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The Algebraist (2004)

by Iain M. Banks

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,896912,357 (3.8)89
It is 4034 AD. Humanity has made it to the stars. Fassin Taak, a Slow Seer at the Court of the Nasqueron Dwellers, will be fortunate if he makes it to the end of the year. The Nasqueron Dwellers inhabit a gas giant on the outskirts of the galaxy, in a system awaiting its wormhole connection to the rest of civilisation. In the meantime, they are dismissed as decadents living in a state of highly developed barbarism, hoarding data without order, hunting their own young and fighting pointless formal wars. Seconded to a military-religious order he's barely heard of - part of the baroque hierarchy of the Mercatoria, the latest galactic hegemony - Fassin Taak has to travel again amongst the Dwellers. He is in search of a secret hidden for half a billion years. But with each day that passes a war draws closer - a war that threatens to overwhelm everything and everyone he's ever known. As complex, turbulent, flamboyant and spectacular as the gas giant on which it is set, the new science fiction novel from Iain M. Banks is space opera on a truly epic scale.… (more)
  1. 10
    Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks (dkelly304)
    dkelly304: Gas Giant Creatures, Ancient Air-Based Intelligences, that don't bother anyone and have existed for billions of years. Sounds like the the behemothaur Yoleus in Look to Windward. Might also enjoy the Saga of the Seven Suns (the Hydrogues, Gas giant bad-guys). I love the Culture Novels SO much so I may be twisted to recommend more Banks, when reading... Banks. But honestly if you really do like the range and depth of the story telling, and this story, is meta-told by a character from the story... if you like that a bit more it gives Banks greater freedom from Character Perspective when he narrates and allows him to bring a universe much like the Culture's back to life in 1 book, weaving all the nuances of almost a dozen Culture Novels into a new pattern and then deftly anchoring the story line into yet another complicated weave of flashbacks, character flaws and subtle, underplayed pivoting climaxes in the plot that make the reader double guess what was just read, and attempt to re-read back. I say re-read back, and get the e-book version to accompany your Audio Rendition - I have the "Recorded Books Collection" version on audio and I find that the Non-Audible Style is a fresh take (even if it's a retro throw back to the 90's style recording), gives some of the more "british" aspects of Banks's style a more familiar and easily absorbed format for the American Reader/Listener. As always Bank's need for a character (or an aspect of all of them) to be at some level, a nuisance, a spy, a bad lover with emotional baggage, once the opposite sex, several thousand years of age, in league with the enemy, using massively advanced technique technology and doing it with real gravitas when the time comes to deliver the written bomb that is the true climax to the plot in any great Banks novel. don't leave out long lists of possibles and extra things that come at the end of paragraphs - the long iterations of different like things that comically represents some aspect of the far flung society we are being told about. It is done as much to amuse us, as to bring in some of the well-known, the familiar idiocy of our current society out into the beyond in time so that when we hear of it again in story, our minds and hearts can believe it could really be so, just that much more. For those who didn't enjoy this book as much as the culture novels, try it in Audio, or a Written Format other than e-Book - format makes a difference, I could not follow this book when it was in print, Audio Format is the only thing I was able to absorb (then I list it in my top 10 non-series Sci-Fi Novel List_#6 when I write this). -Super Future Enthusiast and Sci-fi nerd novel reader extraordinaire… (more)
  2. 00
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  3. 00
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  4. 00
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» See also 89 mentions

English (85)  Finnish (3)  German (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (91)
Showing 1-5 of 85 (next | show all)
I rounded this UP to 4 stars because the ending is really very good and well written so you finish the book with satisfaction. The first half is very confusing - the time line of events is something you have to work out yourself from hints and bits and pieces scattered around. It's not the first time I read the book so I took a pen and paper and still had to make about 3 attempts before I got it straight. However it is worth keeping at it because once he has set the scene it's inventive and the plot keeps rolling. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jan 23, 2021 |
I am a big fan of Iain M. Banks but this wasn't one of his better books. It's sci-fi and generally similar to the Culture novels, but not one of the culture novels, and it was far too long and meandering for the value of the story. There's a great book in here, but it would require an editor cutting 50-75% to really make it so. ( )
  octal | Jan 1, 2021 |
The Algebraist revolves around a human colony some hundreds or thousands of years into the future. The planet system has lost its connecting wormhole so from being some days from the rest of the galaxy it is now 200 years from the rest of the galaxy.

The system, and the galaxy is full of life forms. In this system we meet the Dwellers, an ancient race with ancient individuals (hundreds of millions or billions of years old they claim) and the book starts with one of the Seers who is able to communicate with the Dwellers.

The book has an interesting environment and slightly believable people, but only slightly. So better to not read it with too critical eyes. After all, who are we to judge humans in a few thousand years. ( )
  bratell | Dec 25, 2020 |
Overall a very satisfactory read, but missing this slight part that would have made it outstanding. Especially when you can never really shelf off those deep mind Culture book thoughts. But overall a fantastic book absolutely worth reading. Recommended ( )
  gullevek | Dec 15, 2020 |
I really did not enjoy this book. In fact, I was unable to finish it, which is unusual for me. The prose struck me as consistently terrible, like something one would expect from a high-school creative writing student. I would not recommend. ( )
  r11449 | Jul 16, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 85 (next | show all)
It is almost impossible to do justice to the breadth and scope, sheer entertainment value of The Algebraist, so . . ..

Read and enjoy!
 

» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Iain M. Banksprimary authorall editionscalculated
Foley, JohnPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moyer, LeeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For the MacLennans: Andy, Fiona, Duncan, Nicol, Catriona and Robin.
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I have a story to tell you.
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It is 4034 AD. Humanity has made it to the stars. Fassin Taak, a Slow Seer at the Court of the Nasqueron Dwellers, will be fortunate if he makes it to the end of the year. The Nasqueron Dwellers inhabit a gas giant on the outskirts of the galaxy, in a system awaiting its wormhole connection to the rest of civilisation. In the meantime, they are dismissed as decadents living in a state of highly developed barbarism, hoarding data without order, hunting their own young and fighting pointless formal wars. Seconded to a military-religious order he's barely heard of - part of the baroque hierarchy of the Mercatoria, the latest galactic hegemony - Fassin Taak has to travel again amongst the Dwellers. He is in search of a secret hidden for half a billion years. But with each day that passes a war draws closer - a war that threatens to overwhelm everything and everyone he's ever known. As complex, turbulent, flamboyant and spectacular as the gas giant on which it is set, the new science fiction novel from Iain M. Banks is space opera on a truly epic scale.

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