Matter (Culture, #8)

By Iain M. Banks

Rating: 4 stars

This latest Culture novel took a while to draw me in, but it did so eventually, and pretty completely. I always enjoy Culture novels and while this one didn’t have as much of the actual Culture as I would have liked, there was enough to keep me satisfied (certainly more than Inversions).

On a world that is strange even by the standards of the Culture and its contemporaries, a prince sees something he shouldn’t, and has to flee for his live out into the galaxy to find the one or two people who can help him, one of whom is his sister, who has since become much more than she was when she left their homeworld.

Everyone knows that utopias aren’t interesting in themselves, it’s on the fringes that the stories are to be told, and Banks does it masterfully, both telling the story and showing off the cool technology that is the hallmark of good space opera. Banks’ characters are pretty well-drawn and mostly sympathetic, although it takes a while to warm to them.

A slow burner with a rather abrupt but pretty satisfying ending (although one of the strands did seem to peter out a bit as if it had served its purpose and could just be discarded). Oh and this is the first book that I’ve seen to come with DVD-style “extras”, including an interview with the author and an excerpt from Consider Phlebas.

Book details

ISBN: 9781841494180
Publisher: Orbit
Year of publication: 2008

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