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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable journey, but a mediocre destination....
'Against A Dark Background' is the tale of a woman forced to find a mythical reality-warping weapon before she can be executed by a crazed religious cult. Iain (M) Banks 4th science fiction novel is his first not to be set in his 'Culture' series of novels, though there are a few surface similarities with 'Consider Phlebas' as this is another novel featuring a group of...
Published on 11 April 2007 by Jane Aland

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read but why so many formatting errors?
I've always enjoyed this author and this book in particular, fantastic plot, characters and humour so I bought the Kindle version the other day. Someone from the publisher really should proof read it. For some reason random words get hyphenated on almost every page. It's enough to drive you to distraction. I myself have two Kindle books for sale as a self published...
Published on 3 Jun 2012 by Larry Jeram-Croft


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable journey, but a mediocre destination...., 11 April 2007
By 
Jane Aland (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Against A Dark Background (Paperback)
'Against A Dark Background' is the tale of a woman forced to find a mythical reality-warping weapon before she can be executed by a crazed religious cult. Iain (M) Banks 4th science fiction novel is his first not to be set in his 'Culture' series of novels, though there are a few surface similarities with 'Consider Phlebas' as this is another novel featuring a group of trigger-happy mercenaries on the trail of a powerful artefact. Essentially a quest novel, 'Against a Dark Background' is full of striking science fiction imagery (city-sized plant-life; a monastery where the inhabitants are chained to the walls; a backwards God-hating society), compelling characters (particularly the heroine and her poisonous relationship with her half-sister, and a rather lovable robot who joins the adventure looking for new experiences), a twisty plot, and a suprising amount of humour. Unfortunately however it doesn't quite add up to a satisfactory whole, with the climax complete with a rather cheesy melodramatic villain and an over-complex plot, but for fans of well-written action-packed science fiction there is plenty of enjoyment to be had along the way. Slightly less than the sum of it's parts, this is an enjoyable tale but not quite up to Banks best work.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My all time favourite Banks...a true desert island book..., 13 Jun 2000
By 
Mr. Alistair Lloyd (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Against A Dark Background (Paperback)
My copy of this book is well worn; I no longer let it leave the house, despite the fact that I have found few people as fanatical about it. Why does it grab me so? The title says it all -- it is a true, dark piece of science fiction. Heros die. Love goes unrequited. Revenge is spiteful and slow in building. This is dark pathos woven in and around what could have been a very protected and innocent life. It is the tale of corruption, of loss, of bitter-sweet victories set against the near comic backdrop of desire, tragedy and a good-ole treasure hunt.
The fact that this is not a Culture novel is at the core of Banks' creativity. He has kept the scale within a solar system, invented from scratch the history, politics, religion, militia and sociology of a corner of the universe. That, in it's intimate nature, makes the story all the more believable.
Read this book many times. --->> Aim Here <<---
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read but why so many formatting errors?, 3 Jun 2012
By 
Larry Jeram-Croft (South Brent Devon UK) - See all my reviews
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I've always enjoyed this author and this book in particular, fantastic plot, characters and humour so I bought the Kindle version the other day. Someone from the publisher really should proof read it. For some reason random words get hyphenated on almost every page. It's enough to drive you to distraction. I myself have two Kindle books for sale as a self published author and have been criticised once for bad proofing and made every effort to sort it out. How come a mainstream publishing house can be so unprofessional??
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A cracking read but...., 5 Sep 2011
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... the layout of the ebook is absolutely terrible.

Hyphenated words appear mid line for no app-are-nt rea-son, scene changes seem to happen as if by magic without new paragraphs and I swear that one section must be missing a paragraph (or even a page) as the plot inexplicably jumps from one section to a totally unrelated one without any obvious sign.

Please publishers, sort this out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a dark, compulsive and emotional roller-coaster..., 18 April 2001
By A Customer
If you have read any of Iain M Banks sci-fi novels, you know you are in for a powerful, mind-blowing experience... Having read most of them, this stands out as my sure favourite. The characters are exquisitely crafted, and the plot, whilst being along vein of the archetypal quest, has enough twists and turns to shock, elevate and emotionally bowl you over. Save this one for a special occasion - and try not to embarrass yourself too much, as I did on the tube, when you get to the last fifty pages.... Compulsive stuff.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of his best, 9 Feb 2014
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I've read all of Iain's Culture novels, but I missed this non-culture one first time round so I thought I would catch up with it on my Kindle, and I wasn't disappointed. It has all his invention and his usual fast moving plot with believable characters , as usual interspersed with flash-backs. I think the final chapter is one of his best ever.
The only annoyance with otherwise perfect formatting was that the soft hyphens from the book were left in - very sloppy.
Brian Price
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor Kindle conversion, 22 Jun 2013
By 
Fredsie (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
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(Rating for conversion only.)
Yet another sloppy text conversion job; it seems that all words split with hyphens in the original justified text still carry the hyphens even though they now appear in the middle of a line. This is not a hard thing to sort out, I could programme it myself. The publishers should show more embarrassment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best antidote to Star Wars in the world...ever!, 8 Sep 2000
By A Customer
Not one for the Culturniks, but again Banks delivers with a playful take on the fantasy quest genre, dressed in space-opera trimmings instantly recognisable as Banks'.
Yes, we have the huge unlikely settings (beautifully rendered) and strong female characters, but all with a lower-tech feel and a recognisable back-story.
A real romp of a read, yet not without Banks' usual poignancy, this is probably the most fun of his science-fiction yet.
My only beef is that the key point from which the title springs is only dealt with in passing: it permeates the feel of the book, but so little is made of it that you can even miss it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sprawling Epic, 18 May 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Against A Dark Background (Paperback)
Possibly my most favourite book ever. Banks mixes colourful imagery; beautiful, likeable characters; and a fast paced, intricate story-line to make up this sprawling epic. The poignant, sometimes-funny/sometimes-tragic and most definately identifiable relationships between the characters; and the painfully tender flashbacks of the heroine Sharrow are really the central core of this novel and the 'best bits'. This is a must for all of those who let their hearts rule their heads. Wonderful!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A survivor, shaped by violence hunts for the ultimate weapo, 21 Oct 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Against A Dark Background (Paperback)
The best of Iain M Bank's non-culture SF books, this charts the violent journey of Sharrow, an aristocratic war veteran, as with a small group of comrades she attempts to find the last "Lazy Gun," a bizare almost mythical weapon, before the Huhsz, a religious cult can complete their divine mission and kill her. The usual mixture of dark humour, violence and revelations as the past casts its shadow over Sharrow, her family and the civilisation itself.
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Against A Dark Background
Against A Dark Background by Iain M. Banks (Paperback - 5 Jan 1995)
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