phonetically, and is really quite difficult to get used to. What actually happens is your reading pattern is disrupted, and instead of
May 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite an enjoyable read, this! The world Banks creates here is rich with far-future cosmological pondering and cyberpunk intrigue, but it's also flavored with absurdity and lightheartedness. The book deals with the long-term survival of the human race, but also features talking animals imbued with the remnants of digitized consciousness. Talking sloths! It's a great example of a rich, layered and epic world that doesn't require a bloated trilogy to come alive. The main hurdle to enjoying "Feersu ...more
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Not sure why I didn't rate this a 5 the first time. It's the first Banks novel I read (I believe), and it's responsible for getting me "into" the author, as well as the art of Michael Whalen, who painted the beautiful cover. I am in the midst of re-reading it, only because I'd run out of steam on the other novel I was reading, and wanted a "sure thing". It's sucked me back in, and I'm definitely finding it quite enjoyable the second time through. (Though it likely helps that it's been long enoug ...more
Aug 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is it a Culture novel? It might be, but it takes place on Earth eons in the future, where humans inhabit nanoengineered megastructures created by their ancient forbears and live in a world of technology they no longer understand. Powerful factions on Earth are feuding over a tool that may or may not save humanity from The Encroachment, a cloud of interstellar dust that promises to cause the ultimate destruction of the planet. It's a wonderful story. I really enjoyed the character of Bascule, a y ...more
Apr 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Iain M Banks went off and wrote a few non-Culture sf books just to prove he could, and what we got was a dazzling, baroque novel about a moribund future Earth about to be swamped by an interstellar dust cloud and the efforts of various parties to activate ancient defense systems which, if they actually exist, may save the day, while the ruling elite for reason of their own, work to thwart these efforts. The book is also notable because fully one third of it is spelled fonetikly, with the result ...more
May 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most delightful main characters ever! Reminiscent of Flowers for Algernon, the main character has a learning disability, as most of the book is his mental-journal a large portion of it is written phoenetically. While this annoys the hell out of a lot of people it is easily read by the fifth page and, if not, it is worth persevering to uncover one of the most endearing characters I have ever read. ...more
Jan 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
June 10, 2018: Reading the book for the third time now, and it is even more rich, more delicious, more riveting than either of my first two readings. A work of sheer imaginative genius; I miss Banks so much.
Victor Tanasa
Some parts are beautifully written, others very hard to read. The "progris riports" from Flowers for Algernon were a breeze to go through compared to Bascule's chapters. Although story-wise, they were among the most compelling.

Definitely weird, and not 100% enjoyable. But an OK novel overall.
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Iain M. Banks is a pseudonym of Iain Banks which he used to publish his Science Fiction.

Banks's father was an officer in the Admiralty and his mother was once a professional ice skater. Iain Banks was educated at the University of Stirling where he studied English Literature, Philosophy and Psychology. He moved to London and lived in the south of England until 1988 when he returned to Scotland, li

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