The Player of Games

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Babel-17, Mar 23, 2003.

  1. Babel-17

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    http://www.iainbanks.net/sf02.htm

    THE PLAYER OF GAMES

    The Culture — a human / machine symbiotic society — has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. The Player of Games. Master of every board, computer and strategy.

    Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game ... a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the challenge of his life — and very possibly his death.

    'There is now no British SF writer to whose work I look forward with greater keenness' The Times




    [​IMG]









    Intrigued? Want to know more?

    http://www.mattstan.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/culture/culturefaq.html


    [​IMG]
     
  2. Randell

    Randell Senior Daddy
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    read it years ago, love it. As I do all of Iain Banks (and Iain M. Banks!) stuff.
     
  3. Babel-17

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  4. Randell

    Randell Senior Daddy
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  5. Simon F

    Simon F Tea maker
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    I think "The Player of Games" was the first I. M. Banks novel I read and probably my favourite of his works. There was one, however, I wasn't too keen on but I can't recall the title.

    For a complete contrast, try reading "The Wasp Factory" which is published under his non-SF (nom de plume (?)) "Iain Banks". It's strange!
     
  6. nutball

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    I've only read two of Banks' novels (Excession and Use of Weapons), but I can't say I liked either of them.

    He's obviously put quite a lot of thought into his Universe that the stories are built within (The Culture), so the potential is there for some great stories set within the broad sweep of history (eg. the original Foundation trilogy). Both books were eg. 400 pages of build up, followed by 2 pages of resolution. The resolution in one case was a totally ludicrous plot-twist, and in the other a "and they all lived happily ever after".

    In both cases I was left thinking "what the hell was the point of that? Why did you bother making me read 400 pages to make a point which other writers could have made in a five page short-story".

    A mate of mine who's a big Bates fan said I'd read the two worst books in the series. I won't be bothering to find out whether he's correct.
     
  7. andypski

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    Personally I think Banks's books are very well written and far subtler than the majority of sci-fi out there. I find there's a lot more meat to them than most if you read them carefully.

    Still, you can't please everyone I guess. It's all very subjective.
     
  8. Simon F

    Simon F Tea maker
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    I think one of those was the one I didn't think much of - "The Player of Games" was much more interesting.

    Gosh I haven't read those since I was 10 or 11 years old... I must see if I can find a copy and re-read them.
     
  9. BoardBonobo

    BoardBonobo My hat is white(ish)!
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    I have to say that Excession and Look To Windward are my two favourite Banks novels, with Use Of Weapons coming a close second.

    But I also like books by Alistair Reynolds (Chasm City), Micheal Marshall Smith (Only Forward & Spares), and Ken McCleod (Engines of Light). They all have the same flavour as Banks, with Reynolds doing universal cutlure, Smith with a dark slant on the future, and McCleod dealing with a very politically polarised version of the culture.

    But for golden oldies I have to go with E.E 'Doc' Smith (Lensmen), Edmund Cooper\Richard Avery (The Expendables), Asimov (I, Robot and Foundation), and Arthur.C.Clark (Rama) for the good old space opera, master culture sci-fi.
     
  10. Babel-17

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    Ah, "Doc" Smith! I think I've read everything he wrote, great stuff.
     
  11. nutball

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    Yeah, the Lensman stuff was pretty good, fast-paced and compelling, and set against a long-term large-scale backdrop (which I like). Some of the small-scale stuff was a touch naive. I haven't read it since I was a teenager, must give it a go again.
     
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