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Consider Phlebas (Culture series Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Iain M. Banks
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (195 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

The 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.



Consider Phlebas - a space opera of stunning power and awesome imagination.

Books In This Series (10 Books)
Complete Series


  • Product Description

    Review

    'Banks is a phenomenon: the wildly successful, fearlessly creative author of brilliant and disturbing non-genre novels, he's equally at home writing pure science fiction of a perculiarly gnarly energy and elegance' William Gibson 'There is now no British SF writer to whose work I look forward with greater keenness' The Times 'Poetic, humourous, baffling, terrifying, sexy - the books of Iain M. Banks are all these things and more' NME

    Book Description

    The first Culture novel - a tour de force of brilliant storytelling, world-building and imagination

    Product details

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 715 KB
    • Print Length: 480 pages
    • Publisher: Orbit; New Ed edition (4 Sept. 2008)
    • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1857231384
    • ISBN-13: 978-1857231380
    • ASIN: B002TXZRQI
    • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Not Enabled
    • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (195 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,963 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    More About the Author

    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.

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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Thankyou Iain 5 April 2013
    Format:Paperback
    In the light of the news of the author's terminal cancer, I wanted to say something that could maybe express my condolences to him and thank him for creating a collection of stories that have, quite simply, outshone anything else I have read in my 46 years.
    The Culture series have formed the bedrock of my reading for the last 24 years, since I first picked up Consider Phlebas. Subsequent novels have expanded and complicated the Culture universe, but for me this first book is the best. The final section set in the underground tunnels is so evocatively written it gives me goosebumps to this day just thinking about it. Beautifully paced and pitched, devastatingly emotional in the juxtaposition of the close-up personal tragedies it describes and the ultimately futile, almost unnoticed effect of the episode on the war itself. I have re-read Consider Phlebas many times and I am in awe of the man who could dream up such fantasy and tease out so many emotions in the reader by the manner in which he writes. Thankyou Iain for the legacy of your talents. I am (selfishly) bereft that there will be no more Culture novels, but that pales next to the news you gave us two days ago. You are the writer that gave me the gift of reading, and for that I will be ever grateful.
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    12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Great story well told 23 April 2008
    Format:Paperback
    This is my first Iain Banks Novel and proved to be an absorbing and thrilling read. (Thks Mark). The plot (set in the backdrop of a Galatic war between the Idirans and the Culture) moves along at a nice pace and develops characters to a degree that you quickly sympathise with them even when they're diametrically opposed.

    Bank's imagination is un-surpassed as you experience orbitals, GSV's, quirky robots,a life threatening game of poker called damage and much more..

    The ending is a little disappointing but serves to emphasise that you have just read about the experiences of a small band of mercenaries, caught up in huge conflict played out over unimaginable distances spanning many years. (Also liked the small appendices at the back of the book detailing the reasons for the war)

    On the whole this is a good introduction to Ian Banks and I would not hesitate in recommending this book to anyone.
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    22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly enjoyable 7 Sept. 2011
    By RoverP
    Format:Paperback
    I don't usually read science fiction but I picked this up just to try something different. The title, the list of contents and the small font all gave me the feeling that this was not going to be an easy read. I was wrong! One's interest is captured early on and empathy with the main character stays with you through to the end. That does not mean that Horza is a nice character or a good character - it is just that you sympathise with his plight.

    The characters develop well as the story unfolds and the outcome is always in doubt. Much is left unresolved at the end but the end is not an unsatisfying one. For all the adventures and achievements of one person in a war, ultimately they count for little in the scale of things.

    Whether an author's fantasy is founded in fact or is just pure imagination, science fiction allows the author to get away with the most ridiculous nonsense which is why I tend to dislike the genre. Banks clearly lets his imagination run riot and has some fun with it but the reason this book works is that this imagination is not the core of the book. Rather it is a vessel in which to play out a morality tale of someone caught between two sides in a conflict and his attitudes to and relationships with those on either side or none.

    Banks never lets the absurdity of the imagined worlds and behaviours over-power the moral dilemmas and relationships at the heart of the story and as a result one keeps turning the pages. Despite the fears this was a genuinely enjoyable read.
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    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, but over-reaches. 4 Jan. 2015
    By Dr. Michael Heron TOP 500 REVIEWER
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    I read Consider Phlebas slightly out of order, having read the second book in the Culture series first. As such, I'm not entirely well placed to comment on how it works as a first taste of the series. It's, as you might expect from Banks, a very well written book with lots of beautifully evocative writing. As an introduction to a sci-fi universe it's also very ambitious bringing with it a depth and breadth that promises considerably more than it can be reasonably expected to deliver. In that respect, it lives up to expectations.

    For me, the key failing of the book is that it left me frustrated. It would drop a hint of something here, a passing mention of another thing there, offer a brief glimpse into a fascinating concept elsewhere, and then it would just dance on without developing it further. On one hand, this offers plenty of scope for the Culture series to evolve. On the other, I still felt lit-teased and so it doesn't help very much in terms of enjoying this one specific book. I suppose it does keep the plot moving at a fair old clip in a way that extended world building wouldn't, but for me the plot wasn't really as interesting as it could have been without that world building. It's hard to get an appropriate feel for the stakes when you can't properly judge the extent to which the things happening actually *matter*.

    I don't think I'd recommend this as someone's first encounter with the Culture. Player of Games, which is an extraordinarily good novel[1], is both better than Consider Phlebas as a first *and* second book. However, I would recommend swinging back to Consider Phlebas relatively early. It's by no means a bad book, as the four star rating will show.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    I consider this a very good book.
    Published 3 days ago by Jonathan Morris
    5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful Iain M Banks
    I have read other culture novels that refernece the Idiran wars and finally reading this book put it all together for me. So sad there won't be any more from Iain M Banks
    Published 22 days ago by Ewan Gerard
    3.0 out of 5 stars Consider Phlebas: a hit and a miss
    After an unusually long break in reading, I decided to get back into the Sci Fi genre. Having read one of the latest mainstream fiction novel by Iain Banks, I decided to go for his... Read more
    Published 28 days ago by Dorothee Nachez
    1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother
    Spoilers!
    I could go on about character development/motivation, pacing, believability and plot holes but other negative reviews have already done that and to be honest, given... Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Baldie
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Brilliant book. Favourite from the culture series
    Published 1 month ago by Colin Gordon
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    A good read
    Published 1 month ago by Jayaitch
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Very high quality SF imaginative and fast moving ing
    Published 2 months ago by Norman Ansell
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Very enjoyable book, introducing the ideas of the Culture
    Published 2 months ago by Mr AN Benford
    4.0 out of 5 stars good read,extreme scifi
    hardcore science fiction.will definately be reading more of this culture series,after a short break though.pretty mind bending
    Published 2 months ago by michael parry
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Another of the excellent Culture novels.
    Published 3 months ago by buyerbeware
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