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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic but difficult book
The world of "Feersum Endjinn" is incredibly weird. Set in the very far future, the Encroachment threatens the Earth with a new Ice Age and the possible extinction of life on the planet itself. Only the remnants of a civilisation are left on Earth ,with most of the rest of its inhabitants having long since departed for the stars. The society that is left is totally...
Published on 18 Jan 2006 by L. Davidson

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A demanding read but not rewarded by the ending
I don’t have a happy relationship with cyberpunk or it is more correct to say that, so far, I’ve rarely been able to find books in this sub-genre of science fiction that were congenial to my own mind. I don’t think that is cyberpunk’s fault, which indeed addresses definitely tasty issues, but I imagine that I came across some wrong books...
Published 2 months ago by Anakina


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic but difficult book, 18 Jan 2006
By 
L. Davidson (Belfast, N.Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Feersum Endjinn (Paperback)
The world of "Feersum Endjinn" is incredibly weird. Set in the very far future, the Encroachment threatens the Earth with a new Ice Age and the possible extinction of life on the planet itself. Only the remnants of a civilisation are left on Earth ,with most of the rest of its inhabitants having long since departed for the stars. The society that is left is totally bizarre; it is organised on feudal lines and most of the people live in a huge castle the size and height of a large mountain range. The inhabitants have developed very strange and alien powers of the mind; they possess implants to provide them with AI and their minds are "shared" in a hierarchical manner , with "The Privileged" being able to access people minds at will.In parallel with the real world, there is a surreal virtual reality world called "The Crypt" which people can access through their mind ; a sort of world data bank that contains all the thoughts and actions of the past , a world into which people can even download their souls for reincarnation after death, often returning as chimerical animals. It is the complex interaction between the real world and The Crypt which makes this book a difficult one to understand and enjoy. Banks makes a lot of demands on the reader as he creates this convincing but radically different future world. A world where Life and the Afterlife , the Spirit and the Material World ,have fused together and created a totally new reality.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... Indistinguishable from magic, 23 Mar 2004
This review is from: Feersum Endjinn (Paperback)
In Arthur C. Clarke's famous saying, any sufficiently advanced technology is...
This book tells a tale of a time when the Earth is populated by descendants of those people who were (or chose to be) left behind when technology reached a point which they could no longer cope with. As a result they live in a world which they barely understand, surrounded by the legacy of people using a science way beyond them. Nonetheless, humans being adaptable creatures, they have created a society which just about functions, using the technology they were left, packed with all the usual human virtues and vices, lacking only the faintest idea of why they are where they are. It is only when they discover that their civilisation - and indeed planet - is threatened by something far beyond their abilities that they have to come to terms with what they have lost. Characteristically, they respond in different ways, most of them counterproductive.
The book is told from four viewpoints: a power struggle within the ruling clan, a loser in that power struggle, a boy caught up in the struggle without realising it and a mysterious external factor called an "asura" who despite her initial air of harmlessness is clearly going to be bad news for someone.
Initially the book is hard to get to grips with as these four strands interweave, particularly as the boy speaks/writes a phonetic English which takes hard work and practice to read at a reasonably normal pace. However, as the story starts to gel, the characters and plotting slowly become irresistible and by the end the reader has a real feeling of satisfaction for sticking with it.
This is not as easy to read as some of the Culture novels but in its own way it is every bit as rewarding as, say, The Player Of Games.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, surreal, imaginative, 3 Aug 2007
This review is from: Feersum Endjinn (Paperback)
Once you get used to reading the occassional chapter written phonetically (initialy hard work - i almost gave up after a few pages!), you can lose yourself in the vivid and surreal worlds of this story. I found this to be one of his best works, full of suspence, intrigue, wit and humour.
Highly recommended for those looking for something challenging and different!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who's this banks guy?, 22 Nov 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Feersum Endjinn (Paperback)
I only bought the book because I'd remembered seeing it advertised a year or more before, and I wanted to settle whether I was seeing adverts for lousy books, or I was missing a great one.
I loved Adams' HitchHiker stories because of their tangential humor and story line. In Feersum Enjinn, Banks manages to twist and turn with a serious plot line. A fantastic book with some hillarious (and some sombre) undertones. But beware - buying is likely to lead to more purchases.
And a word of caution: Some chapters need to be read with an accent...
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book with all the best qualities of a dream, 14 Sep 2001
This review is from: Feersum Endjinn (Paperback)
Where do you start with such a novel as this one... Before the first chapter ends you have witnessed the birth of an adult (think about it), the assasination of someone who has died seven times already, the beginnings of High Treason against the King, and the abduction of a talking ant called Ergates. It can only be a Banks SF novel. As usual, a happy willingness to suspend disbelief and accept the unexpected rewards the reader with a roller-coaster ride through a microcosmic world, distantly recognisable as being our own many many millenia in the future. Banks throws his own slant on cyberspace and cyborgs as well as demonstrating his dark (and sadly only too true)understanding of human intriguing and politics. As mentioned already in several reviews, the one hurdle placed in ourr way is the phonetic spelling of Bascule's speech. It is tempting to miss out these sections on the first reading as one is too impatient to see what is happening in the other storylines (and anyway - talkin ants are just plain silly, aren't they?) but this destroys the carefully woven grand vision - stick with them and as the man said - "read 'em out loud". Of all IMB's SF novels, this one rewards re-reading again and again, for the plot(s) take you through the first reading far too fast to admire the view. I'm on my sixth re-read - that makes it one of the best value entertainments around!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars short but twisted, 25 April 2007
This review is from: Feersum Endjinn (Paperback)
I like Iain Bank's sci-fi, especially the twisted and unexpected, where you really have no clue where things are heading - such as this one! Even though to me it does still have the flavour of fairly classic sci-fi about it. It is one of his shorter novels, but still takes a long time to read - the phonetic bits slow you down. Actually I liked that, a gimmick maybe, but it also made it more immersive because it was hard work. It made the switching viewpoints (a standard story telling device) more intense.

For me, this was a "better than average" Banks novel. so, I thoroughly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great value for money, 7 July 2008
This review is from: Feersum Endjinn (Paperback)
I've read all of Banks other books and this one remains my favourite by a long long way.

Half the fun of this book is working out what's going on and where exactly it's going on which took me a good few chapters at which point I was just hooked by the plot and the wonderful character Bascule and his phonetic spelling which is both highly entertaining and also offers an interesting perspective into the world he guides you through.

If you're the type of reader who prefers to have everything spelt out for you clearly whilst you just sit back for the ride then this is probably not a book you'd enjoy but for everyone else you will find you become quickly absorbed in the plot and eager to see what happens next.

The ending of this book is a highly amusing massive understatement and quite possibly the best ending to any book I've read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not easy, but worth it, 23 Nov 2006
By 
B. Coppin "ben31415" (Cambridgeshire, UK.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Feersum Endjinn (Paperback)
This is certainly not Banks's most accessible book, in spite of being a relatively short one. The writing style (particularly the use of an invented - and apparently pointless - phonetic language) makes it harder going than most of his others, and the story itself is fairly hard to follow.

It's also not a book for people who like neat endings with all the loose ends tied up. It'll certainly leave you wondering what has happened.

Having said all that, if you enjoy Banks's books, or you like science fiction in general, then this is worth reading. It's certainly well-written, as his books always are, and he's come up with an inventive scenario that is devious and twisty enough to keep you guessing right up to the end.

Overall: a good book, but not a straightforward or easy one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and damned funny, 29 Mar 2006
This review is from: Feersum Endjinn (Paperback)
Ye gods this man can write. One of my favourite reads and I don't even like science fiction. It's a rare book that can make you chortle one moment and make you shake your head in wonder the next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stick With It, 14 July 2007
By 
Roger Cawkwell (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Feersum Endjinn (Paperback)
Like some other reviewers, I found this book hard going at first, especially the phonetically spelled sections recounted by a (presumably) intellectually challenged character - it even annoyed me at times. But I did eventually get used to it & have re-read the book a few times with no obvious harmful effects. I was pleased to read a story NOT about the Culture (though I enjoy those too) as Banks creates a fantastic but still believable alternative universe.

It's a permanent fixture on my bookshelf & I'm sure I'll get around to reading it again in the not too distant future (when I've finished all of Peter Hamilton & Neal Asher's books...)
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Feersum Endjinn
Feersum Endjinn by Iain M. Banks
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