Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Consider Phlebas

Consider Phlebas Everyone I know seems to be depressed at the moment, so I'd like to write only cheerful, positive blog posts in August until things get back to normal next month. Sadly, that's not going to happen.

I've been looking forward to reading some Ian M. Banks for a while, and when I mentioned that he got a big buildup from several people I know.
(footnotes: yes, I'm late to the party again; no, I don't read Crime, so I haven't read any Iain Banks)

I started with this, the first novel in the "Culture" series, hoping to be well stocked with reading matter for some time. Sadly, this is not to be. Consider Phlebas is well written, flows along, and describes a well imagined virtual galaxy. That's the good news. The bad news is that it is a turgid space opera which reads like a wannabe screenplay. The extended fight scenes which punctuate the text with boring regularity are Hollywood-producer-pitch overlong and the book entirely lacks humor, apart from stoopid Culture ship names verging on the Terry Pratchett (derivative).

I don't need empty fantasy to fill empty hours. I wanted early Gibson, I got George Lucas. This is not a bad book, I just expected more - disappointed of Leicester.

(Have I cheered you up yet?)


  1. Twitter comment by Ian Mulvany says Use of Weapons is better - agree?

  2. The Algebraist is one of the very few books that I've read a few times because it is so sprawling and "full".

  3. So what people are saying is the Culture so-called series is a mixed bag?