Iain M Banks

Because some of us can read.

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furrypedro
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Iain M Banks

Postby furrypedro » Tue Jan 17, 2006 6:35 am

Has anybody ever read any of his Sci-fi?
I've just finished his latest, the Algebraeist, and I was really enjoying it until it ended so abruptly; it was almost like his publisher wanted him to stick to a certain number of pages so he wrapped it up too soon (or he was just a lazy bastard).

He does have a habit (and a good one i feel) of leaving you wanting, like there's stuff going on in his universe that is beyond your comprehension which adds this air of mystery. But this just seemed like he hadn't quite worked out where this huge scenario was actually leading, so instead of messing it up completely it gives way to this peripheral thread that runs through the book. There could well have been signicicance in that that I missed however, but it didn't hold as much relevance or interest for me in relation to the main story.

Even greatness can become predictable I suppose, so maybe it's for the best...
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Postby jute gyte » Mon Feb 13, 2006 5:35 pm

I've never read his SF, but I recently picked up his (minus-the-middle-initial "literary" work) A Song of Stone, which seems pretty interesting. Any recommendations for the SF stuff?
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Postby Kamakura » Mon Feb 13, 2006 6:53 pm

I read 'The Wasp Factory' a while back - it was disturbing. I've got 'Consider Phlebas' somewhere, though I've never managed to finish it. 'The Crow Road' is supposed to be good, though I haven't read that either :wink:
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Postby furrypedro » Tue Feb 21, 2006 4:37 am

jute gyte wrote:I've never read his SF, but I recently picked up his (minus-the-middle-initial "literary" work) A Song of Stone, which seems pretty interesting. Any recommendations for the SF stuff?


yeah, I had a look at a Song of Stone ages ago and was kind of put off by the post-apocalyptic-ness-in-a-miserable-british-way style, but I'm sure I'd be much more receptive to it now.

I wouldn't know what to recommend of his SF as I've tried before and legendarily failed to get people into his work, that said, State of the Art (a collection of short stories and one novella) is always a good place to start. My favourites would probably be Excession or Look To Windward; Use of Weapons is the most intense but also really convoluted, don't start with that but it's really good, and my first one was Against a Dark Background so maybe that would be a good place to begin. Honestly though, I've not read a book of his that I didn't enjoy on a number of levels.
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Postby obscurity » Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:29 pm

I strongly recommend you start with either Consider Phlebas or The Player Of Games. Neither of those are his best work (that's probably Use Of Weapons, although personally I enjoyed Excession more), but you'll miss out on a lot of the subtleties of his other work if you don't have a grasp of the Culture (his fictional universe) which those 2 books will give you.
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Postby jb » Tue Feb 21, 2006 3:05 pm

I know Yook likes the dude a lot.
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Postby furrypedro » Wed Feb 22, 2006 11:24 am

he must have impeccable taste
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Postby furrypedro » Sat Feb 25, 2006 1:17 pm

Booyah. I left a copy of Excession lying around at my friends house the other day, and this guy picked it up out of boredom and was totally sucked in. 10 pages is all it takes 8)
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Postby Yook » Fri Sep 14, 2007 12:08 pm

Furrypedro wrote:he must have impeccable taste


I do, totally. Kinda. Okay, maybe not, but I do love Mr. Banks.

I started somewhat bass-ackward, reading Excession first. No, wait, I lie. I read Feersum Enjin (or however it's spelled) before I knew who he was; that was a crazy read, great fun. Then, Excession, which I try and read at least once a year. At that point, I started looking for this Iain M. Banks character's books. I read The Bridge, which is how I learned he has two pen names, one for genre work, one for more literary stuff. Eventually, I ended up reading every single SF work he wrote. He's got a nice chunk of space on my shelf dedicated to him.

For getting people started with him, I guess the best is to start with State of the Art. I think starting with Excession worked fine for me, but then I'm superhumanly awesome.

All I can add to this is that he's one of the short list of authors who's work I purchase immediately, in hardcover, as soon as I know it's come out. I love the man, and will marry him one day. Yes.

-Yook

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