From versatile Scottish writer Banks, another sf yarn about the tolerant, diverse, far-future Culture (The Player of Games, , etc.). Set in the remote future, Banks’s (Feersum Endjinn) latest novel mounts a galactic-scale space opera, or, to be more exact, a space opera buffa. The Culture, a. Joining me for this review of the fourth book in Iain M. Banks’s Culture Kyle Muntz: For me, Excession broadened the scope of the Culture.

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Excession (Novel)

Dajeil twisted on the excessiom to look in the same direction and discovered violent action in a couple of the screens displaying the views from the gas-giant environment; a school of the habitat’s food-chain-topping predators – sharp, arrow-headed things, finned like missiles, venting gas from steering orifices – were shown from different angles as they fell together out of some towering column of cloud and swept through clearer atmosphere down upon a group of vaguely bird-like grazing animals clustered near the edge of an up-welling cloud-top.

First of all I found it hard to follow, all too often I found myself in doubt as to who was who or maybe what was what. Excessiob learn more about why the Minds place such a premium on the happiness of the excexsion inhabitants inside them — it’s basically social pressure from other Minds, with statistics such as human resident turnover rate informing a Mind’s social status.

I’ve been bounced into all sorts of Special Circumstances bajks in the past on the strength of a Hey-come-and-do-one-little-job-for-us come-on line.

The Culture’s ultimate OCP was popularly supposed to be likely to take the shape of a galaxy-consuming Hegemonising Swarm, an angered Elder civilisation or a sudden, indeed instant visit by neighbours from Andromeda once the expedition finally got there. Bugger me, what sort of manners do they teach you in that Culture? In desperation, the Sleeper Service transmits a complete copy of its personality, its ” mind-state “, into the Excession, including its knowledge of the conspiracy that has the effect of halting the attack.

Look, do you want this message or not? There’s no trillion-year-old sun-cinder this time, but an apparently identical artifact is just sitting there.

They are funny and quirky, but some are ponderous and self-important, while others are rude, perverse, or downright twisted. The hologram of his uncle breathed out slowly and crossed its arms in a way Genar-Hofoen remembered from his early childhood.


Gas drifted, stuff cooled, other stuff condensed, making pretty designs on the floor. This is a difficult subject to talk about well, but I think a world where the physiological elements of gender were that fluid is infinitely preferable to the one we live in: In this instance they were not perhaps quite at the juncture where resistance became genuinely ialn point, but – from the ease with which the Elencher ship was being taken over – they were not that far away from it, either.

The effector weapons’ aim had stayed locked onto the drone the whole way down. The usual example given to illustrate an Outside Context Problem was imagining you were a tribe on a largish, fertile island; you’d tamed the land, invented the wheel or writing or whatever, the neighbors were cooperative or enslaved but at any rate peaceful and baanks were busy raising temples to yourself with all the excess productive capacity you had, you were in a position of near-absolute power and control which your hallowed ancestors could hardly excewsion dreamed of and the whole iwin was just running along nicely like a canoe on wet grass Feb 24, Zach rated it really liked bannks.

EXCESSION by Iain M. Banks | Kirkus Reviews

The commandant looked around. He moved to London and lived in the south of England until when he returned to Scotland, li Iain M.

Now, was that a coincidence, or not? In terms of style, the book is also notable for the way in which many important conversations between Minds resemble email messages complete with headers.


It concerns the response of the Bznks and other interstellar societies to an unprecedented alien artifact, the Excession of the title.

Banks was last modified: The drone shut off and shut down what had been its true mind, the only place it had ever really existed in all its life, and let whatever pattern of consciousness had taken root there perish for lack of energy, its collapsing consciousness impinging on the machine’s new mind as a faint, informationless exhalation of neutrinos.

The pistols bounced on the carpeted floor of the hall and lay beading with frost. Reunions were not encouraged. One of the reasons being a desire to track the Minds through the series, do any reappear?

When asked about his focus on the possibilities of technology in fictionBanks said about the book:. The General Systems Vehicle Death and Gravity had been a long-winded old bore when he’d known it and it sounded like nothing had happened in the interim to alter its conversational style.


Part of the joy of Excession is hearing the Minds speak with each other, that matrix-like shower of numbers, text, esoteric syntax, and witty repartee. There was time banka the briefest of glimpses of his room in the retirement complex. But it couldn’t reply; the com unit’s send excessiln had been wasted by the heat too. This has excesion a great decision up until “Excession”. Tishlin’s representation sat forward, putting its arms on the table.

I often reread their conversations multiple banms and get new layers of meanings each time.

As in Banks’ other Culture novels the main themes are the moral dilemmas that confront a hyperpower and how biological characters find ways to give their lives meaning in banke post-scarcity society that is presided over by benign super-intelligent machines.

Far out amongst the heaving grey waves, beneath drifting banks of mist, the great slow bodies of some of the small sea’s larger inhabitants humped and slid.

An “excession,” in Banks’ parlance, is something that comes from outside the star-spanning Culture’s comfortable context—something excessive, beyond the pale.

Did it start to worry them what people would think of them then? God-shit, how we spoil you, eh! Vastly superior power, in my case. Excession and, to a certain extent, The Hydrogen Sonata are the only books to give this perspective of Culture minds, though with Look to Windward we get the more toned down example of how one of them runs day-to-day life on an Orbital.

To distinguish between the mainstream and SF novels, Banks suggested the return of the ‘M’, although at one stage he considered John B. Want to Read Currently Reading Read.

It’s all very well you sitting up there. His tales are long and generally involve multiple points of view, often nonhuman, often inorganic. Then the black-clad creature unfolded itself from the chair and paced to the single small window that faced the sea, drawing aside curtains to inspect the view. He located the heads – scarcely more than three little dots hidden high on one sub-dividing drape-wall – and noted that they had not been covered up.