Zbegniew's Reviews > Consider Phlebas

Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks
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U 50x66
's review
Jul 28, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: science-fiction
Read in September, 2010

This is a book about a motley collection of individuals pursuing their various interests against the backdrop of a vast galaxy-wide war. The protagonist is a traitor to his species for idealogical reasons which aren't very compelling when he spells them out. The two sides in the war are driven by one side's desire to maintain a decadent, hedonistic lifestyle and the other side's religious fanaticism. I guess that's supposed to speak to "what's happening now," but I found the author's charcterization of both sides as pretty simplistic.

The protagonist makes some pretty ill-considered decisions such as taking two dangerous adversaries, along on his trek, when we already know he has no qualms about killing anyone who gets in his way. One of them he spares so that he can report him to his superiors once this is all over (really???) and the other because they seem to have some respect for each other as worthy adversaries, or some such nonsense. And enemies who seem to be dead come back to life long enough to attack the protagonist one last time.

I found it difficult to finish the book, and only managed to because I found myself with nothing else to do at the time. Still it took me quite a while. the author introduces some interesting ideas, but doesn't flesh them out much, perhaps in an effort to get you read more of the series. I'm not saying the book is bad, just that it didn't really engage me. Obvously, other reviewers liked it a lot, so it's probably just a matter of personal taste.

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