jump to navigation

Iain M Banks : Look to Windward : Review : Culture Special Circumstances are everywhere November 9, 2009

Posted by showmescifi in scifi.
Tags: , , , , ,

looktowindward Look to Windward is another of Iain M. Banks Culture novels…for us it’s the third one we’ve read behind Consider Phelbas and Use of Weapons, both which were superior books to this one.

Yes the basic premise of this book was interesting – the light from one of the last great battles of the Idiran war from Consider Phelbas is just reaching the Masaq Orbital some 800 years after the fact – that’s kinda neat

the core story though is about the Chel (another alien race), the composer that lives among the culture and the Chel agent come to get him and destroy the orbital.

The story is waaaay to drawn out and at multiple points I was ready to give up. But we know that Banks finishes strongly so we struggled on.

And a struggle it is. Whole chapters make no sense and add little to the plot development.

But the end is a surprise, much like Use of Weapons, it’s an ending that we didn’t see coming at all and changes the way the whole book feels.

I didn’t expect Huyler to be Special Circumstances that was a shocker and the sub-plot with the Culture citizen on the Yolaeus not making it back to warn the Mind was also interesting in its connection.

So no, we didn’t enjoy most of this book while reading it first time through, but with another brilliant conclusion, Banks redeems this book.

Yeaaah we’ll keep reading Banks, the Culture is interesting enough that we want more, but Banks just doesn’t have a consistent quality of writing so hopefully the next book we get will more of a hit than a miss.


1. Snafu - November 13, 2009

Curiously, this is one of his books I re-read most often, because it has lots of ridiculously funny moments, the cast is sort of The Wizard of Oz’s, and an Orbital is an infinitely fun place to explore. Banks ought to do a Culture book for children 🙂

And the tone is just right: cheerful and somber at once. I’d say Look to Windward completes the different angles we could examine The Culture from.

To me, Matter was far less successful and the most self-indulgent of them all.

(Is that the book’s cover, really? It’s terrible)

2. Iain M. Banks – The Player of Games – Azad falls to Culture « Show Me SciFi - June 21, 2010

[…] Iain M. Banks – The Player of Games – Azad falls to Culture June 21, 2010 Posted by showmescifi in scifi. Tags: Azad, Culture, Iain M. Banks, Morat, Player of Games, science fiction, scifi trackback We’re relatively new fans of Iain M. Banks and his awesome Culture series (previously we’ve reviewed Consider Phlebas, , Use of Weapons,and Look to Windward). […]

3. IAIN M. BANKS – MATTER – The Shellworld Review — yeah it’s long but it’s another awesome Culture novel « Show Me SciFi - October 7, 2010

[…] the ending of Use of Weapons still remains the greatest twist, the Special Circumstances sub-plot in Look to Windward is still better as is SC’s devious game playing in The Player of […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: