No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…Find out more
Iain M. 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 (published under the name Iain Banks) and his science fiction novels. Iain Banks died in June 2013.
Maxim Jakubowski's view on MATTER...
Banks’ Culture series, of which this the latest instalment, is space opera at its exuberant best: adventures and conflicts on a galactic scale, alien races by the dozen, non-stop action, a gallery of sharply-edged characters in search of the truth and racing against time. All the ingredients are perfectly stirred to provide first class entertainment and science fiction at its most stirring. Makes STAR WARS look simplistic.
The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, the End Days for the Gzilt civilisation. An ancient people, organised on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they've made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilisations: they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence. Amid preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted - dead, not alive. Aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command. She must find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago. It seems that the final days of the Gzilt civilisation are likely to prove its most perilous.
Another stunning â€˜Cultureâ novel combining science fiction on a universal scale and surprisingly funny dialogue. Wormholes link places many light years apart but the one on the planet Ulbrus has been destroyed. While they wait for it to be fixed Fassin Taak, a Slow Seer, hears from a race of near immortals of a whole undiscovered network of wormholes. When the news leaks out 2 huge battle fleets descend on the planet. Wonderful space opera.Comparison: Peter F Hamilton, Greg Bear.Similar this month: None but try China Mieville although fantasy.
The ‘Culture’ spans thousands of galaxies and hundreds of intelligent life forms and it looks to incorporate all those it finds that are sufficiently advanced. However this doesn’t always go to plan and after an unsuccessful intervention the Chelgrian civilisation collapses into a civil war which kills five billion! Some years later, a faction of Chelgrians plots revenge.
A 2012 World Book Night selection. 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.
"e;Dazzlingly original."e; -- Daily Mail"e;Gripping, touching and funny."e; -- TLSThe war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender. Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction.
In a world renowned even within a galaxy full of wonders, a crime within a war. For one man it means a desperate flight, and a search for the one - maybe two - people who could clear his name. For his brother it means a life lived under constant threat of treachery and murder. And for their sister, even without knowing the full truth, it means returning to a place she'd thought abandoned forever. Only the sister is not what she once was; Djan Seriy Anaplian has changed almost beyond recognition to become an agent of the Culture's Special Circumstances section, charged with high-level interference in civilizations throughout the greater galaxy.Concealing her new identity - and her particular set of abilities - might be a dangerous strategy, however. In the world to which Anaplian returns, nothing is quite as it seems; and determining the appropriate level of interference in someone else's war is never a simple matter.MATTER is a novel of dazzling wit and serious purpose. An extraordinary feat of storytelling and breathtaking invention on a grand scale, it is a tour de force from a writer who has turned science fiction on its head.
The ninth Culture book from the awesome imagination of Iain M. Banks, a modern master of science fiction. It begins in the realm of the Real, where matter still matters. Lededje Y'breq is one of the Intagliated, her marked body bearing witness to a family shame, her life belonging to a man whose lust for power is without limit. Prepared to risk everything for her freedom, her release, when it comes, is at a price, and to put things right she will need the help of the Culture. It begins in the realm of the Real. It begins with a murder. And it will not end until the Culture has gone to war with death itself. Praise for the Culture series: 'Epic in scope, ambitious in its ideas and absorbing in its execution' Independent on Sunday 'Banks has created one of the most enduring and endearing visions of the future' Guardian 'Jam-packed with extraordinary invention' Scotsman 'Compulsive reading' Sunday Telegraph The Culture series: Consider Phlebas The Player of Games Use of Weapons The State of the Art Excession Inversions Look to Windward Matter Surface Detail The Hydrogen Sonata Other books by Iain M. Banks: Against a Dark Background Feersum Endjinn The Algebraist