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Look to Windward (Culture #7)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  18,364 Ratings  ·  545 Reviews
The Twin Novae battle had been one of the last of the Idiran war, and one of the most horrific: desperate to avert their inevitable defeat, the Idirans had induced not one but two suns to explode, snuffing out worlds and biospheres teeming with sentient life. They were attacks of incredible proportion -- gigadeathcrimes. But the war ended, and life went on.
Now, eight hundr
ebook, 496 pages
Published August 1st 2001 by Pocket Books/Star Trek (first published 2000)
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Matt I just picked this up for $1 at a book sale. I'd be happy to ship to you free of charge if you're still in need of a copy. The cover is a little worn…moreI just picked this up for $1 at a book sale. I'd be happy to ship to you free of charge if you're still in need of a copy. The cover is a little worn but otherwise it's in good shape. Let me know.(less)
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Kevin Kelsey
Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: _library, read-2015
I.e., look to change, look to the future, look forward, etc. In the introduction this book was dedicated to the Gulf War veterans, and that seems very appropriate after finishing it.

It deals primarily with PTSD, suicide, revenge, apathy, and the effects of trauma; the true cost of war both societally, and individually. It accomplished this while also somehow being the most humorous novel in the series so far.

In a lot of ways it is a direct sequel to the first Culture book, 'Consider Phlebas', e
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Back to Iain M. Banks’ phenomenal Culture series of space opera set in a post-scarcity universe where humans are the most powerful known species. Well, not really the humans, but the massive AI entities originally created by humans thousands of years ago. It is quite unusual for humanity to (sort of) be the top dog, this is one of the most unusual features of the Culture universe. Banks’ Culture setting bucks the current trend of dystopian fiction. In this post-scarcity society, all of humanity ...more
Look no further if you're looking for a tale of fantastically huge sources and end results of regret, suicide, the negation of life-affirmation, exploding suns, and excellent tales of love between non-humanoid sentients and nearly god-like Minds.

This is a Culture novel. Ian M. Banks had ten of them before his death and he's known equally well for his hard SF as for his standard fiction, strangely enough.

It shows in this one. I have to admit that I was very impressed by the technological fantasti
mark monday
Apr 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
heavy, heavy themes done with a light and benevolent touch. the topics on display include suicide and suicide bombings, terrorism, genocide, imperialism/cultural colonialism, the nature of war, the afterlife... and feature a loveable cast of pretentious robot drones, adorable and often furry alien creatures, and one very melancholy Artificial Intelligence.

VAGUE SPOILERS: the last four chapters are jaw-dropping in scope, moving from an elegiac double suicide (i teared up!) to a mind-boggling che
Brad: If you were a GSV (General Systems Vehicle), what would you call yourself?

Brad: Sit Right Back and You'll Hear a Tale"

Brad: If you were a GCV (General Contact Vehicle), what would you call yourself?

Brad: Inoculate by Means of Blankets

Brad: If you were a GOV (General Offensive Unit), what would you call yourself?

Brad: Process of Peace and Reconciliation

Brad: If you were a VFP (Very Fast Picket), what would you call yourself?

Brad: Cerebrovascular Accident

Brad: If you were an Orbital, what wo
Jul 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite
Amazing. My second Culture novel after The Player of Games, and I think I'm at a point where I'm going to be ravenously devouring them. Like many others have mentioned, this is a novel about loss and mourning -- thinking back on the events of the book, not much actually happens, but Banks uses enough narrative shift and experiments with perspective that it always remains fascinating. Part of the joy in reading these books is just for the world-building, honestly. And as always, his aliens are a ...more
Sep 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Say hello to Kabe (pronounced Ka - beh), a tripedal, three-and-a-half meter tall triangular bulk of politely plodding philosophical awesomeness, who can stand so perfectly still while lost in thought that silly humans often mistake him for some sort of humongous, statuesque work of art. Also, mistakenly, even though he’s a Homondon (a vegetarian species), Kabe’s very large mouth makes the sight of him eating distinctly alarming.

These outwardly endearing qualities are hardly the extent of adorab
Nov 22, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is a book about mourning and regret, set in the universe of Banks's Culture series. There are several interwoven subplots, two of which display remarkable technical virtuosity. The first is a moving love story between completely non-human extraterrestrial creatures; I think it's the only successful example I've ever come across. Some of the flashbacks where Quilan recalls his lost love brought tears to my eyes. I'm not sure how the author did it, and I liked it enough that I'd rather not pi ...more
Chris Neumann
Nov 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Iain Banks died earlier this year, and what a huge loss to the science fiction community it was. Out of all the Culture novels he had written, I had read all but one...this one. I figured I'd end the year by visiting his wonderful universe again for one last new adventure - something that will never happen again.

If you're interested in his Culture series (you should be), don't start here, as it is actually a loosely connected sequel to Consider Phlebas, the very first Culture novel, and shock wa
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, culture
Look to windward I think is book in which Banks goes back to what he does best i.e. tell a engrossing story which has a lot of twists and turns. This time the story exclusively takes place on Masaq orbital and the descriptions of the orbital is another point which made this book really fascinating for me.

Some of the strong points of the book for me where

1.Masaq orbital.
2.The varied species with their background story.
3. Subliming concept.

Let me elaborate on above points of the book

1.Masaq orbita
Jul 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is spectacular. It deals with huge, terrible themes (war, loss, revenge, suicide, suicide bombings) and philosophical questions (exile, redemption, forgiveness), in multiple storylines spread across hundreds of years. The scope is HUGE.

There are three things that came out of Banks's mind I desperately want to be real: GSVs, drug glands and Orbitals. The fact that a large chunk of the story takes place on an O made me very happy indeed. The geography, the landscapes, the subway system - I a
May 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know whether I like this as much or more than any of the other Culture novels I've read. It seems to be a different sort of beast, really. The others are things that are happening, even in Use of Weapons with the dual flow of the story; this one is the aftermath, things that have happened and dealing with them (or not). That's not to say that there isn't a plot, but the things that're happening are happening as a direct result of a known and understood past: in Consider Phlebas, the conf ...more
Megan Baxter
I have read so many of the Culture novels in such a short period of time that I find it difficult to know what to write this time. My online book club is doing a series read, so every month, there is another one. My relationship with the series tends to be up and down - some books I really enjoy, some I find frustratingly opaque. This was not one of the opaque ones.

Note: The rest of this review has been withheld due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to t
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
Kultūras cikla projekts man jau rit otro gadu. Nevar teikt, ka man šī sērija nepatiktu, vienkārši pēc katras grāmatas izlasīšanas nerodas vēlme tūlīt lasīt nākamo. Autors prot uzburt jaunas, interesantas pasaules, risināt aizraujošas problēmas. Vietām rakstītais ir dikti garlaicīgs, taču to pilnībā kompensē labi sarakstītās daļas.

Ir jau aizritējuši 800 gadi kopš Dvīņu Novu kaujas dienas. Viena no asiņainākajām kaujām Kultūras vēsturē. Masak orbitālā stacija atrodas 800 gaismas gadu attālumā no k
Kristi Thompson
Mar 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary-sf
Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.

I have a weakness for anyone who quotes Eliot, particularly the Waste Land. At first I thought that this title was a bit much given that Banks had already used Consider Phlebas, which seemed to me more appropriate to the novel it graces. But it just occured to me: the people in this book are those who 'look to windward'; the entire book is an extended meditation on the message of Ph
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
In my quest to read the Culture books in publication order (for no good reason, since doing so isn't necessary), I've made it to my seventh stop along the way. Everything I love about Banks is here: amusing AIs, thoughtful humans and aliens, the Culture and other cultures, etc. (if you're not in the know, the Culture is a post-scarcity galactic civilization whose citizens are freed from such drudgeries as money and jobs - it's an idea that makes for great science fiction). A lot of typical Bansk ...more
Oct 27, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-read
The Chelgrians, the Homomdans, the Culture all vie for galactic respectability in this, the 6th Culture novel: Look To Windward [2000]. (This is my second reading of this novel, the first in 2006).

The Culture series reached its peak - in my opinion - in terms of wit, humour, sophistication, structure, craft and sheer entertainment value in Excession (1996) - what followed hereafter, it seemed, would have to be something exceptionally special. Inversions followed in 1998 - of which I have little
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
„Look to Windward“ ist ein Roman, der innerhalb des Culture-Universums von Ian M. Banks spielt. Es ist auch ein Roman über die Culture selbst.

Der Roman handelt neben der eigentlichen Hauptgeschichte auch vom Leben in einer Gesellschaft, die keinen Mangel kennt und deren Bewohner langlebig und durch das Anlegen von Backups praktisch unsterblich sind - oder sein könnten. Banks lässt seine Charaktere eine Vielzahl von verschiedenen Orten und Landschaften besuchen, die fantastisch bis gelegentlich a
-Una intencionalidad sociopolítica enorme bajo el barniz de género.-

Género. Ciencia ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. En el libro A barlovento (publicación original: Look to Windward, 2000), Worosei es un militar chelgriano que viajará hasta un orbital de La Cultura en una misión diplomática con el objetivo de que Zeller, un músico autoexiliado allí, regrese con él. Pero detrás de la misión hay algo mucho más peligroso, un acto que mezcla la agresión, la venganza y la acción socioreligiosa. Y es que la
tom bomp
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I sort of have a problem with the main backstory premise to the book, this spoiler reveals a lot of stuff that's revealed slowly over the course of the book (view spoiler) ...more
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A quarter of the way through this Culture novel, I already knew it was my favorite, and Banks cemented this opinion with this passage:

What bizarre fates our technologies dream up for us, he thought as he lay there. Here I am, a male, becoming pregnant with the ghost of an old dead soldier, to travel beyond the bounds of light older than our civilisation and carry out some task I have spent the best part of a year training for but of which I presently have no real knowledge whatsoever.

What bizarr
Jun 29, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rob by: Ginnie Jones
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Barrett Brassfield
This is my fourth Iain M. Banks novel and they just keep getting better. I can't honestly say that Look to Windward is "better" than Excession, better being somewhat subjective. They are very different novels and both brilliant, but Look to Windward is very touching for the reader on an individual level, given the attention Banks pays to characterization of the principals involved. Look to Windward also gives the reader a very interesting look at what happens when the Culture makes a mistake, de ...more
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure what I was going to make of this book. Having previously read and loved several M.Banks books including Consider Phlebas, I was concerned that Look to Windward might be something of a less fulfilling dour introspection. How wrong can one person be?

Look to Windward is another Banks triumph. The story handles some seriously heavy subjects; terrorism, love and loss, suicide, the aftermath of war, post colonialism and empire are all addressed with immense skill. Whilst at the same time
He terminado este libro con sentimientos encontrados. Como fan de las historias de La Cultura me ha resultado tan estimulante como cualquiera de las anteriores. De los cinco libros que he leído sin duda es el que más me ha acercado a la vida en esa utopía comunista, iluminando claves fundamentales para entender la relación entre los seres humanos y esas IAs en el cruce de caminos entre la tutela, la divinidad y la servidumbre. Además sobrevuelan toda la novela ideas (la muerte, la venganza, la e ...more
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the ordinary scheme of things I'd probably give this a 4. I was so sad when Iain died. I knew I still had his great gift of 2 more Culture books to enjoy, this and Inversion. So while thrilled to read another Banks books, it was with heavy heart knowing there would be no more. This was beautiful book about death and memory and loss but also about life. Loved the alien Homondan. There's a great twist at the end. As always there's Banks wonderful touch of humor and humanity. One of my favorite ...more
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It happens so rarely that I sat quietly for a while after finishing to bathe in the wonderful delight of a book that works so well. I love this story and right now want to re-read every Culture novel again to find every last bit of genius missed during late night reading.

Despite wonderful craft of this storytelling, the book didn't really grab me until about 1/2 way through, at which point I was surprised to find myself completely engrossed within the multiple storylines and reluctant to stop fo
Luke Burrage
May 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #263.

Coming soon: Culture Read-Through Wrap-Up show.
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-2018
3.5 stars.

I didn't have a good impression of the first novel, but I enjoyed this a lot more. It takes time to grasp the characters, but the plot basically centers around (view spoiler). The reveal of this central plot is unfurls slowly and beautifully.

The reasoning behind that turn of events is great too - it deals with the aftermath of a war, where Quilan lost his wife. Quilan's journey also appears to parallel (view spoiler)
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5-4 stars.

This one is more slower-paced than it's predecessors. Mostly it read like a historical recounting of past wars and ways of the different cultures in relation to the on-going plot of the book, that kind of threw me off. Nonetheless, i appreciated those moments too. My favourite chapter has to be the one focused on the Hub's recounting of its part in the war and own history.

I find the Minds and the different drones i've read about in the series to be one of the most intriguing parts
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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
More about Iain M. Banks

Other books in the series

Culture (10 books)
  • Consider Phlebas
  • The Player of Games (Culture, #2)
  • Use of Weapons (Culture, #3)
  • The State of the Art (Culture, #4)
  • Excession (Culture, #5)
  • Inversions (Culture, #6)
  • Matter (Culture, #8)
  • Surface Detail (Culture #9)
  • The Hydrogen Sonata (Culture #10)
“Oh, they never lie. They dissemble, evade, prevaricate, confound, confuse, distract, obscure, subtly misrepresent and willfully misunderstand with what often appears to be a positively gleeful relish and are generally perfectly capable of contriving to give one an utterly unambiguous impression of their future course of action while in fact intending to do exactly the opposite, but they never lie. Perish the thought.” 58 likes
“There's an old Sysan saying that the soup of life is salty enough without adding tears to it.” 27 likes
More quotes…