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Transition [Kindle Edition]

Iain Banks
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
Kindle Price: £4.31 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
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Book Description

A world that hangs suspended between triumph and catastrophe, between the dismantling of the Wall and the fall of the Twin Towers, frozen in the shadow of suicide terrorism and global financial collapse, such a world requires a firm hand and a guiding light. But does it need the Concern: an all-powerful organisation with a malevolent presiding genius, pervasive influence and numberless invisible operatives in possession of extraordinary powers?

On the Concern's books are Temudjin Oh, an un-killable assassin who journeys between the peaks of Nepal, a version of Victorian London and the dark palaces of Venice; and a nameless, faceless torturer known only as the Philosopher. And then there's the renegade Mrs Mulverhill, who recruits rebels to her side; and Patient 8262, hiding out from a dirty past in a forgotten hospital ward. As these vivid, strange and sensuous worlds circle and collide, the implications of turning traitor to the Concern become horribly apparent, and an unstable universe is set on a dizzying course.

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Product Description


** 'Baroque, digressive, kinetic, teeming with big ideas and grand theories, it's a novel to get lost in . . . gripping (THE TIMES)

** 'One of Iain Banks's most imaginative and compelling novels yet (SCOTSMAN)

** 'Wildly imaginative . . . A corker of a thriller, a classic good versus bad tale, and one which the author uses to tackle some seriously big moral and philosophical issues - but always in his typically light-handed and darkly humorous fashion . . . A book that makes you think, one that makes you look at the world around you in a different light, and it's also a properly thrilling read. If only more contemporary fiction was like it (Independent on Sunday)

** 'Transition is Banks at his exuberant, flamboyant, head-spinning best (Financial Times)

Book Description

* The long-awaited and stunning new novel from the unrivalled Iain Banks - a high-definition, hyper-real apocalyptic fable for our times

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1015 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (3 Sept. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002TZ3DQ2
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #83,452 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
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm sure I'm missing something 8 Oct. 2010
By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE
It has been suggested that Iain Banks lastest offering is a crossover novel meeting his sci-fi alterego, Iain M Banks halfway. Having never read Iain M Banks I can't comment on that but it is ceratinly a shift from Banks' normal output.

His past books have always been intricate and complex, The Crow Road & Garbadale being good examples, but with Transition the needle is off the scale.

It's undoubtably a very ambitious project, strands of the story are woven togeher across several contemporaneously existing multi-dimensional worlds, coming together at the end, but unspectacularly.

To be honest, I found this quite a difficult read and not just because of the long words. Like the characters who flit between the shadows I felt I was only skating the surface of Banks' vision, unable to break through to the real darkness below. When I finally made it to the end I was met by anti-climax. Yes, we know what happens to the characters but what was it all about?

A good idea, not a bad book, but not my favourite Banks. Perhaps it was me, but I just didn't get it. I feel a bit like crew of Red Dwarf when the Better Than Life game is over - I knew something was there, just couldn't work it out.
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76 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Banks at his most inventive & daring 20 Sept. 2009
By Sam Woodward TOP 500 REVIEWER
This book 'transitions' the split between Iain Banks' non-sci-fi output & Iain M. Banks' vast space operas, presenting a sci-fi tale with a contemporary setting.

It is based on the premise that a virtually infinite number of parallel dimensions do indeed exist. The inhabitants of one of them have discovered that by ingesting a drug called Septus, they can transport their consciousness into the bodies of unsuspecting people in other dimensions & thus meddle with the socio-political development of other Earths. They have therefore formed The Concern - an organisation designed to strictly control the use of 'transitioning' & ensure it is used to benefit other worlds. But since The Concern's High Council plays its cards suffocatingly close to its chest, can they actually be trusted? Or could some of its members have agendas of their own? And how can anyone decide what constitutes the greater good anyway? These are questions one of The Concern's assassins has to find answers to when he becomes a piece in a deadly game between his employers & an enigmatic renegade.

The Concern echoes the interfering, egalitarian Culture of Banks' sci-fi novels but as its members are all merely human, The Concern is murkier & harder to trust. The idea of parallel worlds has been used before, notably in The Adventures of Luther Arkwright but never with Banks creative flair & ability to analyse the deeper implications in an entertaining & thought-provoking manner. Yet despite the virtually infinite variety this backdrop provides, the plot is a relatively straightforward one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs a firm hand 5 Aug. 2010
The multiverse is real. A small group of people can travel between worlds, inhabiting the bodies of others and influencing events. This process is controlled by The Concern, a multi-versal enterprise which oversees everything. However there is discontent within The Concern, and one person wants to change things, using the tools of The Concern itself.

This book starts with a number of seemingly unrelated narratives and eventually weaves them together. To be honest, I was very glad of the synopsis on the back cover, otherwise I'm not sure I'd have followed it to start with. There is the typical Banks wit, creativity and humour, however I think there's just a bit to much of everything.

There are many fascinating ideas, each of which could have been explored more thoroughly. The whole idea of the multiverse and the relations between different realities needs more detail for a start. Are these worlds which have always existed, representing every possible reality, or are they spawned at decision points, as in the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory? What happens to the conciousnesses of the people whose bodies are taken over? How come our transitionary develops his additional powers? Then there are some inconsistencies: how do The Concern transition into younger bodies but stay in the same world? If people can transition objects, why can't they transition themselves physically? Setting it between the Berlin wall falling and 9/11, and trying to link it to the recession of 2008/9 is unnecessary. And the 'big idea' which The Concern want to block is, frankly, not so exciting when you are aware of the multiverse.

So I think it needs a firm editing hand and a bit more focus.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back on form 30 Sept. 2010
I think this is one of "Iain Banks'" better books for several years. I wouldn't dispute that Iain has passed his best, but and it's a very big but he's still very good at what he does.

I've found his last 3 or 4 "Iain Banks" books pretty average by his previous standards and I thought this book brought back some of the flare his early books contained.

I don't think it's an "Iain M Banks" book and it's not SF, I think people claiming so are not familiar with Walking On Glass, A Song Of Stone, and to a lesser extent The Bridge and Canal Dreams all likewise pretty far removed from reality. Such readers are perhaps not even familiar with SF itself. Having made that point it's largely an irrelevant point I think.

Admittedly the book has lots of great ideas that don't go anywhere and which he really could have developed and most authors would consider it wasteful. Also the book wraps up in a relatively inconclusive/unsatisfying fashion. But anyone familiar with Iain Banks knows he's a bit lazy that way.

Nonetheless all in all I was genuinely entertained.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely worth buying
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I have a few minor quibbles, like the science of the whole situation not being satisfactorily explained (unusual for Banks), and the ending being... Read more
Published 16 days ago by Lucy McGough
5.0 out of 5 stars ... I could forget to read all over again and love it as much
Another one of those books I wish I could forget to read all over again and love it as much. Such a shame this is his last novel, we have lost a truly great author!
Published 16 days ago by Stuart C
5.0 out of 5 stars I absolutely loved this. Very cleverly thought out and beautifully...
I haven't really read Iain Banks' novels before other than "Crow Road" and "The Wasp Factory" but I will certainly be reading more of his novels, especially his... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Derby Girl
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh!
To be honest, I came here expecting to see some very positive reviews on this book and am surprised that the reviews are so mixed. This is superb stuff from Banks for me. Read more
Published 3 months ago by R. J. Porter
2.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious idea lacking sympathetic characters
This is a difficult novel full of big ambitious ideas about people able to flit between bodies, between alternate realities. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jason Hanrahan
5.0 out of 5 stars Christ alive this is painfully good. Talk of Iain m banks crossover...
Christ alive this is painfully good. Talk of Iain m banks crossover with his mainstream stuff is redundant, this will grab you and hold you like nothing you have read before. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Gman
4.0 out of 5 stars Transition
Another interesting novel from this talented writer
Published 5 months ago by Merlin
3.0 out of 5 stars OK but too long by far
This is not one of the author's better books. It takes far too long to get anywhere and when it does it isn't especially worth it. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mr Gordon Davidson
2.0 out of 5 stars Sorry to have read this book.
Sorry to say this is the worst novel by mr Banks that i have read. I'm a great fan of his production - both with and without the "M" - and i consider him one of the best... Read more
Published 6 months ago by cwikstro
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing adventure!
This is one of the best books I've read in a long while. I've read quite a few of Banks' books and really, I don't think you can go wrong!
Published 7 months ago by Dave
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