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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 (171 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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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 (171 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,031 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
52 of 53 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read all of Iain M Banks books, and I read Consider Phlebas the year after it was first published in 1988, and it has stayed with me ever since.

This is a Culture book. In fact more than that it is the first Culture book. It is interesting to speculate that when Iain M Banks wrote this story he definitely was not thinking about a series or a trilogy, but as a stand alone novel.

To recap The ten books of the Culture are: Consider Phlebas, 1987; The Player of Games,1988; Use of Weapons, 1990; The State of the Art, 1991; Excession, 1996; Inversions, 1998; Look to Windward,2000; Matter,2008; Surface Detail, 2010; The Hydrogen Sonata, 2012.

The story of Consider Phlebas, is not the tale of Phlebas. But it is the story of a hero. The hero in question is Horza the Changer. He is a shape shifter who has been caught up in a war between Culture and Idirans. Because both sides found their shape shifting capabilities useful, both sides have in turn used them, then exterminated them. Now only Horza is left.

Horza was once an Idirian spy, and is an implacable enemy of the Culture. His story is a tragedy, because amidst their war strategies, The Culture have dispatched one of their agents to try and save Horza, as they pity him the last of his species. I won't say much about the story, but it is 600 pages of deeply plotted, intensively complicated war, betrayal, stupidity, cupidity, death and destruction.

I think it is quite hard to grasp until one has dipped into this book, how much colour depth and complexity Iain M Banks puts into what is a very traditional Space Opera.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
"Thinking man's sci-fi"? "Literary sci-fi"? This is mundanely written, the descriptions fail to deliver any sense of wonder, the action scenes are serviceable at best but hardly... Read more
Published 6 days ago by PABP
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting if a little difficult to get through
Bora Horza Gobuchul was an interesting main character. The plot follows him from a questionable mission impersonating a man someone had presumably killed, to a mission to capture... Read more
Published 20 days ago by ThingsLizzyReads
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixture of imaginative, violent, and at times corny, storytelling
If you only read one sentence of this review my recommendation is to skip this book and read the second in the series (The Player of Games) or read the first 75% and then skip to... Read more
Published 1 month ago by hfffoman
5.0 out of 5 stars ..... who was once as tall...
Just re-read this for the umpteenth time. Just gets better every time. Just the best place to start with this author's work (sci-fi or non-genre). Read more
Published 1 month ago by Veronica Speedwell
4.0 out of 5 stars and I certainly think that the special effects possibilities for a...
This was the first Ian M Banks book I had read. I found it very enjoyable, with a lot of detail in the background of the plot, the sort of things which 'set the scene'. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Thomas John Kirkpatrick
5.0 out of 5 stars rich and engaging detail
Fascinating detail worked through to conclusions that keep the pages turning and the kindle on late into the night an every Banks novel is journey of epic proportions this one was... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr Peter L Healey
5.0 out of 5 stars A forever classic
A forever classic. RIP Mr Banks
Published 2 months ago by Jonathan May
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by Jonathan
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reading!!
Great book, good story with excellent descriptions of both the characters and the machines.
Published 2 months ago by n madsen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My favourite banks
Published 2 months ago by Jason Reynolds
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