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Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks

Use of Weapons (original 1990; edition 2008)

by Iain M. Banks

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,678751,429 (4.03)1 / 146
Title:Use of Weapons
Authors:Iain M. Banks
Info:Orbit (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 512 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks (1990)

  1. 40
    Gridlinked by Neal Asher (goodiegoodie)
  2. 62
    Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds (EatSleepChuck)
  3. 30
    Hard to be a god by Arkady Strugatsky (prezzey)
    prezzey: Banks seems to have been inspired by the Strugatskys' concept of Progressors. Similar theme, different perspective (Western vs Eastern bloc) - if you liked one, you will probably be interested in the other.
  4. 31
    The Skinner by Neal Asher (goodiegoodie)
  5. 20
    Hyperion by Dan Simmons (TarsolyGer)
  6. 00
    A Deepness in the Sky by Vernor Vinge (TarsolyGer)

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English (72)  Italian (2)  French (1)  All languages (75)
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
For a novel in the Culture series, the events in the book don't particularly rely on happening of and within the Culture; most of the story really could have been set in any generic future (or even present) setting. (Turns out that most of it was written before the author had even fully conceived the Culture, and it shows.) The book's construction, a Tarantino-style disjunct chronology, serves it well enough (even though I'm not fond of the technique), but by the time the big reveal came around, I just didn't care all that much for the main characters. ( )
2 vote crop | Sep 3, 2015 |
Intense and complex, an ethical probing of the future in a book put together in a spiral form that made me think of that Leonardo design, invented for a stairway in a castle in France (so aristocrats could move around unseen!) but applied nowadays to modern parking garages: two staircases entwined, one going up and the other down, but invisible to one another. Apparently this was the first Culture book Banks wrote, although it was published later. A brilliant warrior and strategist Cheradenine Zakalwe is hired repeatedly by the Culture to 'interfere' in various planetary conflicts in hopes of nudging along the process of becoming truly civilized, however, nothing is at it seems. I can say no more without spoiling. I doubt this will be my favorite Banks - but it is a rewarding and challenging read, a thoughtful look at the pros and cons of trying to interfere and of the terrible things technology can enable one to (almost) get away with, at least, to all appearances. The soul, however, is unforgiving and relentless. There are some classic Banksian moments - even the greatest warrior-strategist can put on the wrong shoes and slip on the ice. The drone provides comic-relief but for me, given the deeper seriousness of the story, sometimes the relief was a bit jarring. Anyway, Banks, really, can do no wrong, can he? It may be that I was feeling a little lazy as a reader this week, and didn't want to work quite so hard! **** and probably deserves at least a half more! ( )
  sibyx | Mar 13, 2015 |
A very accessible Culture novel and a quick read. Follow Zakalwe on his journey of salvation, the story is both interesting and reads a little less sci-fi than other Culture novels. The is a story about a man who is seeking redemption.

The story jumps over different time periods and gives you just enough hints to figure out the ending, without beating you over the head with it. ( )
  fabooj | Feb 3, 2015 |
Not as good as Consider Phlebas which I had read previously. The story did not really have any momentum until the final 100 pages, and the flashbacks didn't really work for me as they lacked a narrative thread, each being a separate episode from Zakalwe's life. The "revelation" in the final flashback was interesting but was left until the last few pages and so not really developed. ( )
  rlangston | Jan 27, 2015 |
The protagonist of "Use of Weapons" seems reasonably nice, except that he's a violent sociopath. The book's storyline jumps back and forth through time so much that I don't have any sense of growth or change in the protagonist. At times he is pretentious or moralistic, but most of the time he is a killer with little regard for other people. Overall I didn't like him.

I think Iaian Banks writes in a way that makes me uncertain about who character are and what they are really thinking or feeling, even after a full novel following their actions. Diziet Sma has been the second most prominent character in "Use of Weapons", but I feel very little of a connection to her. At best, I'm ambivalent about even Banks' most likable characters.

Also, this book has a twist at the end that I thought was clear (and annoying) half-way through the book. It wasn't clever, and it made me think the author was trying to outsmart his readers. ( )
  wishanem | Jan 27, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Banks, Iain M.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Keynäs, VilleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walotsky, RonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll,PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 185723135X, Paperback)

The man known as Cheradenine Zakalwe was one of Special Circumstances' foremost agents, changing the destiny of planets to suit the Culture through intrigue, dirty tricks or military action. The woman known as Diziet Sma had plucked him from obscurity and pushed him towards his present eminence, but despite all their dealings she did not know him as well as she thought. The drone known as Skaffen-Amtiskaw knew both of these people. It had once saved the woman's life by massacring her attackers in a particularly bloody manner. It believed the man to be a burnt-out case. But not even its machine intelligence could see the horrors in his past.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:07 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Ferociously intelligent, both witty and horrific, this novel from Ian M. Banks, author of 'Consider Phlebas' and 'The player of Games', is science fiction at its best.

(summary from another edition)

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Average: (4.03)
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An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

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Orbit Books

2 editions of this book were published by Orbit Books.

Editions: 185723135X, 0316030570

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