👽🚀 pew pew let's have a sci-fi thread pew pew 👽🚀

It’s been too long since I’ve read it for me to comment on your Shapeshifter James Bond thing, but yeah, it kinda continues as it started (and probably gets worse if you’re not at the desert island bit yet). There’s a reason why ‘start at Player of Games’ is such a well worn phrase.

I do think it’s quite interesting that he made the Culture the antagonists in his first book though.

I love Consider Phlebas but it’s flawed, no doubt. It’s very much a first book, I think quite a lot of it is collecting up ideas he’d had in his teens and twenties which does come through. I do think it’s worth persevering with, it becomes much more interesting with regards to identity and loyalty in the second half. If you do stick with it, don’t judge it by the Eaters, one of the worst bits of any of his books.

If you want to try something else I also don’t think Player of Games is actually that great a place to start, I’d go with Look to Windward I think. It’s bang in the middle of the series but I think it explains itself fine.

I second Look To Windward!
I mean, I can’t remember anything about it, or most books that I read, but I seem to have given it five stars on Goodreads!

It sort of does. He has a dry style to his Sci-Fi that isn’t present in his contemporary work which is a shame as it does make a lot of them less immediate.

I read the first 6 Culture novels and Inversions, number 6, was by far the best. However, you need to have really understood the Culture before you read it I think. I enjoyed Player of Games a reasonable amount too, definitely second to Inversions.

Just don’t ever read Against A Dark Background.

Thanks everyone. Think ahm oot, got too much other stuff to read.

I’ve been tearing through a Desolation Called Peace. Really good progression from the first book, which was pretty good itself.

I was really impressed with this one. I thought A Memory Called Empire was only so-so, but the second one is a big step up.

In other news, thread favourite Gideon The Ninth appears to have finally been properly published in the UK. I know this because I saw it in Waterstones…in a stack of books about to be bought by someone else. They only seemed to have that one copy as well.


Good I can start on the sequel when it’s released over here.

Username/post ERROR! Excession is the best one.

Generally quite enjoy Banks but do find the zeal with which most Brit sci-fi fans love him a bit undue. I think the setting of The Culture itself is great and overshadows most of the stories set in it. However, what might have seemed like a hugely progressive update of Star Treks Federation (to take most of the prudery out) 35years ago might not seem that way now.

Reread Consider Phlebas a couple of years ago and enjoyed it more once I realised that each chapter was its own self-contained short story crudely stitched together into a novel in the old fashioned style.

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Of course it’s the best one! But it might not be the best to go into cold is my guess.

He does seem to have built up something of a cult. I find fanatics of any writer, musician, football team or what have you a bit unnerving. He’s my number one favourite author, sci-fi and “normal”, but I try and keep it in perspective and don’t get annoyed if people don’t like him.


Finished the latest Alastair Reynolds, Inhibitor Phase, yesterday. As you might guess from the title, it’s a new novel in the Revelation Space universe. It’s set later than any other novel in the series, at a point where the Inhibitors have done most of their work, and what’s left of humanity is a few scattered and concealed enclaves trying to lie low. It starts off as a standalone, but (very mild spoiler) it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to refresh yourself on the other books before reading. Really enjoyed it, the usual Reynolds preoccupations of identity and transformation are to the fore, plus a big dollop of the expected RS grimness and cosmic awe. Best of all, it opens up a whole new section of the timeline for exploration, hope we get some more.


Can’t wait for this. Did you get an advance copy?

yeah, I got it via NetGalley - I have an account there because my job is (quite tangentially tbh) connected with bookselling, but I’m really not sure how stringent the checks are if you have an e-reader and want to sign up…

I’m about a third of the way through and not enjoying it for a very churlish reason: so far it doesn’t need to be a sci-fi book. Adjust a few MacGuffins and it could be a generic diplomatic thriller. Which I wouldn’t read, because that’s not a genre that’s of interest to me, and yet I’ve been hoodwinked into it by space!

Going to keep reading, but: irked.

Hah hah, I think you could say that about half the Expanse novels really: political thrillers that happen to be set in Space

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I finished Absolution Gap at the weekend so I look forward to this.


I remember the books being a load of people sitting round talking… Looking forward to it though.

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I reread the original trilogy not that long ago, and they have dated terribly. I’d guess the series is going to follow the big picture plotline but do its own thing to get there.

also, I know it just means September 24th this year, but 9.24.21 looks like a proper science fiction date, doesn’t it?


A lot of smoking and burning paper after reading for secrecy :grinning:

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