- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Orbit; First Edition edition (10 Aug. 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1857239695
- ISBN-13: 978-1857239690
- Product Dimensions: 16.7 x 3.5 x 24.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 579,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Look To Windward Hardcover – 10 Aug 2000
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
When using that middle initial M., Iain Banks writes grand space opera combining galactic scope with twisty, tricky probes into the darkest secrets of human and other minds. Look to Windward revisits the utopian but ruthless interstellar Culture introduced in Consider Phlebas, exploring the complex aftermath of a rare Culture mistake--humanitarian tinkering with an unjust civilization that accidentally led to massive civil war and billions dead.
After a harrowing battle flashback, the scene shifts to one of the Culture's wonderfully landscaped, ring-shaped artificial worlds called Orbitals. A ghastly light is awaited in the sky from distant suns detonated in the war of Consider Phlebas eight centuries earlier; an occasion for sombre festivity, pyrotechnics, and a memorial symphony from exiled alien composer Ziller. Meanwhile another tortured member of Ziller's race--aggressors and victims in that more recent civil war--arrives on a mission whose dreadful nature emerges through fragments of slowly returning memory. Elsewhere, in the exuberantly imagined airsphere home of floating "behemothaurs" almost too huge to imagine, the clue to what's happening falls belatedly into inexperienced hands...
While scattering red herrings and building tension for his final burst of literal and moral fireworks, Banks shows us around the Orbital in sensuous, lyrical travelogues. Rich scenery, high living, low comedy and dangerous sports contrast with reflections on mortality and the lingering aftershock of both those wars, recalled by ravaged veterans. Look to Windward culminates with deft twists, inversions, parallels, and savage justice, as unexpected as we expect from this author. Recommended. --David Langford
In terms of sheer storytelling prowess and verve, LOOK TO WINDWARD is a work of genius (SFX)
A great book (NEW SCIENTIST)
Banks keeps ratcheting up the suspense (GUARDIAN)
A mordant wit, a certain savagery and a wild imagination (MAIL ON SUNDAY)
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
"Look to Windward" is a staggeringly imaginative chunk of hard sci-fi, with some of the strongest characterization and mind-bogglingly grandiose scope since Banks' classic "Consider Phlebus".
Who could not empathize with the battle-weary, bereaved Quilan whose tortured soul seeks oblivion, and yet who could not condemn him for the ghastly mission he agrees to undertake?
Has absolute power begun to corrupt the Culture? Can they honestly still claim the moral high ground after their ill-judged and catastrophic intervention in the war?
This novel touches on some pretty profound ethical dilemmas along the way. There is also much wise and possibly prophetic investigation into the nature of the soul, heaven and omnipotence.
Please don't get the impression that this is all heavy stuff though; there is much amusing and witty dialogue between the chief protagonists. Some of Ziller's bon mots will have you in stitches!
To the delight of the Culture anoraks, there is also a huge amount of information about Culture minds/hubs, personality backups, orbitals and (delightfully!) a roll call of some of the more eccentric Culture ship names.
How I would love to visit Masaq' Orbital; I guarantee you will too!
It is also an excellent exploration of the milieu of the Culture, where it came from and where it's going, and its small, small place in the grander scheme of things. Banks has said that he writes SF because he's a fan of the "gosh-wow" elements, as much as anything else, and there is a good dollop of that here too.
Bottom line - give this book a try. You'll either like it or hate it, but it's worth reading on the chance (likelihood I think) that your response will be the former.
Look to Windward is slower paced and more descriptive than the others. Banks plays with the deepest philosophies and shows us, as he often has before, how difficult it is to find simple answers. My head swimming with the fantastic images conjured by the descriptive passages, there was only just room there to be fascinated by the fleshing-out Banks has brought to the Culture's history, and astounded by the new concepts that he introduces as in every novel (I particularly liked the idea of the airspheres and the giant floating sentient behemoths for whom the lifetime of an entire civilisation is a mere blip).
If you want to get into Iain M. Banks, read Feersum Endjinn first, then get into the Culture with Player of Games and Excession. I seriously recommend saving this one until you've read several Culture books because it answers a lot of questions and I think would be a lot more satisfying as a result.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A series that is more imaginative and diverse than any other I've read. I missed out on these when they were published and am now catching up. Read morePublished 1 month ago by MarkAS
I've read several of the Culture series and each is a joy to read in its own right. Don't be put off if you've not read any before as each story is fully fleshed out (although... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mr. T. O. Brand
A really incredible and yet creditable story of an attack on the Culture. Such imagination. One of the best in the seriesPublished 2 months ago by MR P.
This is a slow paced book, and if you are looking for an action plot, look elsewhere (even for Banks), but what it really is, is a meditation on what it means to be human, and to... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Anton Gourman
Classic Ian M Banks - always mind-blowing, always thought-provokingPublished 4 months ago by Mr. John Butler