Consider Phlebas (Culture, #1) Consider Phlebas discussion


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RIP Iain M Banks - RIP the Culture

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Peter You will be missed


Milly Cent Am so incredibly sad...


Sparky Devine Sad news to hear. Never really got into his writing any recommendations?


Mike Franklin Desperately sad.

@Sparky: depends on whether you are likely to prefer his SF stuff - big canvas, space opera - or his 'mainstream' stuff - seriously weird, sometimes grotesque.

Both in my opinion are excellent.

I've not read many of his mainstream books (yet) so can't make strong recommendations there other than to say I loved his first book The Wasp Factory but it is very very grim and not to everyone's taste. For his SF I would recommend The Player of Games as a very good introduction both to his SF writings and to the Culture universe that most, but certainly not all, of his SF books are set in.

You should also appreciate that for the most part his mainstream and SF books are radically different in style (rather than the obvious difference in genre). The main commonality being the excellent if very different writing.


Sparky Devine Mike wrote: "Desperately sad.

@Sparky: depends on whether you are likely to prefer his SF stuff - big canvas, space opera - or his 'mainstream' stuff - seriously weird, sometimes grotesque.

Both in my opinion..."


Cheers thanks for replying Mike


Mike Franklin You're very welcome! :-)


Milly Cent Sparky - if you're interested in making a start on his 'Culture' novels, I'd recommend starting with 'Player of Games'


Lucy_k_p Very tragic news, I loved his work. At least his writing will live on.


Sparky Devine Milly wrote: "Sparky - if you're interested in making a start on his 'Culture' novels, I'd recommend starting with 'Player of Games'"

Cheers Milly.


Richard He gave so much pleasure to so many.May He Rest In Peace.


Jloaf If anyone is interested, the asteroid (5099) Iainbanks was named in his honour in June this year, just after his death


Micko Lemur RIP. Will hopefully get through the culture series in my existence. What a mind.


message 13: by Palmyrah (last edited Oct 06, 2013 07:26PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Palmyrah I've been a science-fiction reader all my life. I've read and appreciated all the greats. The first thing by Iain Banks I read was Espedair Street, which was okay, but then I picked up his SF short-story collection, The State of the Art. Most of the stories in the book didn't seem very special to me, but two stood out: 'A Gift from the Culture' and the title story.

'A Gift from the Culture' was a strange introduction to the Culture – a story told by someone who both loved it and loathed it, had opted to live outside it, and was now about to betray it using its own technology. But then came 'The State of the Art', the only story in which the Culture becomes involved with Earth. It was brilliant, and I was hooked for good.

With the possible exception of Ursula LeGuin at her best, no other SF author could ever match Banks for literary nous and auctorial brilliance. There are very few SF stories, especially of novel length, that work well as literature; I would put The Left Hand of Darkness and The City and the Stars on that list, along with the works of H.G. Wells and Olaf Stapledon's glacial, forbidding classic, Last and First Men.

But every one of Banks's SF novels makes the list. And unlike any of the books mentioned above, they are culturally sophisticated, witty, sexy and often hilarious. They are also at times extremely dark and violent.

I've read Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, Dick, Herbert, Walter Miller, Sturgeon, Bear, Card, Zelazny, Moorcock. Some of them had great imaginations and enormous brains but couldn't write for toffee. Some — Moorcock, Dick, Zelazny, Clarke at his best – certainly could write, though they didn't always bother. But they all had their virtues, and if they had not existed, Banks could never existed either. All the same, no more skilled and talented writer than Iain Menzies Banks ever took up science fiction, and no science-fictional universe is more enjoyable to inhabit than the Culture.

Farewell, Iain.


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