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A box set that will spark a life-long obsession - Highly recommended for all Science Fiction fans
on 18 July 2014
I have read all of Iain M Banks books, and this boxset brings together the first three books in The Culture series.
It is interesting to speculate that when Iain M Banks wrote these story he definitely was not thinking about a series or a trilogy,and for us Iain M Bank purists it is entertaining to see them boxed up in this way, because in all honesty, Iain M Banks only ever wrote stand alone novels.
My point being that this is not a trilogy, you don't have to read the books in any particular order, and you can read one and never read the other two or vice versa.
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.
To summarise each of these books:
Consider Phlebas is the story of anti-hero Horza who fight against The Culture
The Player of Games is about Gurgeh a bored Culture citizen who is blackmailed into fighting a very unique kind of game war on behalf of the Culture
The State of the Art is about three siblings who from a golden childhood see their lives descend into the murder and cruelty of civil war. The Culture wants to intervene to help them but... Things are never what they seem.
Personally I like the Player of Games the best. To my mind with its echoes in contemporary game culture it is the most accessible of iain M Banks texts, and I love the civilisation of Azad which has so many echoes of our own world.
However once you get started on The Culture novels, once Iain M Banks voice start to speak to you, you will be hooked for life, and eternally grateful that there in fact 10 distinct novels in this series to enjoy.