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Consider Phlebas, by Ian Banks January 6, 2014

Posted by stuffilikenet in Uncategorized.
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Head-slappingly weird, Ian Bank’s first The Culture novel is the sprawling epic that will knock over your furniture and scare your dog. Consider Phlebas is, at least, handsomely descriptive as it chronicles the execution by drowning in sewage, rescue by aliens, marooning in space, capture by pirates, murder of a crewman to win a place in the pirate kingdom, disastrous raid on a temple, romance with a down-covered crewmember, theft of giant laser from a soon-to-be-destroyed orbital habitat and subsequent death-game, and finally the murder and imposture of pirate captain with the intention of capturing a sentient computer from an ice-bound dead world’s last-ditch doomsday machine while fighting nine-foot tall tripod warriors.  Not exactly dull, but often using lyrical prose (the destruction of the giant orbital habitat by anti-matter missiles springs particularly to mind) to break up the action, the whole business is a small skirmish in a multi-billion-lives-lost intragalactic war and pretty much everybody dies by the end.
Truly a great read.  The audiobook version is delightfully executed, and I found myself resenting my weekends, when I didn’t commute and didn’t get to listen to What Happens Next.

I am currently listening to The Player of Games which is next in the series.  I have been programming an Android suite of language-learning apps, so my free time (hah!) is taken up with that, not writing reviews. Sorry.

EDIT:  I left out the part about being a shape-shifting assassin and the part about nearly being eaten by a circus freak worshipped by a starving group of acolytes who eat their own feces and other detritus.

Sorry about that.

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