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Iain (M) Banks - 5/1/2008 9:25:03 PM   
homersimpson_esq


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I've not read as many of his books as I'd like, but the ones I have read have been astonishingly good. I include the initial in brackets as he writes sci-fi with the initial, and regular fiction without. I prefer the sci-fi, with Use Of Weapons being my favourite. The brilliantly-structured novel is just perfect. The entire universe he has constructed makes the Star Wars universe look like a child's short story in its expansiveness. I read chronologically, so I've read up to and including The State of the Art which is a collection of short stories.

In his regular fiction, I started with The Business, at the time his most recent, then went back to his first novel, The Wasp Factory. I was hooked before I read a word, because unlike other books, there are a variety of quotes from critics, both positive and remarkably negative, all printed in the book! What a great start! The book itself is excellent. I've read up to Espedair Street, so I have some way to go. Oh, I've also read Dead Air, which is his post-9/11 book - different, but in a good way.




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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 5/1/2008 9:34:20 PM   
Mikey C


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The Crow Road's pretty good, and Consider Phlebas is ace as well.

Interestingly he originally wanted to write only sci-fi, until his publisher pushed him into writing "straight" fiction (which is a stupid term, really). It's great that he's a writer that can flit between genres and styles very well, although I'd argue his recent stuff's not as good...

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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 5/1/2008 11:19:55 PM   
bozo


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i enjoyed the wasp factory, but then read a boring collection, i think it was state of the art. this is strange, cause i'm a sucker for sci-fi. maybe i should give him another chance.

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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 6/1/2008 12:13:59 AM   
homersimpson_esq


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Yeah, the short stories isn't the best novel to be honest. Seriously, check out his other sci-fi, and go in chronological order. Consider Phlebas is first.

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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 7/1/2008 1:20:42 PM   
bozo


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quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

Yeah, the short stories isn't the best novel to be honest. Seriously, check out his other sci-fi, and go in chronological order. Consider Phlebas is first.


OK, I'll have that in mind.

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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 7/1/2008 1:28:26 PM   
Fluke Skywalker


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The first sci-fi book of his I read was Consider Phlebas and it's a sci fi classic - absolutely awesome. Sadly it was his best in terms of that genre and nothing else lived up to it. That said Player of Games, Excession and Against a Dark Background were some of my other favs of his.

His creation of the future society The Culture is fantasttic - I can see an advanced human race being just like that.

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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 7/1/2008 4:30:05 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

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I'm with Mikey that he's not really developed as a writer and so after rabily reading most of his novels and sci-fi when I was younger I'm now quite "meah" about a new release, though I think his sci-fi is still of a reasonable quality.  I know it would be ambitious, but I'm surprised that no-one is taking it to film.

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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 7/1/2008 4:59:13 PM   
Rgirvan44


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I am a huge fan of The Crow Road and some of his earlier sci fi is pretty good but I agree with poeple who have said he hasn't really developed as a writer and as such a lot of his more recent work has not done much to excite me.

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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 8/1/2008 4:10:31 PM   
Fluke Skywalker


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Professor Moriarty

I'm with Mikey that he's not really developed as a writer and so after rabily reading most of his novels and sci-fi when I was younger I'm now quite "meah" about a new release, though I think his sci-fi is still of a reasonable quality.  I know it would be ambitious, but I'm surprised that no-one is taking it to film.


Yeah for me his more recent sci-fi offerings have been actually quite boring. It took me ages to read Inversions because it was plain uninteresting and I haven't even read his latest one. He definately peaked years ago.

I agree they should make a film - Consider Phlebas would be the one for me simply because it's epic and more action packed than his other stuff

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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 10/1/2008 7:13:30 PM   
bobatim


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I've really been wanting to read his sci-fi work. I'm confused however as to which ones are the 'Culture' novels, and which ones aren't. And also which order if any, they should be read in.

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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 11/1/2008 12:18:08 PM   
homersimpson_esq


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As far as I'm aware, all the sci-fi ones are Culture novels. And I'd read them in order of publication. Clicky. Consider Phlebas is just mind-bogglingly good. And it takes its title from T.S.Eliot's The Waste Lands, which gives it a nice literary heritage.


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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 12/1/2008 8:55:32 PM   
bobatim


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I brought Consider Phlebas today. Am only a couple of chapters in but already i'm really into it. The method of execution in the opening chapter is very shall we say 'unique'

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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 15/1/2008 7:02:10 PM   
sharkboy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

As far as I'm aware, all the sci-fi ones are Culture novels. And I'd read them in order of publication. Clicky. Consider Phlebas is just mind-bogglingly good. And it takes its title from T.S.Eliot's The Waste Lands, which gives it a nice literary heritage.



Nope, Against A Dark Background isn't Culture, neither is The Algebraist.  And to my recollection (though it's been years since I read it) only the title story from The State of the Art is Culture-based.  He's a new Culture novel out next month though - "Matter".

And continuing the TS Eliot theme, the loosely-termed sequel to Consider Phlebas also took its name from The Waste Lands - Looking to Windward.


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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 17/1/2008 3:35:49 PM   
Fluke Skywalker


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Feersum Endjin isn't Culture either as far as I can remember. Bobatim - after you have read Consider Phlebas go on to Player of Games - it's also superb. Of his books :

If I was going to rank the books of his I've read in order of enjoyment it would go as follows :

1. Consider Phlebas
2. The Player of Games
3. Against a Dark Background
4. Excession
5. Use of Weapons
6. Feersum Endjin
7. Look To Windward
8. The State of The Art (the Culture story is interesting because it's the only time Earth is involved in his sci fi)
9. Inversions

I haven't read The Algebraist. If he has another Culture novel coming out I will definately give that a shot

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Post #: 14
RE: Iain (M) Banks - 2/2/2008 9:56:17 AM   
fireboy


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Almost my favourite sci-fi writer ever. Feersum Endjinn is possibly my most read book. I have three copies including a mint condition, personally signed first edition. (I'm quite proud of that one.) It has one of the most vivd characters to grace the page - Bascule. He's amazing that kid, daring, free-spirited and charmingly innocent.

It was also a departure from Bank's normal writing method. He usually maps out the plot in all its detail before even starting to write, but Feersum Endjinn chucked that out the airlock. He just started writing stopped when he got to the end. A fantastic read.

Also, Inversions - very clever book that. So very nearly not even sci-fi. If you've read his books in order, I feel you will be intrigued by Inversions.

I know for sure the Iain Banks cares not one iota for his books to be filmed. I think he considers himself above all that, being a writer. But I agree that they should be filmed, starting with Consider Phlebas and working through. I think Luc Besson was working on an adaptation of The Player of Games, but obviously nothing came of it.

And why almost favourite?

1. Peter F Hamilton kicks him out of the park.
2. He's actually a bit of a git. When I've met him he's been rude, grumpy and even a little insulting. So now I buy his books from secondhand shops.

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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 11/2/2008 10:59:30 PM   
homersimpson_esq


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Heh heh Mikey - beat ya to it on that other thread - just! 

Hooded Man - in response to your other thread, as you can see Consider Phlebas is an excellent place to start!


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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 12/2/2008 12:23:46 PM   
The Hooded Man


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Cheers. It's in the post.

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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 22/6/2008 5:39:25 PM   
homersimpson_esq


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Just picked up Feersum Endjinn and Excession for the sum total of 5for the pair on playtrade. That place is better than ebay for 2nd hand books, because the price is p&p inclusive. Looking forward to getting them to read once I've finished my current read. 

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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 22/6/2008 6:19:11 PM   
Implodingme

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: fireboy

2. He's actually a bit of a git. When I've met him he's been rude, grumpy and even a little insulting. So now I buy his books from secondhand shops.


Well, he's a Fifer, what do you expect?

I've not read as much of Bank's as I'd like, but what I have read has been fantastically good fun. Read The Wasp Factory when I was about 14 in high school which was the most fucked up book I had read at the time.  Still holds a special wee corner of my heart.

The only M book I've read was Use of Weapons which was very enjoyable.  Those first 20 pages were incredibly daunting, such was the density of specific terms and actions he had created for his future universe.  Stuck with it though and it was an incredible journey with (as has been mentioned above) a wonderful structure.  From what you lot are saying, I'll probably make the effort to check out Consider Phlebas, more Culture in my life can't be a bad thing.

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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 22/6/2008 7:57:34 PM   
sharkboy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

Just picked up Feersum Endjinn and Excession for the sum total of 5for the pair on playtrade. That place is better than ebay for 2nd hand books, because the price is p&p inclusive. Looking forward to getting them to read once I've finished my current read. 


Hmm...might have to check out playtrade.  Getting just a bit pissed off with ebay at the minute, where everyone seems to think that it's OK to charge ridiculous postage costs if you're getting the book for 2 below the marked price...

Homer, I'd be happy to post my copy of Matter over to you if you're interested in sustaining the Iain M Banks-a-thon.


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I left in love, in laughter, and in truth and wherever truth, love and laughter abide, I am there in spirit.

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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 22/6/2008 9:34:28 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20120
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Springfield
quote:

ORIGINAL: sharkboy

quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

Just picked up Feersum Endjinn and Excession for the sum total of 5for the pair on playtrade. That place is better than ebay for 2nd hand books, because the price is p&p inclusive. Looking forward to getting them to read once I've finished my current read. 


Hmm...might have to check out playtrade.  Getting just a bit pissed off with ebay at the minute, where everyone seems to think that it's OK to charge ridiculous postage costs if you're getting the book for 2 below the marked price...

Homer, I'd be happy to post my copy of Matter over to you if you're interested in sustaining the Iain M Banks-a-thon.



Cheers! I'm going chronologically, so I may be some time...!


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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 23/6/2008 9:06:18 AM   
richCie


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One of my favourite authors, Consider Phlebas is phenomonal, but his best Sci-Fi is Use Of Weapons.
I've read the majority of them but couldnt get into Feersum Endjinn and I gave up on Matter which was a huge disapoointment for a Culture novel (who were almost entirely absent!!)

Also have to recommend the Algebraist, The Dwellers are such a brilliantly created alien race and absolutely hilarious.

Of his normal fiction I really must recommend The Crow Road, Complicity, The Bridge and Canal Dreams.

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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 24/6/2008 1:03:20 PM   
Empitomezzo


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I'm sat in front of the "B" section in my library right now, and there's a book called Inversions by him. Worth reading?

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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 3/7/2008 8:20:28 PM   
mafyou


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Have any of you read The Algebraist? I haven't started it yet but it was in a 3 for 2 and i thought I'd pick it up. Any good?

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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 3/7/2008 9:14:09 PM   
homersimpson_esq


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Not read any of the more recent ones, so can't help I'm afraid.

I'm just starting Feersum Endjinn and it's interesting. I've just got to Bascale's section and the way it is written does challenge your patience. Basically it's written in the same spelling style as the title itself, but throughout the chapter.


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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 3/7/2008 9:20:08 PM   
Professor Moriarty

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: mafyou

Have any of you read The Algebraist? I haven't started it yet but it was in a 3 for 2 and i thought I'd pick it up. Any good?


Just finishing it.  Picked it up ages ago and got half way through it, then put it down. 

I'm getting a bit weary of Banks' sci-fi to be honest.  Nicely stylised and visualised, but I find it getting a bit thin.  Still some great reads along the way.

This is worth a read though.  Would have worked better for me 80 pages thinner cos I'm a slow reader and while the book interests me it didn't absolutely hook me in.

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RE: Iain (M) Banks - 4/7/2008 12:11:48 AM   
ilovebeerme


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I really enjoyed Matter.  It was a departure from the usual Culture novels but I don't think it suffered because of it.  As with most sci fi stuff I enjoyed the journey more than the destination, but that's not always a bad thing (I find the same with Peter F Hamilton).  The concept of the shell worlds was great, one of those ideas that when you really sit and think about it for a while it's mind blowing.

I love Consider Phlebas and Use of Weapons but I think my favourite to date is actually Look to Windward.  It's plodding and doesn't really go anywhere but I couldn't put it down.  It's charming and even reading it for the first time felt comforting.  It's an excellent read.

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