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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Rise of the Machines
In this book, for the first time in Iain M's work, the people are clearly less important than the machines. But who cares when he writes such brilliant machines? Let's face it, the amount of detailed characterisation Banks puts into the principal players - mainly spaceship Minds and a few drones - hugely exceeds that which most writers of self-consciously "literary"...
Published on 13 May 2003 by Dr Frazer Anderson

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wordy
Wordy isn't the half (sic) of it. I lost track of all the participants and only started to become bothered about any of the characters as the book ended. This is the third Culture novel I've attempted (Consider Phlebas and Use of Weapons being the others) and the only one I've managed to finish. There's an overarching smugness about them that I find distasteful. Then...
Published 20 months ago by Mr. R. Lamont Abrams


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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 22 July 2014
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A good read.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An extreme read that needs concentration., 22 Jun. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Excession (Paperback)
This is the second Iain M Banks book that I have read. As with the first (Use of Weapons) I was completly blown away with the ideas in it. I love the way nothing makes sense at first, but you know that eventually it will do, and everything is just so well written it wouldn't matter if your not following the plot, which I admit I struggled with at times.
This is not a light read, but it is well worth it and I find myself extremely jealous of the charaters who get to live in this amazing universe with these rally cool gadgets and stuff.
Whilst reading it is easy to get swept up into the Culture world and the writing is thouroughly convincing, infact it sometimes seems a universe with the Culture is so much more feasible than a universe without.
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25 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SO WHAT?, 1 May 2006
By 
DAVID BRYSON (Glossop Derbyshire England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Excession (Paperback)
If someone were to write a science fiction novel in which the mutants invaded the earth and then just went away again I suspect most of us would feel slightly disappointed. Elevate the theme to a super-galactic scale and have a mysterious dark star and a similar satellite putting in an appearance sufficient to give proof of terrifying power and then just have them disappear again likewise leaves me feeling uncertain that 450 pages were worth the trouble of wading through.

It needs no saying that Iain (M) Banks is exceptionally gifted both as a novelist and as a writer. He can keep a huge cast of characters and an enormous complex of sub-plots under control, and the quality of the narrative and the dialogue is never less than highly proficient and professional. All the same, I have an uneasy feeling that this great doorstopper of a book is a bit of a pot-boiler. Space-opera is such a familiar genre by now that any author, however talented, has to tread warily to avoid self-parody. Right from the first few pages I sensed the better and the not-so-good sides of this novel. The first theme of the artificial planet and the lonely lady in her tower by the sea seemed very effective if hardly new or original, but Banks also seemed rather stuck for a way to achieve distinctiveness in the writing. An effective style at the start is always a problem for novelists, and their 'solution' is often, as here, a bit of Fine Writing. The trouble with Fine Writing is that it can easily become ridiculous, and I found myself trying to repress my giggles here. The vocabulary is affected and precious, and the larding of hyphenated words made me want to turn it into something like Swinburne, such as

They were steady, the waves, as they broke on the grey-slope,

Hollow grey-slope of shingle that bordered the flood;

And they beat on the shattered up-ground carapaces

And the light-blighted sea-wrack and water-smoothed wood

and similar rubbish.

However I ploughed on eagerly, and I was treated to a familiar repast. Three civilisations, two of them humanoid the other a race of hearty tentacled monsters with a penchant for blood sports, coexist in an uneasy and easily upset peace. Their battle-fleets rush to and fro at speeds outpacing mere light, and the physics underlying such prodigies is explained in the familiar vocabulary of hokum, e.g. 'It de-coupled its engine fields from the energy grid and plunged those vortices of pure energy deep into the fabric of its own Mind'. By the third millennium I must say I expect a bit more effort from a science-fiction author than that. There are of course also love interests and sexual encounters, and these I found to be of quite ineffable tedium. Sentient and intelligent machines, spaceships, satellites, drones and whatnot abound too, and the whole effect on me was of a generous but rather dull and predictable meal - more of the usual, better served up no doubt but rather routine fare for all that.

It may simply be that I have read too much of this kind of thing, and certainly it was only the name of Banks that decided me to read this. Younger readers and those whose appetite for it is still fresh may well find it more interesting than I did. Right to the end I was looking for some real touch of originality or vision, something to make the book distinctive, but all I found was competence. That's at least something, I suppose.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His best sci fi, 9 Aug. 2010
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This review is from: Excession (Paperback)
Some people say Consider Phlebas is the one to read. It is very good. However, Excession is something else. It's provides a wholly believable jump into another dimension. The whole ship talking to ship thing just had me utterly gripped. One of those books that you just gobble up. BIG ideas, superb technology,outstanding story. May not be suitable for Maeve Binchy fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 3 Feb. 2015
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nice :)
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Excession indeed, 18 April 2012
This review is from: Excession (Paperback)
Too many characters. Too many Minds on ships with names that, used sparingly in previous Culture novels, are playfully idiosyncratic, but used too much here, become irritating. Too many subplots that don't tie in to the bigger picture. Too many digressions on contextual elements that, although sometimes interesting, tend to hinder the flow of the narrative. And, underlying it all, a sort of humankind-meets-Supreme-Being-and-is-found-wanting scenario more to be expected from the one-note Gene Roddenberry than the usually fertile mind of Iain M Banks. Excessively disappointing.
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11 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A dip in form, 14 April 2006
By 
S. Harradine "written word fan" (Lancashire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Excession (Paperback)
Being a consumer of the other books by Banks, I looked forward to another "can't put down" experience in a rich and involving universe. Excession, however, is a poor cousin to the other Culture novels - are 1950s style pulp Sci-Fi characterisations, the human male character (Byr) seemed fairly cold and 2-dimensional, one of the human female leads (Ulver) was another poor rendition of a 1950's heroine with foot stamping and tantrums. The only redeeming characters were the Minds/drones/avatars liberally sprinkled throughout.
Great technique in storylining weaving the different strands together, and the usual fantastic storytelling came out at certain points, but in terms of characterisation this reminded me of reading "Lensman" series sci-fi.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, 3 Aug. 2009
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M. M. Dimambro (ENGLAND) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Excession (Paperback)
Great book and a great read... I've loved all his novels, you can't go wrong. Sit back and enjyoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 17 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Excession (Paperback)
xlnt
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Needs a charachter list!, 7 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Excession (Hardcover)
Excellent novel, though could do with a list of players a la a non-space opera!
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Excession
Excession by Iain M. Banks (Hardcover - 13 Jun. 1996)
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