Book Review: Consider Phlebas by Iain M Banks
My rating: 7 of 10 stars
This book took me one year to read. I was not impressed in the beginning or the middle for that matter. The end did improve stands but not so much that I want to read the second book. Let us see what the future holds.
This book deals mainly with a war between two empires if you want. Two points of view of the author. Horza view of the culture: "But the Culture, that seemingly disunited, anarchic, hedonist, decadent mélange of more or less human species..." - Or has he said after - Commnunist Utopia. In the other end (You've got the Ildrans the religious fanatics.
Horza, a changer.
"A Changer was a threat to anybody who ruled by force, either of will or of arms. Their was also a degree of human-basic revulsion reserved for Horza's species. Not only were they much altered from their original genetic stock, they were a threat to identity, a challenge to the individualism even of those they were never likely to impersonate. It had nothing to do with souls or physical or spiritual possession...
"...it was, as the Idirans well understood, the behaviouristic copying of another which revolted. Individuality, the thing most human held more precious than anything else about themselves, was somehow cheapened by the ease with which a changer could ignore it as a limitation and use it as a disguise."
My main problem was the politics. Some british writers are communists. Ken MacLeod, Iain Banks, Charles Stross, China Mieville to name a few. And My problem with them is that they try to teach us, common folk, a lesson on politics and why the left-wing is so great. Ken Macleod do that to an extent that I began reading two books and I stopped. I don't like preaching from left or right. I love to see left or right wing societies done but the author cannot be biases. That put's me of. I am sorry.
So, you've got Horza on a mission by the Idirans to salvage the ship's Culture Mind (AI) from a world that is blocked by the Idirans and the Culture. There he boards Clear Air Turbulance meets some people and uses them to his own end. We've got also spies, Balveda, who works for the Culture, you've got doom planets, the game of "Damage", cults and talking ships. It's very interesting.
One of the main out putters is some of the action leads to nowhere. In the other hand I really enjoyed the characterization and particularly the ending.
Looking back, as I write and remember the book, it was a good ride. If the book had less 100 pages and less left-wing ideals it would be great. Who knows when I shall read the second. For what I read it's better than the first.
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