The Player of Games (Culture #2)
The Culture - a human/machine symbiotic society - has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. The Player of Games. Master of every board, computer and strategy. Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game...a game so complex, so like life itself, that t...more
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1. Jernau Morat Gurgeh: The player of games who is the main protagonist of the book. He is a member of the Culture…more The Player of Games Character List
1. Jernau Morat Gurgeh: The player of games who is the main protagonist of the book. He is a member of the Culture and is from the Chiark Orbital. A post-human who is skilled at playing games but is getting bored with his life because playing games isn’t as much fun anymore especially since in the world of the Culture there is no longer scarcity. Betting on games is rendered pointless and does not add any thrill to playing the games.
2. Mahwrin Skel: A droid that used to be a member of Special Circumstances but was taken off due to behavioral problems. He blackmails Gurgeh into helping him get back onto the Special Circumstances by having him convince Contact that he is worthy of the position.
3. Contact: Responsible for The Culture’s interactions (diplomatic or otherwise) with other civilizations (though non-Contact citizens are apparently not prevented from travelling or interacting with other civilizations).
4. Special Circumstances: Further within Contact, an intelligence organization named Special Circumstances exists to deal with interventions which require more covert behavior; the interventionist approach that the Culture takes to advancing other societies may often create resentment in the affected civilizations and thus requires a rather delicate touch.
5. Chamlis Amalkney: An old female droid that is Gurgeh’s long time friend. Gives advice to Gurgeh a couple of times and gives a gift to him on his departure to Azad.
6. Yay Meristinoux: One of Gurgeh’s friends who Gurgeh may have a romantic interest in.
7. Worthil: A representative from Contact who explains to Gurgeh the game of Azad and why they need him to go.
8. Haflis: Man (undergoes multiple sex changes) who throws parties and hosted Stricken game
9. Olz Hap: Young game player who is good at Stricken and plays Gurgeh.
10. Boruelal: A professor at a university. She is tall, attractive an twice gurgehs age.
11. Shuro: A fan of Gurgeh’s game playing. He is best at the game called Deploy.
12. Flere-Imsaho: A small droid that accompanies Gurgeh on the planet Eä that gives him advice on their culture and also translates for Gurgeh between Eächic and Marain.
13. The limiting factor: the ship to take him to Eä
14. The little rascal: the ship that tool him from the culture to the limiting factor
16. Shohobohaum Za:
17. The Priest:
18. Lo Shav Olos:
19. Lo Wescekibold Ram:
20. Lo Prinest Bermoiya:
22. Nicosar: The emperor of Azad who lives on Echrondeal with the rest of the government
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even more ingenious the second time around.
The Player of Games is taken to the Empire of Azad to play the greatest of games. the game is Azad is the Empire of Azad is the U.S. and the U.K. and all such toxic empires. in a civilized culture, all empires must fall. the game is feints and surprises and moves within moves; the game is the past that must be broken on the wheel of the future. Banks brings all of his customary elegance, intelligence, humor, and angry f ...more
I had previously read and loved The Wasp Factory, Banks' classic first novel which was a fascinating glimpse into the psychology of a very disturbed young man in serious need of a hug. I also really enjoyed Consider Phlebas, which is the first of the Culture novels. With Banks having two big wins under his b ...more
Big shocker, I really loved it. The complexities of ...more
I'm much more impressed with the novel on the reread than I was the first time, so I've bumped my stars up from 4 to 5, and I don't think I'm being generous at all. It deserved it.
My main problem with either reading was that I just didn't quite care with the whole overt premise of a game player. I'm a game player, myself, but reading about games that are completely foreign and strang ...more
Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.
In the meantime, you can read the entir ...more
I'm struggling to find the words to express my awe in the wake of finishing this book. I feel much as I'd imagine a wizened game player would watching true masters dance across the board. Unable to do so myself, but completely transfixed by the beauty and depth of their movements.
I don't think I can recommend this highly enough. It isn't necessary to have read Consider Phlebas which is the first book in the Culture series. I've read half of it and had to stop t ...more
In the Culture, all basic human needs are taken care of through technology, there is no war or crime, and its peoples are free to party ...more
You are playing a game. In adjournment you are offered a cast iron safe opportunity to cheat. It won’t affect the outcome of the game, you are going to win anyway. But it may change how you win. So what do you do?
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Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
The Player of Games (1988) is the second published book in the well-known Culture series featuring the post-scarcity utopian machine-human galactic empire known as the Culture. Once again Iain M. Banks adroitly chooses to focus on the interactions of the Culture with a non-Culture society, this time the more primitive empire of Azad. The Azadian society is centered around an incredibly c ...more
Maybe I am wrong here, but I have a hard time thinking of other authors who can turn seemingly simple ideas into complex ideas with a burst of imagination that makes the simple idea seem unique and rare -- all without the alien ...more
Banks, though he seems like a cosmopolitan guy who's aware of the tropes he's using and their limitations, still commits the basic sin that makes so much science fiction so much less enjoyable to me than it could be. The sin: blandness. Blandness of writing, characterization, worldbuilding, humor -- everything. The problem, and it's not one wit ...more
This book is split into four parts, but the last is a small coda on the rest of the book. The first part deals with an introduction to the Culture and the main character who is fairly unlikable to start with. He's vain, obsessive and self-absorbed, and also easily manipulated. He's shown to have enduring friendships in the first section, but it's not immediately clear why anyone would spend time with ...more
"The story starts with a battle that is not a battle, and ends with a game that is not a game."In the post-scarcity society of the Culture, men and machines live with the opportunity to do anything or nothing, to travel the universe in the great Culture ships with their infinitely complex Minds, to revel in idleness, to choose any subject and pursue it with singleminded zeal. Jernau Gurgeh chose games. He spends his life leaning, playing, and above all, winning, games from all the varied societi ...more
I'm a gamer myself - I've loved chess since childhood, always enjoyed video games (owning a PS1, PS2, PS3, Wii, Wii U), playing sports, and in the last couple of years, board games ...more
Jernau Morat Gurgeh (Gurgeh to most people) is well known in The Culture for his game playing abilities—there isn’t a game of strategy that he doesn’t excel at and he’s spent his life either playing the games or writing about them (and other game players). This is totally foreign to me, as I ...more
The wit makes this book very easy to ease in to. The Utopian society of the Culture is beautiful and diverse, seeming both alien and familiar to us in equal measure. The opening sections introduce us to th ...more
Great characters, original premise, simply written with some good twists.
Gurgeh is the ultimate player of games on his planet. He lives in The Culture, in which humans and technology have come together to offer what sounds like a type of utopian society. People generally don’t have to work, as technology handles everything for them. There seems to be no crime, and when there is it is punishable by having a companion droid tag along with you forever as punishment. Now I did wonder, after you get ...more
|The Sword and Laser: May 2013 Renegade Read: Player of Games, Section1 – Culture Plate||11||237||Dec 02, 2016 06:27AM|
|Does anyone want to play the rather nerdy "Give yourself an Iain M Banks ship name game"?||9||26||Jun 28, 2016 12:27PM|
|Must I read the first book of this series before this book?||15||42||Mar 28, 2016 08:13PM|
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 ...more
Other Books in the Series
Fantasy & Science Fiction Deals
The very first-rank games acknowledge the element of chance, even if they rightly restrict raw luck. To attempt to construct a game on any other lines, no matter how complicated and subtle the rules are, and regardless of the scale and differentiation of the playing volume and the variety of the powers and attibutes of the pieces, is inevitably to schackle oneself to a conspectus which is not merely socially but techno-philosophically lagging several ages behind our own. As a historical exercise it might have some value, As a work of the intellect, it's just a waste of time. If you want to make something old-fashioned, why not build a wooden sailing boat, or a steam engine? They're just as complicated and demanding as a mechanistic game, and you'll keep fit at the same time.”