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Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks

Use of Weapons (original 1990; edition 2008)

by Iain M. Banks

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3,972871,287 (4.04)1 / 157
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 (82)  Italian (2)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  All (87)
Showing 1-5 of 82 (next | show all)
A reread of one of my favourites in audiobook form ( )
  orkydd | Feb 2, 2017 |
Had a hard time getting into this book. I found the non-linear storyline annoying for some reason. I did enjoy the twist at the end.

I like the ship names:

Just Testing
What Are the Civilian Applications?
Very Little Gravitas Indeed
Size Isn't Everything ( )
  nx74defiant | Jan 21, 2017 |
This is not my favorite Culture Novel - I think I found the characters interesting, but not necessarily likeable. Add that this is a story about a man and set on planets, rather than in space with ships.

Of course, this is an Iain M. Banks novel, so regradless of if the subject appealed to me or not, it is way above most other novels.

This is a story a about man named Cheradenine Zakalwe. He is plucked by Special Circumstances for his special skill of being ruthless and skills of leading men. The story jumps from Zakalwe's past as a child of the leader on a planet to the present, and what he does with Special Circumstances. Its a story about how a person becomes ruthless - what goes into someone who is so jaded about life, that only the thrill of the game makes it worth living (although Zakalwe is effectively immortal). And what the heck is with his fear of chairs? ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Jan 1, 2017 |
Excellent. Although not my favourite Culture novel it is the source of the "myth" of man having sex with the wood spirit, and the "accelerated aging" seen through one eye. ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
Cheradenine Zakalwe (why the crazy names?) is an agent of the Contact section of the Culture. This book tells the story of an important mission he is recruited for by his long-time handler Diziet Sma (again, the names!) to bring back an important political leader from retirement in order to avoid a war that is brewing in that system.

Interspersed with the mission are chapters of flashbacks to Zakalwe's origin and previous missions as a soldier in his home planet and as a mercenary for the Culture. The flashbacks are not chronological, and are thus a bit confusing, though it eventually becomes clear. Meanwhile, the significance of the word "Staberinde" is gradually revealed- also a confusing concept eventually cleared up.

As with his other Culture books, Banks doesn't tell a conventional history of that civilization, but instead weaves a story that is insignificant in the geopolitics of his world, but which reveals much about the Culture. This story is really about Zakalwe himself and the guilt that a soldier can carry with him.

So far, my favorite Banks book is "Player of Games". This one, and some of his others, can frustrate with confusing timelines and names- they require some close reading- but it's worth it.

Great twist here at the end, which I won't spoil. I did not see it coming, but in retrospect it totally makes sense. ( )
  DanTarlin | Apr 9, 2016 |
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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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“Tell me, what is happiness?” (Prologue)
She made her way through the turbine hall, surrounded by an ever-changing ring of friends, admirers and animals – nebula to her attractive focus – talking to her guests, giving instructions to her staff, making suggestions and offering compliments to the many and various entertainers. (One)
Dust as usual followed them, though the young man said several times he thought it might rain. (Epilogue)
You might call them soft, because they’re very reluctant to kill, and they might agree with you, but they’re soft the way the ocean is soft, and, well; ask any sea captain how harmless and puny the ocean can be.
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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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Orbit Books

2 editions of this book were published by Orbit Books.

Editions: 185723135X, 0316030570

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