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Fascinating introduction to the Culture
on 21 June 2017
Though perhaps not as well written as other space operas, with an excess of descriptions and slow but confident pacing, it opens up a grand vision of the universe in dramatic times. Perceived from the outside and mostly by its enemies, the Culture appears to be a stagnant and self conscious society suffering from a lack of purpose, with awe inspiring power but no soul or philosophical imperative.
The story is engaging and fulfilling to read, the main characters intriguing though the rest of the cast is flat, two dimensional.
As a stand alone novel it provides only the briefest futuristic satisfaction, but with sufficient alien uniqueness to intrigue the imagination.
Yet it's gravitas and import in the series is apparent from the outset. I look forward to reading more in the series, though I anticipate a change in course and style.