The fifth Culture book from the awesome imagination of Iain M. Banks, a modern master of science fiction.
Two and a half millennia ago, the artifact appeared in a remote corner of space, beside a trillion-year-old dying sun from a different universe. It was a perfect black-body sphere, and it did nothing. Then it disappeared.
Now it is back.
Praise for the Culture series:
'Epic in scope, ambitious in its ideas and absorbing in its execution' Independent on Sunday
'Banks has created one of the most enduring and endearing visions of the future' Guardian
'Jam-packed with extraordinary invention' Scotsman
'Compulsive reading' Sunday Telegraph
The Culture series:
The Player of Games
Use of Weapons
The State of the Art
Look to Windward
The Hydrogen Sonata
Other books by Iain M. Banks:
Against a Dark Background
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 "pan-civilization, pan-species grouping" dominates the known cosmos, while the borders of unexplored space are probed by its Contact ships, intelligent, witty and fully sentient beings tagged with names like "The Anticipation of a New Lover's Arrival" and "Serious Callers Only." Of course, every opera needs a crisis, and the sudden appearance of an alien artifact that can seemingly travel between universes sends ships from the Culture and its competitor, the Affront, on a race to investigate the potential invader. Meanwhile, handsome young Genar-Hofoen is dispatched on a separate mission to discover what he can about the anomaly, only to find himself buffeted by decaying Culture-Affront relations. Banks fills the supporting cast with appealing but tart-tongued heroines, cute but droll droids--the conversations between the ships alone reveal that one doesn't have to be flesh-and-blood to be neurotic, bitchy or thin-skinned--and enough sputtering politicians to keep readers smiling. Although the narrative pace occasionally drops below warp speed, he provides enough hard science to provide credibility to his fantastic, far-flung society. In short, this is a riotous space swashbuckler, a lighthearted, light-years' romp.
An excellent read
Good characters. Superior vision. Wonderfully literate.
Finest SciFi on this planet.
Excellent Culture Novel Featuring Ships & Minds
Readers of Iain M. Banks Culture series will be familiar with the AIs call Minds and the often quirky sentient ships and stations that form important parts of this very advanced society. “Excession” is often told from the point of view of these ships, who face two challenges to the peace and security of the trillions of entities that call themselves part of the Culture.
The first of these is a alien race called The Affront. These aggressive beings have many characteristics that offend the morals and sensibilities of the Culture. Some think that that war with them is inevitable.
The second is an inscrutable black-body anomaly called The Excession. This object appeared once a very long time ago in orbit of the cinder of an impossibly old star. It disappeared along with this stellar impossibility, leaving only questions. It has reappeared again near a normal star, and the race is on between three civilizations to try to understand this mysterious object.