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Consider Phlebas (The Culture)

Consider Phlebas (The Culture) [Kindle Edition]

Iain M. Banks
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'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 Sep 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857231384
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857231380
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (151 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #6,333 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
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thankyou Iain 5 April 2013
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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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly enjoyable 7 Sep 2011
By RoverP
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story well told 23 April 2008
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best culture novel 26 Dec 2011
This first entry in Banks's Culture series is regarded by surprisingly many people as one of the lesser works, in comparison to the likes of Player of Games and Use of Weapons. However I very much enjoyed it, and I prefer Consider Phlebas to the four other Banks novels that I have read thus far.

The novel introduces the reader to the Culture, a non-hierarchical hi-tech utopian humanoid civilisation sustained primarily by "Minds" - artificial intelligences that inhabit giant spaceships, in which the humans live. The protagonist is a shape-shifting humanoid who is allied to the Idirans, a rival alien civilisation of a Spartan ethos. The Idirans' brutal expansion and annexation of surrounding peoples provokes the Culture to wage war against them, and the novel charts the protagonist's adventures as he plays his part in the conflict.

I found Consider Phlebas satisfying as escapism and as science fiction. It really is an engrossing tale, and Banks's is probably the most successful utopia that any author has described.

I was also impressed by Banks's neutrality in his treatment of the two competing civilisations - something that I feel is lacking in the other Culture novels that I've read. That the protagonist is on the side of the civilisation with whom the reader would naturally tend to identify helps in this regard.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Consider reading at once 18 April 2012
An outstanding SF debut, brimfull of techno-concepts, offbeat characters, exotic planets and habitats and above all, blinding action scenes. it remains a mystery why noone has given this the lavish movie adaptation it deserves. Someone should send a copy to Christopher Nolan or JJ Abrams.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good
this book was very well thought out and written. a brilliant starting point to the rest of The Culture Series and to anyone new to Science Fiction on the whole. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Hazel Baker
1.0 out of 5 stars Over rated author
I struggle to understand the cult following devoted to Iain M Bank's work, this is the second of his canon that I have made myself get through to that end. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Mr C E Tupman
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of excitement
There's plenty of action in this beefy space opera, which follows the adventures of a shapeshifting spy during a war between AI driven utopia of the Culture and the dogmatic,... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Amphioxus
5.0 out of 5 stars A roller-Coaster ride through the Cosmos
An excellent read... Enjoyed it all the way. Gripping from start to finish. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a great adventure into the unknown...
Published 1 month ago by Andrew W Green
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
As an Iain Banks and culture fan this was a rather large missing piece. It is a wonderful read and highly recommended.
Published 1 month ago by J A Lane
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding
this sets the bar very high, this is the lord of the rings of sci fi.
ian m what a loss..
Published 1 month ago by Ms Barbara Nolan
3.0 out of 5 stars Vaguely intertesting
T'was his first sci -fi novel and it shows. As the book ends abruptly I wondered why Banks had written it and for whom. I am stll not sure.
Published 2 months ago by rhyneside
4.0 out of 5 stars super Sci-Fi of the highest order
Mr Banks leaves a serious legacy of wonderfully imaginative books which will be enjoyed by generations to come.

I am just off to purchase the second book in the series.
Published 2 months ago by Nigel M Thompson
4.0 out of 5 stars Not His Best
A very good book if taken in isolation, however some of the later Culture novels have better characterisations. A good start to what has become a classic series
Published 3 months ago by Kel
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Easily in my top 5 ever SciFI books...and I've been reading Sci Fi for 30 years....well constructed, beautifully paced, fiendishly clever.
Published 4 months ago by Huckleberry Finn
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