tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE's Reviews > Consider Phlebas

Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks
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review of
Iain M. Banks's Consider Phlebas
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - June 16, 2015

I 1st heard of Iain Banks when a friend of mine gave me a copy of his 1st novel, The Wasp Factory (1984), probably sometime in the late 1980s. I glimpsed at it, maybe read a little, wasn't really impressed & didn't bother to finish it. I picked this up for $1 & 2 other Banks bks thinking I'd give him a 2nd try.

Today, I got a bk called Lexicon of Musical Invective compiled by the great Nicolas Slonimsky. It's a collection of hostile reviews of work by composers who're now famous. Beethoven & Stravinsky get panned in it along w/ many other composers whose work is generally revered today. Slonimsky deliberately shows what fools critics can be. As I teeter on the edge of panning Banks, I think: 'Will I seem like such a fool a hundred yrs from now?' & I answer myself 'Nah, I don't dislike Banks's work for being 'too new' (as the classical composers were disliked) but for being too tried & true cliché.'

STILL, I read it, all 514 pp of it, & I sometimes say that I don't diss people who accomplish something that I've never accomplished - this excludes mass murderers, eg, whose accomplishment I don't want to equal, but it doesn't exclude the writing of a somewhat epic SF novel - even if I do consider it to be crap.

SO, I give Banks some credit but if you're going to read SF, I don't recommend Banks. It's just an adventure story in wch the protagonist moves rapidly from one shoot-'em-up scene to another. There's even a 'car chase' except that it's a flying inter-stellar shuttle. Still, same principle.

Anyway, usually when I read bks I take notes about what I want to comment on when I review them. By about the 1st 86 pp or so I hadn't taken a single note - mainly b/c I didn't find anything in the story particularly remarkable. Then by about p 200, I still hadn't taken any notes & I was relieved that, for once, I wasn't making more work for myself. Eventually, there were a few things I considered noteworthy but I was so relieved to just be reading the damned thing instead of analyzing it that I never did jot down anything. That's not really a compliment for the bk, tho.

I don't honestly even care if I 'spoil' the plot, the pregnant woman gets killed, b/c the heart-string pulling is so obviously melodramatic that it's sickening. This is space opera, wch is just soap opera in space but it's still just flakes in a box. I won't give it a star rating b/c I don't want to be so 'mean' as to give it a 1 star. After all, he did go to the trouble of writing this (unless there was software in 1987 that cd crank out plots like this wch, I reckon, there wasn't).
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
June 16, 2015 – Shelved
June 16, 2015 – Shelved as: sf
June 16, 2015 – Finished Reading

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