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Iain Banks came to widespread and controversial public notice with the publication of his first novel, THE WASP FACTORY, in 1984. He has since gained enormous popular and critical acclaim for both his mainstream and his science fiction novels.
Banks's labyrinthine and devious ninth Culture space opera novel (after 2008's Matter) adeptly shifts perspective between vast concepts and individual passions. The blissfully disorganized, galaxy-spanning Culture has fabulous technology that gives human and alien entities freedom to choose who and what they want to be. When sex slave Lededje Y'breq is murdered by a politician on the planet Sichult, the artificial intelligence running one of the Culture's immense starships resurrects her so she can seek revenge. Meanwhile, the Culture is uneasily watching the conflict over whether to preserve virtual Hells for the souls of "sinners" or give them the release of death. Leaping with jaw-dropping speed from character to character and from reality to virtuality, the narrative swiftly pulls these concerns together. New readers may be taken aback by the rapid pace, but fans will dive right in and won't come up for air until the final page. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
This is the eighth "The Culture" novel from internationally best-selling British sf writer Banks (www.iainbanks.net), following Matter (2008). It features a gigantic symbiotic series of civilizations spanning the Milky Way Galaxy (at least) and melding artificial intelligence constructs, biological life forms from myriad races, and much, much more. The plot, in short: a spoiled but clever bad guy is pursued by a woman he killed as a war brews among the Heavens, a network of posthumously uploaded consciousnesses. Banks's colorful style is similar to that of "Golden Age" master (and Scientology founder) L. Ron Hubbard and is wonderfully enhanced by voice-over artist Peter Kenny's expressive, humorous, British--accented narration; characters pile into the ears with precise delineation. A phenomenal performance of a well-written and well-plotted sf book that is easily a stand-alone; highly recommended.-Don Wismer, Trustee Emeritus, Cary Memorial Lib., Wayne, ME (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Balances high concepts and macrocosmic scale with deft characterisation and the kind of excitement expected from his acclaimed Culture series SciFiNow