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3.7 out of 5 stars139
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 30 July 2010
The story line is tricky to follow at times and whole sections do sometimes have to be re-read but I loved every minute of it. A story that has you guessing who's who from the very beginning. I really liked the cool narrator change and the sex scenes are very well written with a very high number of them!! I was thinking about this book and its ideas for about a week after. Awesome, well worth it.
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on 15 November 2010
It really feels like the sci-fi side of Iain Bank's personality (he writes sci fi under the name Iain M Banks) has overflowed into his 'normal' fiction persona. I found the book really rather dull. Complicated plot lines that didn't tie up particularly well and a real science fiction edge to the characters and plot. Multiple narrators - some of whom don't even seem to be that involved in the main narrative. There's no character development in Transition. You feel no empathy for the characters and little interest in them.
I far prefered his earlier stuff - Crow Road in particular. This was much more of a 'normal' (but still immensely creative and at times even funny) piece of fiction.
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on 7 September 2014
Loved it
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on 6 October 2009
Having read all of Iain's science fiction books I already appreciated what a wonderful imagination this author possess. Transition could just as easily appeared as an Iain M Banks book and I would not have been disappointed.
If you like reading books that both challenge and intrigue then this is a very good example.
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on 25 December 2015
Superb
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on 11 December 2013
I chose this rating because I received the book on time and in good order. As to the content I have not as yet had the time to read it.
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on 3 September 2010
Parallel universe-travelling assassins, risible neo-con body-squatters, teenage fantasy sex-scenes, and four hundred-odd pages before I finally decided I had had enough of this nonsense. Clearly an Iain M Banks that failed to make the sci-fi cut, this is the undisputed turkey of the Iain Banks pen. The text motors along with the usual Banks fluency, but the political, scientific and philosophical themes are not so much explored as glimpsed from the window. Yet rather than wanting more, I found myself feeling relief at completing each section. Like the victims of torture depicted within the text, I wanted it only to end. The characters, in particular the villains and anti-heroes, were half-hearted. Their lack of passion suggested the same from the author. He seems to have got bogged down in a confusion of ideas, metaphors and allegories. As his characters literally "flit" between adjacent worlds, so Banks flits from climate-change to criminal meglomania to armageddon and who knows what else, building not suspense, but a growing feeling of an author gone to complacency, scanning the geopolitical scene and throwing together an incoherent flim-flam worthy of the most ridiculous of the characters created within. The references to suicide bombers and airport massacres are crass and lazy, in spite of the occasional riveting scene.

An Iain Banks fan for two decades, I wondered if the real author had transitioned himself to a parallel world, leaving a moronic "husk" of himself behind, in the manner of a "transitioning" hero of this ludicrous novel.

Avoid.
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on 10 April 2016
Good
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on 7 October 2009
There is a decent idea at the heart of this book - that it is possible to flit between many universes by taking over human bodies in other worlds - but it is sadly let down by an absence of plot.

One gets the idea that Iain Banks has been watching a lot of high concept US TV shows recently. Shows like Fringe, Dexter, Heroes and 24. Perhaps he has also read Michael Marshall's `The Intruders' which has a similar idea at its core. The problem is that, having come up with his big idea, Banks neglects to - or was unable to - come up with a decent storyline to hang it on. We are given some vague clues about a conspiracy involving the all-powerful `Concern' (a recycled `Business') but this is never properly fleshed out, as if the author himself doesn't really know what it is.

The book is made up of short character-focused vignettes, very much in the style of his second novel, Walking on Glass. However, this lacks the punchiness of his earlier book - several of the characters turn out to be of minor relevance to the plot (such as it is) and one is left wondering why Banks devotes so much time to them. Conversely, one major character only appears very late on in the book, as a kind of deus ex machina to bring some sort of closure. There is also way too much bad sex and awkward political comment. Was his editor on holiday?

I had high hopes for this novel - I have mainly read Banks's non-sci-fi stuff in the past, but I do enjoy that genre - and it starts well. Alas, the story goes nowhere very slowly, and I am left with the impression that Banks has lost the plot - in more ways than one.
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on 20 December 2014
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 contemporary novelists, with an outstanding talent. But this book was like a watered-down, early draft of the Matrix - only less inventive. It was a huge disappointment, and is actually one of the very few books i wish i would not have read - i feel it tarnishes an author i otherwise consider genious.

I'm giving it 2 stars, instead of the minimum 1, as mr Banks actually is a good writer, with a strong enjoyable writing style - its only that the actual story of this specific book is simply not up to par. I'm sorry to have read this book. But if you are not familiar with his work - read almost any other book by him, he is one of the great!
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