Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Consider Phlebas (Culture) by Iain M. Banks

Consider Phlebas (Culture) (original 1987; edition 2008)

by Iain M. Banks

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,749129987 (3.77)1 / 275
Title:Consider Phlebas (Culture)
Authors:Iain M. Banks
Info:Orbit (2008), Paperback, 544 pages
Collections:Read in 2012
Tags:Science Fiction

Work details

Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks (1987)

Recently added byprivate library, njgriffin, Zeff, jasbro, strongasanoak, tlockney, kwbridge
  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.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (124)  Italian (2)  Romanian (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (129)
Showing 1-5 of 124 (next | show all)
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 |
My first Iain M Banks novel and the one that hooked me. This is the only book not told from the perspective of the "Culture" and as such some people don't recommend it as the first one to try. I didn't have that advice and so didn't do so and I feel fine with that. It's an excellent novel and chronologocally occurs fairly early on with respect to the other Culture novels, giving some background to the war with the Idirans which is referenced often in later novels. ( )
  ub1707 | May 5, 2014 |
I saw this on the shelves of my local Oxfam shop and thinking how wonderful I had found so many of Banks's 'conventional' (i.e. not science fiction) books, and also remembering my own fondness for classic sci-fi as a youth, I snatched this up with great glee.

Sadly the glee evaporated very quickly. This was not the book for me. I found it totally impenetrable, and I am utterly bemused that the author of a novel simultaneously as enchanting, amusing, sensitive and mysterious as 'The Crow Road' could also have written this.

I have decided to re-read an old favourite by P G Wodehouse next to cleanse my palette. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Apr 7, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 124 (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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
"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
to the memory of Bill Hunt
First words
The ship didn't even have a name.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
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

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
18 avail.
257 wanted
4 pay3 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.77)
0.5 4
1 20
1.5 4
2 78
2.5 23
3 276
3.5 114
4 491
4.5 63
5 269


Two editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Orbit Books

An edition of this book was published by Orbit Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 92,709,443 books! | Top bar: Always visible