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The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks
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The Hydrogen Sonata (edition 2012)

by Iain M. Banks

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946429,192 (3.91)1 / 57
Member:WaterBooks
Title:The Hydrogen Sonata
Authors:Iain M. Banks
Info:Orbit (2012), Paperback, 528 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks

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English (41)  French (1)  All languages (42)
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
I couldn't wait for this one to come up on my wish list... I checked it out from the library. The first thing I noticed was that Mr. Banks has a new jacket-flap photo. Aaagh! He looks old! That means I'm old too!

I love all of the Culture novels, but some are better than others. This is one of the better ones.

The Gzilt culture have scheduled the time at which they, as a culture, will Sublime - leave the concern of this world behind for a higher plane of existence.

Before this happens, a young woman from Gzilt, Vyr Cossont, has made it her life-work to successfully play one of the most difficult pieces of music ever written - the Hydrogen Sonata. (Too bad that from an aesthetic perspective, it sounds godawful, and pretty much no one wants to listen to it.)

However, on a higher galactic level, events concerning the Gzilt are afoot. An elder race has a secret concerning the Gzilt's primary religion, and revealing that secret might interfere with their Subliming. Or not. Maybe it wouldn't make a difference at all. However, for some reason, someone cares enough about this mystery to blow up and murder a Culture Mind ship - which captures the attention of a bunch of nosy/aloof Minds, who choose to investigate.

The only lead they have is rumors of a man who is said to be the oldest human alive - and by coincidence, Vyr Cossont had a passing friendly acquaintance with him a few years back. She gets recruited to help track him down to try to find out what he knows....

All this, and a ton and a half more, get tied together in a complex, philosophical, grotesque, eerily beautiful, and oh yeah - funny and action-packed narrative.

( )
1 vote AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
A wonderful read. His dialogue writing skills are exceptional.
I just can't believe this is the last book of his I will get to read 'new'. ( )
  Superenigmatix | Jan 16, 2016 |
Бэнкс хороший, но конкретно в данном случае интриг​а довольно слабовата. Из всего цикла про Культуру ​
Тема злобных сварливых ИИ - не раскрыта.​
Тема инопланетных цивилизаций и секретных операций​The Player of Games ) - не раскрыта.
Тема гиганстких мегаломанских конструкций иразмеро​м с планеты, которые красочно взрывают на протяжен​Consider Phlebas ) - не раскрыта.

В общем, ничего за что мы любим Бэнкса тут нет. Мо​жет как раз так и было задумано - показать произво​дственные будни Культуры с их скучной стороны.​

Постскриптум: Бэнкс не был бы Бэнксом, если бы не ​вставил в текст какую-нибудь милую гадость. То у н​его на окраине населенной орбитали племя, которое ​питается мусором и толстый канибалл-проповедник, т​о детальное описание ада с агнем, серой и спермой ​демонов, зараженной паразитами.​
В "Водородной сонате" он ограничился персонажем те​54 пенисами. И еще у него аж четыре сердца, чтобы по​ддерживать в них всех эрекцию. Узнаю руку мастера.​
( )
  bloodrizer | Nov 19, 2015 |
More mad Culture fun, this time involving a sci-fi Rapture and the complications attending when a deep dark secret, only not really, threatens to come out making life very difficult for people and ships alike. A lot of this is about life and death, immortality and afterlife and meaning and the things you do to pass the time between birth and death and why you even bother, making the whole thing almost painfully poignant and significant as it turned out to be the last Culture novel and the next-to-last Banks novel. This is incredibly sad and at the same time it has all the magnificent bravura, panache, energy and utter disregard for scale that you want from a truly popping space opera with big visionary ideas and brain-melting scenery and blistering action and scathing dialogue between god-like machines and yet the same old fears about life and death and the meaning of it all no matter what the scale. You don't want it to stop. Then it stops. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
Love the Culture series, but it's starting to feel like Banks is phoning it in. ( )
  MGPrelec | Sep 3, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Dedication
To the memory of
Paul Gambol
and
Ronnie Martin
With thanks to Adèle, Tim, Les, Joanna and Nick
First words
In the dying days of the Gzilt civilisation, before its long-prepared-for elevation to something better and the celebrations to mark this momentous but joyful occasion, one of its last surviving ships encountered an alien vessel whose sole task was to deliver a very special party-goer to the festivities.
Quotations
She hadn't forgotten all her military training; one point she certainly recalled being taught was that anything that looked like an outrageous coincidence was probably enemy action.
It would be far preferable if things were better, but they're not, so let's make the most of it. Let's see what fresh fuckwittery the dolts can contrive to torment themselves with this time.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
To Sublime or not?
The Sonata is a fugue
With exploding ships!

To Sublime or not?
Politicians scheme and fix
But the ayes have it.

To Sublime or not?
Nosey Minds may interfere:
Methusela knows.

No descriptions found.

Suspected of involvement after the Regimental High Command is destroyed as they prepared to go to a new level of existence called Sublime, Lieutenant Commander Vyr Cossont must find a nine-thousand-year-old man to clear her name.

(summary from another edition)

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