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Iain M. Banks – The Player of Games – Azad falls to Culture June 21, 2010

Posted by showmescifi in scifi.
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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).

Plainly put, The Player of Games is one of the best of the bunch, second only to Consider Phlebas.

This is such an extraordinary story, a clash of civilization, yes — but told through the lens of gameplay. The Culture’s greatest game player goes to the Empire of Azad to play Azad – the game that helps to run the Empire.

Beyond the great characters, the interesting Science (male, females and Apices — the Third Sex), Banks never ceases to disappoint with twist and turns and a final suprise that there is no way anyone could see coming.


The whole thing is a game within a game, within a game where everyone is really playing everyone else..but most of all the Culture’s Special Circumstances are running the show from all angles.

No we didn’t even think about the other drone till the end, so yes it was a surprise to us and an enjoyable one.

The many new and interesting ideas, behind gameplay itself and what it symbolizes in the book works on so many levels, but above all — this is a fun, entertaining and easily flowing read. No long drawn out overwritten sequences, just one amazing scene flowing into the next.