Ian M. Banks Books Discussion

Re: Ian M. Banks Books Discussion

Postby Mikey » Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:20 pm

It does help. That's the difference that I thought, but I wasn't sure. Is all the "M" material Culture-related, or does he do other sci-fi milieux as well?

{i]Against a Dark Background[/i] sounded intriguing, and it is 17+ years old - it might be interesting to see how the Culture shaped up back then.
I can't stand nothing dull
I got the high gloss luster
I'll massacre your ass as fast
as Bull offed Custer
User avatar
Mikey
Fleet Admiral
Fleet Admiral
 
Posts: 35635
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 2:04 am
Location: down the shore, New Jersey, USA

Re: Ian M. Banks Books Discussion

Postby colmquinn » Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:35 pm

Mikey wrote:It does help. That's the difference that I thought, but I wasn't sure. Is all the "M" material Culture-related, or does he do other sci-fi milieux as well?

{i]Against a Dark Background[/i] sounded intriguing, and it is 17+ years old - it might be interesting to see how the Culture shaped up back then.


Its mostly Culture for the"M" stuff but some other stuff too, I'd say 95% - (some are Culture without you even realising it). There are some short stories I believe ( i think I have one or two in a collection of short stories somewhere in the house I think) that are pretty good too if you do a bit of online work to find the names of em. Ask Rochey Sionnach Glick see what he thinks cause I know he's read plenty of em.
But I can't throw, I throw like a geek!
User avatar
colmquinn
Commander
Commander
 
Posts: 1496
Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2007 9:20 pm
Location: Waiting in the long grass

Re: Ian M. Banks Books Discussion

Postby Graham Kennedy » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:24 pm

Against a Dark Background is an excellent book.

It's set in a solar system that has had civilization for an incredible time - they don't say specifically, but at one point you see a machine that has massive stalactites and stalagmites growing through it's works, so tens of millions of years or so. The whole system is an incredible mixture of clashing cultures and religions, presided over by a court system which forbids a lot of the more destructive high technology, or only allows it out under certain circumstances. The protagonist is Sharrow, who along with a bunch of ex-army friends ran a sort of Indiana Jones group, finding antique artifacts for money. When a religious cult puts a price on her head she gets her old team together to find a particular artifact that might buy them off.

There's few spoilers there by the way; most of that is set up in the first couple of chapters. The bulk of the story is the search for the artifact; what really makes the story is the incredibly detailed world that Sharrow and pals travel through. It makes the Culture look positively pedestrian by comparison.
Give a man a fire, and you keep him warm for a day. SET a man on fire, and you will keep him warm for the rest of his life...
User avatar
Graham Kennedy
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 11062
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 1:28 pm
Location: Banbury, UK

Re: Ian M. Banks Books Discussion

Postby Sionnach Glic » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:49 pm

Mikey wrote:It does help. That's the difference that I thought, but I wasn't sure. Is all the "M" material Culture-related, or does he do other sci-fi milieux as well?

{i]Against a Dark Background[/i] sounded intriguing, and it is 17+ years old - it might be interesting to see how the Culture shaped up back then.


Against A Dark Background isn't actually a Culture book - it's a different universe altogether, as far as I can tell (though the Lazy Guns certainly seem like something that a Mind with an odd sense of humour would think up).

I'd recommend this one over Matter. While the main "team" in the book came off to me as being a bit bland, everything else in the book more than made up for it. As Graham said, the system that the story takes place in is excellently detailed, with Sharrow and pals finding their way through a series of wildly varying locations and bumping into a load of interesting characters along the way, with even more variety and quirkiness than those that appear in a typical Culture book. In terms of world-building it's probably one of Banks' best. In terms of story.....well, it's good, but it's no Use of Weapons. Still definitely worth a read, though.

colmquinn wrote:
Mikey wrote:It does help. That's the difference that I thought, but I wasn't sure. Is all the "M" material Culture-related, or does he do other sci-fi milieux as well?

{i]Against a Dark Background[/i] sounded intriguing, and it is 17+ years old - it might be interesting to see how the Culture shaped up back then.


Its mostly Culture for the"M" stuff but some other stuff too, I'd say 95% - (some are Culture without you even realising it). There are some short stories I believe ( i think I have one or two in a collection of short stories somewhere in the house I think) that are pretty good too if you do a bit of online work to find the names of em. Ask Rochey Sionnach Glick see what he thinks cause I know he's read plenty of em.


AFAIK Banks' only short story collection is State of the Art. This one's definitely worth a read of you can find it, particularly the title story, which concerns a Culture ship observing Earth during the Cold War....with rather interesting observations.

Also, anything under "Iain M. Banks" is general sci-fi, not just Culture related. Though seeing as how he's only released three non-Culture sci-fi books (Against a Dark Background, Feersum Endjin and another one I can't remember), the majority of those books are Culture related.
"You've all been selected for this mission because you each have a special skill. Professor Hawking, John Leslie, Phil Neville, the Wu-Tang Clan, Usher, the Sugar Puffs Monster and Daniel Day-Lewis! Welcome to Operation MindFuck!"
User avatar
Sionnach Glic
4 Star Admiral
4 Star Admiral
 
Posts: 26014
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 9:58 pm
Location: Poblacht na hÉireann, Baile Átha Cliath

Re: Ian M. Banks Books Discussion

Postby Mikey » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:21 am

Thanks for the info, guys. My public library has both State of the Art and Against a Dark Background, so I'll be sure to give them a look. Although, I must say, Keith Richards' autobiography is turning out to be absolutely fascinating.
I can't stand nothing dull
I got the high gloss luster
I'll massacre your ass as fast
as Bull offed Custer
User avatar
Mikey
Fleet Admiral
Fleet Admiral
 
Posts: 35635
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 2:04 am
Location: down the shore, New Jersey, USA

Re: Ian M. Banks Books Discussion

Postby Mikey » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:30 pm

Well, I tracked down State of the Art, and Sionnach's spot-on. I just started, and already we have a new front-running nominee for "Best Planet Name in Sci-Fi."
Spoiler:
I can't stand nothing dull
I got the high gloss luster
I'll massacre your ass as fast
as Bull offed Custer
User avatar
Mikey
Fleet Admiral
Fleet Admiral
 
Posts: 35635
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 2:04 am
Location: down the shore, New Jersey, USA

Re: Ian M. Banks Books Discussion

Postby Sionnach Glic » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:33 pm

Glad to hear you're enjoying it. :)

I finished The Wasp Factory about a week ago, and am currently about halfway through Inversions.

TWP was a really engrossing read. Certainly an odd one, but a good one. If nothing else, I sure as hell didn't see that twist at the end coming.

Inversions is pretty good so far. I've just gotten up to the part where
Spoiler:
. I think I can see the twist at the end coming this time. It'll be interesting to see if I'm right. :)
"You've all been selected for this mission because you each have a special skill. Professor Hawking, John Leslie, Phil Neville, the Wu-Tang Clan, Usher, the Sugar Puffs Monster and Daniel Day-Lewis! Welcome to Operation MindFuck!"
User avatar
Sionnach Glic
4 Star Admiral
4 Star Admiral
 
Posts: 26014
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 9:58 pm
Location: Poblacht na hÉireann, Baile Átha Cliath

Previous

Return to Books

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest