1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Not the best, but a damn good read,
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This review is from: The Hydrogen Sonata (A Culture Novel) (Hardcover)
Firstly - click on the one star reviews and revel in the small Minds that have reviewed a pricing strategy rather than the novel itself :-\ There are forums for that people!
He is my favourite author, and you can't beat a bit of Culture...so I am a bit biased towards reviewing this favourably. However, as with many books in this universe, it's not always the overall narrative that should be considered when evaluating one of his stories. For me, a lot of the enjoyment comes from the ride: the insight into the Minds, the intricate relationships between species, the contrasting links between seemingly insignificant characters/actions and the unfolding relationships to system-wide events (themselves often insignificant in the grander, implied scale). His endings do often some in for some criticism, but when finishing one you need to step back and look at it as a whole.
The technology and ideas created are stimulating, that I find myself considering the Culture outside of the provided arcs. The concepts are so damn good and, well, fun! Within this novel the various Mind attitudes, personalities and characters are intriguing, even if they are only briefly involved.
With undertones of the more-acceptable views that religion is a form of control and not all it's cracked up to be (there are the usual good discussion points that have often been touched upon within Sci-Fi), the link with the impending Sublimation of an entire race (and its clear religious-like implications of ascension), the varying degrees of 'soul' transfer and multiplication as well as issues concerning longevity, storage and indeed suicide - there are a lot of philosophical points concerning the sense of being and what constitutes life. To me, a novel that gives my brain a good, extended work out on such things is a sign of a mighty fine read.
It's quality writing from a quality imagination - I feel happy by having the chance to share in it.