Sci-fi, 7/10 – Jul/08-Mar/09
This story is set in a Shakespearean-like era with kings and princes and swords and battles – minus the romance. Actually, it’s more like medieval Merlin and the knights of the round table because the civilization is shrouded with myths and has the equivalence of dragons because it is semi-integrated with alien cultures and alien artefacts. I didn’t find the story all that engaging but I did find the planet the story is based on well worth reading about. Banks calls it a “Shellworld”, a ancient alien construction built up from several separate layers, each effectively a world in itself, with its own planetary conditions, civilizations and even artificial suns. The tech level of the story builds and builds and the ending is true action Sci-fi.
My favourite bit of all the culture novels is reading about the ship minds and AI. Banks really captures my imagination and hits the Sci-fi sweet spot.
3 responses to “Matter (Ian M Banks)”
Recently I re-read Consider Phlebas. Pretty amazing stuff. I reckon it’s my favourite Banks novel just for sheer scale and also for how convincing I find the main character. Maybe I’ll read Player of Games again soon too… (Am reading Babylon 5 Techno-mage saga again right now:-)
I enjoyed Consider Phlebas, although I found the scene with the cannibalism a bit too gruesome to bear. I love the names of the culture ships, e.g. “Don’t Try This At Home”, “Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall”, “Lightly Seared on the Reality Grill”, “You’ll Clean That Up Before You Leave”, etc.
I should make more time for reading – Podcasts are crowding that space nowadays.
Matter was great – the build up and tension was good, but I’m getting really rather tired of Bank’s propensity for killing of his major characters. Tends to really destroy your satisfaction at the end of the story.