Wednesday, 11 December 2013

2013 Top Ten Best Reads - Number 8

Iain M. Banks (16 Feb 1954 - 9 Jun 2013)
When I was going through high school and university, my favourite genre was Science Fiction. I loved the concepts presented and how real-life issues could be covered in such fantastic worlds and situations. I especially enjoyed stories which presented new worlds and new species. I can think of some that I especially liked; Asimov's Foundation and Empire books, Jack L. Chalker's Well World series and David Brin's Uplift Wars. I drifted away from SciFi as I began to fixate more on mysteries.

I don't know where I heard of David Brin's Culture series first, but I read Matter, his eighth Culture novel in Jan 2010 and it blew me away. The characters were fascinating, the worlds interesting and there was a maturity to his writing style that drew me in. I have since read The Algebraist and The State of the Art, both of which added to my enjoyment of the Culture universe. I also read his very first book, The Wasp Factory, a strange, disturbing story. It definitely established Banks as one of the more unique writers I've ever read.

Consider Phlebas (Culture #1)
This past year, I chose Banks' first Culture novel as one of my Group Read selections. I loved it. This was the review I wrote for my Goodread's bookshelf; "Excellent. One of the most unique SciFi writers I've ever read. Iain Banks has created (a) fascinating universe(s) populated with interesting characters, both human and machine. The Culture is a well-crafted, diverse 'organization', with amazing technology and concepts. Consider Phlebas is Banks' first to feature the Culture. I've read others already and have been drawn into his stories. This story is about an adventure, voyage to find a lost Culture Mind and about the Idaran/ Culture war. Horza, a Changer (you have to read it to find out what that means) is a mercenary working for the Idarans who is charged with going to one of the Planets of the Dead to find the Mind and Perosteck Balveda is the Culture agent trying to stop him. The plot is a slow-moving, journey through Banks' universes but don't the slow pace put you off. It's an excellent story and as the story comes to its climax moves along very nicely. His characters are all interesting and his story excellent. Highly recommended."

It's so unfortunate that Iain Banks passed away in June this year, of gall bladder cancer. His last book, The Quarry was released prior to his death. The literary world has lost a unique, excellent talent.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails