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Full title Consider Phlebas [permalink]
Language English
Author Iain M. Banks (author)
Publisher Orbit Books
Categories Novel, science fiction and space opera
Series Culture (1/11)
Publication year 1987
ISBN 1-85723-138-4 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 471
Synopsis

A hunted Mind is forced to escape to Schar's World and both the Culture and the Idirans (fierce tripedal warriors) want it. The book's protagonist, Bora Horza Gobuchul, is a Changer who works for the Idirans to retrieve the Mind, and the book follows his adventure.

Images Back of Consider Phlebas.Spine of Consider Phlebas.Front of Consider Phlebas.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Prologue
  • 1. Sorpen
  • 2. The Hand of God 137
  • 3. Clear Air Turbulence
  • 4. Temple of Light
  • State of play: one
  • 5. Megaship
  • 6. The Eaters
  • Interlude in darkness
  • 7. A Game of Damage
  • 8. The Ends of Invention
  • State of play: two
  • 9. Schar's World
  • 10. The Command System: Batholith
  • State of play: three
  • 11. The Command System: Stations
  • 12. The Command System: Engines
  • 13. The Command System: Terminus
  • 14. Consider Phlebas
  • Appendices: the Idiran-Culture war
    • Reasons: the Culture
    • Reasons: the Idirans
    • The war, briefly
  • Dramatis personae
  • Epilogue
Full title The Player of Games [permalink]
Language English
Author Iain M. Banks (author)
Publisher Orbit Books
Categories Novel, science fiction and space opera
Series Culture (2/11)
Publication year 1988
ISBN 1-85723-146-5 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 309
Synopsis

Jernau Morat Gurgeh, a Culture citizen, has played games all his life, and is an expert at it. Being bored with success, he accepts to travel to the Empire of Azad to play one the most complex games known to the galaxy, coincidentally named Azad. The game is played on multi-layered checker boards with dice and cards, and features several different pieces, all with different strengths, weaknesses, and attributes. It is said that the moves one is able to execute in the game are so subtle that an experienced player would be able to figure out a lot about his opponent by watching him play (such as his outlook on life and his political stance). The game is so central to the society of Azad that the winner of the game is automatically the next Emperor.

Images Back of The Player of Games.Spine of The Player of Games.Front of The Player of Games.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • One: Culture Plate
  • Two: Imperium
  • Three: Machina Ex Machina
  • Four: The Passed Pawn
Full title Use of Weapons [permalink]
Language English
Author Iain M. Banks (author)
Publisher Orbit Books
Categories Novel, science fiction and space opera
Series Culture (3/11)
Publication year 1990
ISBN 1-85723-135-X [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 368
Synopsis

The Culture hires a mercenary, Cheradenine Zakalwe, to do their dirty work, while Zakalwe tries to piece together a terrible secret in his past.

Review

Banks fans apparently see this novel as the epitome of Culture novels. I hated it, save for the weird party in which people deliberately mutilate themselves and the curious method by which Zakalwe's body is being rebuilt after he's been beheaded. Why do I hate it? The structure. The story follows two threads, one going forward in time and another going backward; the chapters alternate between these two. I wasn't too confused by this, but I was annoyed. Perhaps I should re-read it. If you plan on reading the Culture novels, don't start with this one.

Images Back of Use of Weapons.Spine of Use of Weapons.Front of Use of Weapons.
Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Acknowledgment
  • 'Slight Mechanical Destruction'
  • Prologue
  • 1. The Good Soldier
    • One
      • XIII
    • Two
      • XII
    • Three
      • XI
    • Four
      • X
    • Five
  • 2. An Outing
      • IX
    • Six
      • VIII
    • Seven
      • VII
    • Eight
      • VI
    • Nine
      • V
  • 3. Remembrance
    • Ten
      • IV
    • Eleven
      • III
    • Twelve
      • II
    • Thirteen
      • I
    • Fourteen
  • Epilogue
  • Zakalwe's Song

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