Ian M. Banks Books Discussion

Re: New Iain M Banks book release

Postby Graham Kennedy » Fri Dec 31, 2010 11:12 am

Personally I enjoyed Use of Weapons more than any other Culture novel. The structure is ODD... it tells two stories, with chapters alternating between the two, but the kicker is that both of them start at about the same point but one works forward in time from there, and the other is a series of flashbacks working further and further back in time. All the jumping around in the timeline is confusing... but there is a reason for it, and the twist in the tail hit me so hard I put the book down and swore out loud for five minutes straight when I read it.

Consider Phlebas is probably my second favourite, and a close second at that.
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Re: New Iain M Banks book release

Postby Reliant121 » Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:37 pm

If I get on alright with the Kindle Excession, then i'll give Use of Weapons a try. Mild annoyance, I spotted Use of Weapons in WHSmith yesterday but had my eyes purposely searching to Excession.
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Re: New Iain M Banks book release

Postby colmquinn » Fri Dec 31, 2010 12:58 pm

Keep an eye out for "The Player of Games" too. Its another of the highly recomended Culture books.
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Re: New Iain M Banks book release

Postby Mikey » Sat Jan 01, 2011 12:37 am

Reliant - I loved Excession, but be aware; it was my first Culture book, and could have ruined the rest of them for me - for a long while after reading Excession, I was disappointed to see so many people in the other novels.
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Re: New Iain M Banks book release

Postby Reliant121 » Sat Jan 01, 2011 9:59 am

That's part of the appeal. So far, they are so wildly different and I like BOTH approaches. I like the style you find in Consider Phlebus for it's character based, action styled writing. And I enjoyed Excession for it's Mind's development. I am particularly enjoying the Mind's arguing.
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Re: New Iain M Banks book release

Postby Mikey » Sat Jan 01, 2011 1:07 pm

Indeed, Grey Area was one of my favorite characters in any novel.

BTW, anyone read Look to Windward yet?
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Re: New Iain M Banks book release

Postby Sionnach Glic » Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:56 am

Reliant121 wrote:Excellent points all round. I thought I fancied a mind bender (and I'm getting one, his writing seems to have matured a lot in it's complexity -headache time-) by getting the kindle version of Excession. I am enjoying it a lot, but for very different reasons to Consider Phlebus.


If you're looking for a mind bender, I'd point you towards Use Of Weapons. Like Graham, I'd rate that as my favourite novel in the Culture series. Hell, possibly my favourite sci-fi novel in general.

I've just recently picked up Inversions myself.

On another note, has anyone here read some of his non-Culture sci-fi, like Against A Dark Background or Transition?
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Re: New Iain M Banks book release

Postby colmquinn » Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:10 pm

I'm in the early process of reading Transition now. Its a strange one so far, not sure if its an unreliable narrative type situation or if this stuff is really going on. How'd you find it? You said you were reading it before christmas?

I have read Against A Dark Background I know ( i can see the copy on my bookshelf now) but for the life of me I can't remember a thing about it so not sure much of a recommendation that is.
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Re: New Iain M Banks book release

Postby Sionnach Glic » Tue Jan 04, 2011 6:57 pm

Transition is....an odd one. Overall I think my impressions were positive (at least, I at no point felt like putting the book down and was curious to see how it would conclude), but it's not one of his best. The conclusion seems a little....rushed. It's all set up prior to it happening so it's not exactly like he just pulled the resolution out of nowhere, but it just seems rather anti-climactic. Also, without going into spoilers, one character starts exhibiting rather odd abilities with no explaination given, and a viewpoint character (who I thought was the most interesting character in the book) seems like he could almost have not been in the book at all, given how little he's actually used in the resolution.

Against a Dark Background was better than Transition, I think. It had an interesting setting, an entertaining plot that didn't stick around in one place too long, and a good little twist at the end. Also, the Lazy Guns seemed like something that a Culture Mind with a twisted sense of humour would create. My only real complaint was that the characters came off as rather bland.

Also, I was passing by the library today and managed to pick up The Wasp Factory (along with the novelisation of Jurassic Park, which I haven't read for years but recall being much better than the movie). I think I'll read that one before I start Inversions, since it's a lot shorter, and I've not read much of his non sci-fi works.

Also, I think it's time for a thread title change, given how we've moved away from the original book in question.
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Re: Ian M. Banks Books Discussion

Postby Mikey » Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:05 pm

My local library has The Wasp Factory as well... I think I'll give it a try (after reading the copy of Keith Richards' autobiography I got for Xmas, of course.)

BTW, Jurassic Park isn't a novelization - Crichton wrote it years before the film.
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Re: Ian M. Banks Books Discussion

Postby colmquinn » Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:52 pm

I read the wasp factory few years ago & I enjoyed it. Worth your time if you get the chance.
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Re: Ian M. Banks Books Discussion

Postby Sionnach Glic » Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:29 pm

Mikey wrote:BTW, Jurassic Park isn't a novelization - Crichton wrote it years before the film.


Aye, I know. I used the wrong word. :oops:
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Re: Ian M. Banks Books Discussion

Postby Mikey » Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:27 pm

Sionnach Glic wrote:
Mikey wrote:BTW, Jurassic Park isn't a novelization - Crichton wrote it years before the film.


Aye, I know. I used the wrong word. :oops:


NP - you're right, BTW. It was far better than the movie.
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Re: Ian M. Banks Books Discussion

Postby Mikey » Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:10 pm

OK, two quick questions:
1 - is there a difference in content between books with the author tagged "Iain Banks" and ones tagged "Iain M. Banks?"

2 - next novel to read: Matter or Against a Dark Background?
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Re: Ian M. Banks Books Discussion

Postby colmquinn » Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:34 pm

Mikey wrote:OK, two quick questions:
1 - is there a difference in content between books with the author tagged "Iain Banks" and ones tagged "Iain M. Banks?"

2 - next novel to read: Matter or Against a Dark Background?



1. Yes (its the same writer though). Iain M Banks is sci-fi culture based stuff. Iain Banks is based in the real world (more or less). Both are good I've read the following of his Iain Banks stuff and more or less enjoyed em all (but to differing degrees obviously) (+ after tile means good, ++ means I thought it very enjoyable - nothing means I enjoyed but nothing particularly special to me)
The Wasp Factory ++
The Bridge
The Crow Road +
Complicity ++
A Song of Stone
The Business +
Dead Air
In the process of reading Transition

2. I have read both but like I said in an earlier post I can't remember much of Against a Dark Background. Matter is pretty good but not necessarily the standard Culture novel as we've come to expect - not saying its bad but slightly different than I expected.

Hope that helps a bit but I'm sure others have different opinions than I do.
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