Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks
Narrator: Peter Kenny
Series: Culture #1
Published by Hachette Audio on May 6, 2011 (first published April 23, 1987)
Source: Purchased
Genres: Science Fiction, Space Opera
Length: 16 hrs 26 mins
Pages: 471
Format: Audiobook
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three-stars

The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender.

Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction.

I don’t really have much to say about Consider Phlebas. It’s fun and the plot keeps moving forward. At the same time, the story is rather small for the length of the book, Yeah, there are sidequests that fill out time and give interesting peeks into the world, but the basic race to find the Mind is a lot of lead up to a bit of a letdown. The characters are morally grey, a bit of good and bad and a lot of violence. But don’t get too attached to any of them. I guess I want a happy ending, even in my space operas, and this didn’t provide one.

I guess the Culture novels each pretty much work as stand alones. I’ll probably read The Player of Games, #2, but I don’t know that Banks will become a favorite author.

About Iain M. Banks

Iain Banks (16 February 1954 – 9 June 2013) was a Scottish author, writing mainstream fiction as Iain Banks and science fiction as Iain M. Banks, adding the initial of his adopted middle name Menzies. After the success of The Wasp Factory (1984), he began to write full time. His first science fiction book, Consider Phlebas, appeared in 1987, marking the start of the Culture series. His books have been adapted for theatre, radio, and television. In 2008, The Times named Banks in their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945.”

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