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Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks
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Consider Phlebas (original 1987; edition 1987)

by Iain M. Banks

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,845131955 (3.76)1 / 277
Member:SubEuclid
Title:Consider Phlebas
Authors:Iain M. Banks
Info:London : Orbit, 2005, c1987.
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:science fiction, The Culture

Work details

Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks (1987)

Recently added byJohnAbbott, meta87, calumoth, private library, tfcred, Richard.Fox, BomboChipolata, mccormac, BayardUS
  1. 60
    Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds (voodoochilli)
    voodoochilli: As good as the Revelation space series, so if you want more check out Banks Culture novels.
  2. 40
    The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester (EatSleepChuck)
  3. 30
    Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds (nik.o)
  4. 20
    The Waste Land and Other Poems by T. S. Eliot (sturlington)
    sturlington: To understand the title allusion.
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English (126)  Italian (2)  Romanian (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (131)
Showing 1-5 of 126 (next | show all)
I made it through the book. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't really my cuppa. And I wanted so much to love it, too. ( )
  ladypembroke | Nov 22, 2014 |
Great introduction to the Culture universe - an interesting vision of where humanity may evolve if all our daily "needs" are satisfied and the quest for capital and financial rewards disappears. What if we had everything we wanted - but still had the human need to attain "something".... and then came across another society who completely disagreed.

Also an interesting side story about the evolution of sentient machine life. If machine intelligence continues to progress, and eventually surpasses their creators, does society then need to recognize them as sentient - and allow the same rights and privileges? The machines we create no longer are required to do the tasks they were created for - and the impact on society becomes very complex.

Banks creates a compelling storyline with characters you can relate to... even if 3 legged adversaries bent on humanities destruction or machine based. All in all a very satisfying read. ( )
1 vote DaveCapp | Oct 22, 2014 |
More linear that I was expecting, but (at least the first two-thirds) very immersive nonetheless. The final third on Schar's World was very slow in comparison with the rest of the book and could have done with some cutting. ( )
  rlangston | Jun 25, 2014 |
Had never read any Iain M. Banks before, so decided to try the first book of his Culture stories
after reading a site about recommended sci-fi series.

Set against the backdrop of a galaxy ranging war between the Culture and the Idirans, the main protagonists
and their objectives are quickly established but just as quickly forgotten, as the book takes the
main character on a seemingly never ending detour.

I kept reading chapter after chapter in the middle section wondering when it was going to get back on track.

And this is my problem. The whole middle section, to me, serves no purpose. With more judicial editing, the
book could have flowed better and delivered a more satisfying experience.

As an introduction to the Culture, it served its purpose and I may look at some of the other books in the
series, but Consider Phlebas was, for me, entertaining but forgettable. ( )
  LustyRebel | Jun 1, 2014 |
The first of Banks' "Culture" novels, a galaxy-spanning a post-scarcity semi-anarchist utopia shepherded by benevolent "Minds", A.I.s so much smarter than human-level beings they are somewhat godlike - although mostly they use their intellect for sarcasm and meddling with less advanced societies. In this book, the focus is on a war between the leisurely, seemingly decadent Culture and a self-described more vibrant opposing empire which has maintained the primacy of biological beings. Told from the perspective of a band of privateers who haplessly bounce between the two sides, who are really being manipulated by opposing spies intent on finding a galactic Maguffin - a stranded Culture Mind. This simple plot is set in an incredible universe (which is more fully rendered with each subsequent book) that explores complex ideas on society, economics, and morality.
Banks died in 2013; every book in this series can stand shoulder to shoulder with almost anything else in science fiction.
  Clevermonkey | May 29, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 126 (next | show all)
The choice of name was definitely not an attempt to gain literary credentials or he would have ditched the ‘camp aliens and laser blasters.’ He has acknowledged the similarities to the poem in that the main character in Consider Phlebas is drowning and later undergoes a ’sea-change’ – this being a motif running through The Waste Land – but that is far as it goes.
But there are a number of parallels between the two works, whether deliberate or not on Iain’s part. To prove my point I will take a brief look at Consider Phlebas and then at The Waste Land, followed by examples of how the latter informs the former.
added by elenchus | editJohn Black blog, John Black (Oct 4, 2012)
 

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Banks, Iain M.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hopkinson, RichardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keynäs, VilleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salwowski, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll,PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"Idolatry is worse than carnage."

The Koran, 2:190
"Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you."

T. S. Eliot,
'The Waste Land', IV
Dedication
to the memory of Bill Hunt
First words
The ship didn't even have a name.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Blurbers
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 031600538X, Paperback)

"Dazzlingly original." -- Daily Mail
"Gripping, touching and funny." -- TLS

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:49 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

War ranged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. The Idirans fought for their faith, The Culture for its moral right to exist. There could be no surrender.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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