``Opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.''
WARNING, WHOPPING SPOILERS AHEAD. I write these pages as notes, records
and reminders to myself of books I have read. You are welcome to peruse these
reviews, but be warned that they will spoil your reading pleasure if you have
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|Perverse as it may seem, even though this is the book that launched Banks' foray into science fiction, it is (at this time) the last of his books that I read after having read all the others. I can well understand how this book could lead to an ongoing succession of novels; it is one of his very best (eclipsed only by `Excession'; `Look to Windward' comes close as well) and would leave anybody into sci-fi wanting more, much more.
The book is in two distinct halves. The first is rock-hard science fiction, and introduces us to the Culture and the universe in which it thrives. Its got fast-paced action, and lots of attention to detail, and could only take place in Banks' futuristic universe. The second half is pure adventure, and also provides the reader with changes of pace and attention to detail that makes everything seem completely plausible.
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