The second book by Iain M. Banks (as he is known in his science fiction writing) that I have read, and the first I have read of the ‘Culture Novels’ as he calls them. Whilst it took me ages to read (I hardly read it whilst I was at home for a month) it was definitely very enjoyable and interesting. The story line was full of little twists and turns, ending up very differently to what I would have expected.
Iain M. Banks’ imagination runs amok in a very clever fashion and combines an intriguing storyline with some fanttastic humour. Whilst I didn’t laugh quite as much as I did whilst reading ‘The Algebraist’ I did find myself struggling not to laugh at some of the comments made by various characters at different points in the story. The constant discussion of the Idiran-Culture War also left me wanting to seek out the other Culture Novels and see what else gets covered. Whilst it can seem pretty easy on a surface level to work out where Banks got the inspiration behind the Culture’s motives and thinking, one has to give him credit for an excellent storyline surrounding it and with a fairly in depth background knowledge that he’s working from to document it.
Whilst I’m by no means an excellent critic for science fiction (I haven’t read that much), I would have to rank Banks pretty highly anyway as an author, be it science-fiction or not and would definitely recommend people to at least try this book, or probably any of his others [Note that I haven’t read any of his fiction, under the name Iain Banks, yet] if you were to come across it in the shops.