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Surface Detail (Culture) by Iain M. Banks

Surface Detail (Culture) (edition 2010)

by Iain M. Banks

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1,265466,244 (3.95)1 / 56
Title:Surface Detail (Culture)
Authors:Iain M. Banks
Info:Orbit (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 640 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Science Fiction, The Culture, Sex, Death, Money, nuclear weapons, science fiction, hell, religion, tattoos, read 2012

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Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks

Recently added bySteveCornell, private library, ssimon2000, Ken.Davis, dmaness, jen.s
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Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
Fairly good. Had to skip over the long boring descriptions of people being tortured and spaceship battles - but otherwise quite entertaining. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jun 17, 2014 |
I found this one a tricky read but in the end was fully satisfied. Imagining a society that has taken it upon itself to make Hell "real" was fairly horrifying and at times challenging to read. But, the book isn't entirely taken up with these descriptions an instead a large part of the novel is a revenge story. ( )
  ub1707 | May 5, 2014 |
This Culture novel considers the consequences of digitization of the soul; when the mind can be imprisoned in virtual environments outside the scrutiny of responsible society for purposes of warfare or punishment, what moral questions arise? The availability of virtual afterlives for deceased citizens of civilizations advanced enough to record consciousness to digital substrates inevitably spawns digital ‘Hells’, and moral disagreement over their existence results in a war, which itself, has been waged within a virtual space to reduce collateral damage in The Real. As with Bank's other Culture novels, this one was a solid 4/5 for me: he straddles his action with one foot in the Culture civ, and the other in an external civilization to provide perspective. Paralleling the ongoing digital war, a separate narrative follows the life of a woman born into indentured slavery, and her quest for revenge against her former tormenter provides a corporeal voice to the countless digital victims of the Hells. ( )
  SciFi-Kindle | Apr 19, 2014 |
The writing is clear and easy to follow and there are some intriguing parts of the book, but overall I was disappointed. By the end of the book, I found myself caring very little about what happened to any of the many characters--human or machine--and I felt almost disinterested as to how events turned out in the galactic level conflicts that are part of the book. I've read one other of Iain M. Banks science fiction novels, Excession, which I enjoyed. I've also read two of his novels--The Bridge and Song of Stone. Although it was a hard read, in much the same way that that Saramago's Blindness is a difficult read, Song of Stone was beautifully written and compelling. ( )
  j3745 | Feb 4, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
Those who love the Culture will know the best lines often go to the artificial intelligences. In Surface Detail the stand-out character is a sadistic Abominator class ship called the "Falling Outside the Normal Moral Constraints". The warship's barely concealed glee when, after centuries of waiting, it finally gets to blow some other ships up, is hilarious, and its motives remain intriguingly mysterious. Some other characters, particularly the Special Circumstance agent Yime Nsokyi, remain a little underdrawn. But this is a minor quibble – the novel's real power lies in the absorbing questions it poses about the value of the real, as opposed to the virtual, about who or what is expendable, and whether a society is better held together by threats or by promises.
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Book description
It begins in the realm of the Real, where matter still matters. It begins with a murder. And it will not end until the Culture has gone to war with death itself. Lededje Y'breq is one of the Intagliated, her marked body bearing witness to a family shame, her life belonging to a man whose lust for power is without limit. Prepared to risk everything for her freedom, her release, when it comes, is at a price, and to put things right she will need the help of the Culture. Benevolent, enlightened and almost infinitely resourceful though it may be, the Culture can only do so much for any individual. With the assistance of one of its most powerful - and arguably deranged - warships, Lededje finds herself heading into a combat zone not even sure which side the Culture is really on. A war - brutal, far-reaching - is already raging within the digital realms that store the souls of the dead, and it's about to erupt into reality. It started in the realm of the Real and that is where it will end. It will touch countless lives and affect entire civilizations, but at the centre of it all is a young woman whose need for revenge masks another motive altogether.
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When sex slave Lededje Y'breq is murdered by a politician on the planet Sichult, the artificial intelligence running one of the Culture's immense starships resurrects her so she can seek revenge. Meanwhile, the Culture is uneasily watching the conflict over whether to preserve virtual Hells for the souls of "sinners" or give them the release of death.… (more)

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Orbit Books

Two editions of this book were published by Orbit Books.

Editions: 0316123404, 0316123412

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