2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Non-Linear Storytelling at it's best,
This review is from: Use Of Weapons (The Culture) (Paperback)
This book is one of the most intelligent Scifi reads I've ever had. Although harsh in it's outlook, and pretty shocking in its depictions of the behaviour of a culture for whom there is no disease, no restrictions on morality and even mortality it's self is avoidable, it does not cheapen such with overly graphic sordid detail. Instead things are largely there to show how alien the whole culture is to what we know, and indeed the to main character, whos background is closer to WW2 tech, than scifi.
The character development is handled in a very unusual way, with seemingly random snatches of the protagonists life coming up chapter by chapter, revealing a little more of his reasons for being as he is. the lack of linearity in the story because of this is a very marmite thing, with many hating it, but many of us loving it.
Then there is the ending... those that call it a cheap trick of a surprise have not been paying enough attention, yes there is the fairly obvious switch there that was a good suprise nonetheless, but the subtle play around with your perception of the sequence of events I thought was a very nice touch (for those of you that missed it, it's to do with the guy's hair... think about it and read the first chapter again! :))
One of Ian Banks Best novels in either his scifi or straigh fiction writing. And yes, he's not to everyones taste, the names are irritating at times being virtually impossible to pronounce, the Tech level of the Culture is at times somewhat over-the-top and godlike, but that does not detract from what is, all in all a very well realised, complex and satisfactory story.
If you don't mind thinking for yourself while you read, and enjoy a slightly more challenging and meaty read than most, there's a very good chance you'll love this book. I still do!