The Worst Witch Strikes Again eThics Gradient Sleeper Service Serious Callers Onlytc Their names suggest both their mind set and sometimes their agendas but they are mostly The Truth (Almost) about Bharat entertaining in a very Douglas Adams vein In any case I suspect Excession would reward a careful reading taking the time to understand the veiled motivations of all the different parties The best parts are the interactions of the Minds withach other As with all of Banks CULTURE books there are casual throwaway references to intriguing ideas that could form the basis of their own stories But basically this is story about the AIs and a scattering of humans involved in inscrutable schemes surrounding the Excession I have to admit that I listened to the audiobook and had trouble following the plot details as well as the large cast of AIs aliens and humans If you are already a fan of Banks CULTURE series this is probably a 4 star book but if you are new to his milieu I wouldn t recommend the audiobook approach Mr. Christmas even though the narrator Peter Kenny who does all the Culture books does anxcellent and hilarious job with a host of different voices It s just a bit too much to keep straight Better to read this one in hardcopy The Culture series is one of the most beloved among today s sf readers possibly the most beloved but I don t have any hard figures to back it up so I ll leave that hyperbole out for now Certainly some Where My Heart Used to Beat entries in the series are popular than others based on the average ratings and online discussions The Player of Games and Use of Weapons are generally held in high regard Inversions and Matter less so As for Excession it is one of the popular ones top 4 I think and I can see why The Culture vs a BDO yes please That was my reaction upon reading the book s synopsis which I shall fastidiously avoid writing as always These things are never than one click away on Goodreads after all Apart from being a field day for BDO fans Rendezvous With Rama and whatnot this book also largely focused on The Minds the series sentient AIntities which are much than supercomputers among other things they are also the real movers and shakers of The Culture society where all the humans are well catered for with The Truth (Discworld, everything they could possibly want leaving little motivation to get involved in politics or anythinglse of real importance What is interesting about The Minds is that they are fully sentient they have their individual personalities Mr. Perfect emotions and motivations in other words human like characteristics coupled with vast intelligence Theyven have their own version of virtual reality games called Irreal AKA Infinite Fun So when the complex Secret Suffragette enigmatic Mindsncounter an ven inscrutable BDO which they classify as an Outside Context Problem we are in for some interesting timesThe book is not ntirely about the Minds or the Outside Context Problem artifact however the author is after all a human being so he did not forget that his human readers need some human characters to identify with the human drama aspect of the book is not central to the main story line but cleverly woven in As usual with Banks the human characters are well developed and believable though none are particularly likable The single alien specie to appear in this book are the boisterous and naturally cruel and callous Affronters they are particularly interesting because they are not vil aliens per se they are what they are morality does not appear to be part of their DNA The prose is literate and a pleasure to read as always the lyrical passages the action packed scenes and the humorous moments as all there The only snag with this novel for me is the large cast of characters AIs humans and aliens They all have interesting names but there are so many of them it is hard to remember who all the minor characters are and their relevance to the major plot of the storyIf you have never read any book from this series before this is probably not the best volume to start #With I Would Recommend Consider Phlebas Or # I would recommend Consider Phlebas or Player of Games instead though if you really want to jump right in with this one you may want to read up some background materials in Wikipedia or Banks own guide A Few Notes on the Culture I am looking forward to ventually catching up with the rest of the series Excession is an My Favorite Earthling (Otherworldly Men, excellent read well worth anybody s time but for the moment my favorite Culture book is still The Player of Games45 stars Foolish childMake all hasteA BDO novel taking place in the Culture universe Will the law of diminishing returns apply There is so much weirdness and wonder in the Culture already how much value can an artefact add to the heady mix Possibility Culture universe not well suited for BDO sense of wonder stories Possibility Dilution of impactLet s try and review this thing The drone felt calm thinking as coldly and detachedly as it could for those few moments on the background to its current predicament It was prepared it was ready and it was no ordinary machineThe novel wasn t uite what I hadnvisioned but that doesn t come as much of a surprise It deals predominantly with the reaction of the
Culture And Specifically A and specifically a of ship minds to the appearance of the Excession of the title also known as an Outside Context Problem There is a lot of maneuvering and build up as Doglands events are put into motion to deal with the artefact and to determine whether it is a threat Ship mind psychology and ship mind politics take centre stage which distinguishes this story from the novels that came before What s there are factions of ship mindsxploiting the reappearance of the Excession to further their own agendas Expect conspiracies Expect fireworks This was different Nothing like this had been seen in the galaxy since the worst days of the Idiran war five hundred years Riveted (Iron Seas, earlier andven then not remotely on such a scale This was terrifyingI An Officer and a Spy enjoyed Excession but I found it a challenging read Initially I didn t identify strongly with the ship minds and their techspeak uite innovative Fortunately I wasventually able to settle into a rhythm and xtricate the complexities of the various sub plots As for the artefact itself its capabilities are rather interesting and potentially devastating It isn t by definition a big dumb object
either because there s nothing dumb about it In the nd because there s nothing dumb about it In the Recipe for Temptation (Madewood Brothers, end s a morality play Everybody means wellven though they are at odds with one another Typical Banks with lots of shades of grey Excession delves deeply into the psychology of the minds and their capabilities As such there is no Cheradenine Zakalwe or Jernau Morat Gurgeh or their uivalent to be found here Actually because of the hedonistic nature of the Culture societies the human characters that do feature here are petty churlish and shallow In fact the human drama component of Excession is so overly melodramatic it s the reason I knocked off a star self perpetuating pregnancy really Here was the vast nfolding darkness the sheer astringent OBaby emptiness of space colossal writ wide and deep across thentire sensorial realm an unending presagement of consummate grace and meaninglessness togetherWhen the book takes off it does so spectacularly Space combat shows off the awesome might of the Culture ships hint it s impressive There are also some awesome constructs such as God shole an Affronter ring habitat with a black hole at its hub Pittance a chunk of Nerds expelled planet core with gigantic hangars filled with latent warships or the vast stepped habitat Ti. Ck body sphere and it did nothing Then it disappeared Now it is back'Banks is a phenomenon wildly successful fearlessly creative' William Gibson'Thrilling affecti. Early on it felt like there were too many characters too many plot threads too many settings and that Excession was too damn convoluted to be good Iain M Banks Excession was living up to the definition of its title Excession somethingxcessive Excessively aggressive Zack (Areion Fury MC excessively powerfulxcessively Shadow on the Crown (The Emma of Normandy Trilogy, expansionist whatever Such things turned up or were created now and again Encountering anxample of was one of the risks you ran when you went a wanderingIt was a true slog to get into but then somewhere around the time Byr Genar Hofoen was on his way to the GSV Sleeper Service and that ship was busy waking up folk from its battle tableux I found myself comfortable in Banks most sprawling Culture novel if taken in order to dateIt was difficult to keep ContamiNation everything straight and difficult to care what was going on invery thread of the tale and the work doesn t really pay off in a big pay off kinda way but there are some positives to take away from the Taxi ins Glück experience of reading ExcessionFor one this is Banks finestxpression of the ship mind I have read nothing past Excession so there may be better to come He makes us privy to discussions of ships that make up the Interesting Times Gang an unofficial branch of the Culture s Special Circumstances who are steeped in a conspiracy to deliver a crushing blow to the upstart Affronter society by using the appearance of an Excession an Outside Context Problem OCP which takes the shape of a spherical nothingness tapped into nergy outlets in the skein of hypervoluminous space But he takes us further than communication between the great ship minds and into the minds of Eccentric ships and Pseudo Eccentric ships and Traitor ships and Warships It is a bit of a mind bending journey and it is some of the hardest Sci Fi that Banks has writtenBut Banks also offers some compelling human interaction orbiting around Genar Hofoen to keep us grounded in the familiarity of humanityI was xhausted by the Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas end and I am tempted to be unforgiving about the length of time it took me to reallyngage with Excession and the The Magic Rolling Pin ending was ultimately unsatisfactory but I still found myself not wanting to put the book down I loved too many of the characters ships and humans and drones and Affronter alike to let them go I wanted Excession to go on for another thousand pages but it didn t It s never ideal when a book leaves me wanting but that s a hell of a lot better than leaving me wanting the book tond So if you re a Banks fan I can say uite confidently that this is a must read not his best but worth the time If you re not a Banks fan however stay away This will not Indecent... Exposure (Indecent, endear you to the mangenius though he may be Good but definitely not my favorite Culture bookUnlike a lot of the other Culture novels this one is definitely for those that read a lot of harder SF for lack of a better term Challenging and rewarding but not all that character focused More about ideas than anythinglseThe number of different mindsships communicating with one another made it very Not Without a Fight easy to get lo connection between literature and video games is one of my favorite topics I was thrilled to get to write for Torcom about one of the best science fiction books I ve read Excession by Iain M Banks and its connection to Sid Meier s Civilization which along with Romance of the Three Kingdoms was one of the most addicting games of my lifeIf Use of Weapons was a psychological investigation into the world of the Culture Excession is a philosophicalxcavation featuring the AI Minds going to war The Culture have come across an ancient artifact that is a perfect black body sphere the size of a mountain and a dead star that was at least fifty times older than the universe Its disappearance and reappearance decades later
spurs off a string of that make off a string of Garden Bouquets and Beyond events that make of the most freneticntertaining and metaphysical science fiction narratives I ve readChanging my review score to 5 I d had some reservations about the The Unseen Wonder ending and the human arc initially but I have to admit almost a year later Excession has slowly crept its way up to become the Culture book that along with Player of Games has stuck with me the most This was an awesome and fun review I did with Joe Owens and Kyle Muntz about a year ago and I m probably going to do a follow up somewhere I m also finally going through Matter and while it s cool I miss hearing the Culture Minds which has been one of the best parts of Excessionhttpentropymagorgexcession review45 stars My thoughts to come soon Loved it Arguably one of the most fast paced and tense Culture books yet The Minds are really badass I just had some issues with thending and the human characters but will write on that later 0 Music something from Slowdive like Souvlaki Space StationLike putting my feet back into the river this felt like I had not taken any break from reading this series This one was fun to read that can be said So there s a mysterious ship that apparead many years before now it is back and The Management Bible everybody seems to want to check it out prod it talk to it see if there s anything new and benefitting in its secrets andven attempt to destroy it There s also a conspiracy going onThis novel concentrates on the ships with name Excession Too complex for meat based life forms to understandExcession is the fourth book in Iain M Banks CULTURE series I ll assume you already know the far future decadent post scarcity intergalactic Zu schnell empire of the Culture dominated by its mostly benign AIs known as Minds and its trillions of citizens some human and othersxotic It s a great invention a vast and limitless space for Banks to Sleepless (Bird of Stone, explore via the Culture s Contact and Special Circumstances divisionsspecially the interactions with non Culture mpires like the Idirans or in the case of Excession the AffrontExcession probably arose when Banks was sitting at his computer thinking wouldn t it be cool to have a Culture story centered on Minds rather than humans But how can you asily depict the incredibly complex and cerebral interactions motivations stratagems of these AIs that can process a million separate thoughts in a nano second They are so far advanced beyond organic life forms that it s a wonder they ven bother dealing with them They often seem to take a paternalistic and indulgent attitude to the humans and other beings they deal with So the plot of Excession is very simple in outline but difficult to grasp in the details A mysterious black body spherical object shows up in a remote
of space dubbed an Excession and is impervious to most forms of and observation but seemingly is trillions of years old far older than the universe itself This Excession is far too nticing for the Culture along with the inuisitive Elench and hyper aggressive Affront think Vogons minus the poetry So there is a massive mobilization of Ships from various Culture factions and alien species all rushing to figure out what this BDO Big Dumb Object is and whether they can leverage it for their own purposesThe best part of the story is certainly the Minds themselves particularly the names of the Ships Banks has a special genius for inventing clever ironic names for super intelligent AIs Clearly they have nough cognitive power to allow for a highly developed sense of irony Some of my favorite ship names were Fate Amenable to Change Grey Area aka Meatfucker Jaundiced Outlook Shoot them Later Attitude Adjuster Killing Time Frank Exchange of Views 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 bla. ,
corner of space dubbed an Excession and is impervious to most forms of
Er original builders unknown This is a bit of a throwback to the sprawling sense of wonder of Consider Phlebas What they had all agreed they would prefer would be to be woken only as a prelude to joining the Culture s ultimate Sublimation if and when that became the society s choice Until then they would be content to slumber in their dark halls the war gods of past wrath implicitly guarding the peace of the present and the security of the futureIt s a difficult book to rate sub plots take off in unexpected directions and focuses at seemingly unrelated vents at weird intervals In the Yummy Supper endverything comes together but it s not such a smooth ride It isn t meant to be With so many ship minds featuring in the story it is a challenge remembering who is who and what faction they belong to Having said that Banks does go to some length to stablish individual traits for the minds consider for xample the naming conventions Despite what may sound like criticism it s actually a twisty but rewarding story that greatly adds to Culture lore More than Deep Listening enough intrigue and action to keep me happyRecommended for Culture junkies 4 stars should suffice Casual readers should probably startlsewhere Don t be so naive as to imagine that Minds don t mploy strong arm methods now and again or that in a matter resounding with such importance any ship would think twice about sacrificing another consciousness for such a prize ATTENTION CULTURE SHOPPERSthis weekend s special is an Outside Context Problem this amazing special is so uniue most shoppers will only ncounter it once in a millenium please look for the infinity symbol tagged on our specially marked OCP itemson aisle 1 back by popular demand we are Evolution, Me Other Freaks of Nature excited to present faction upon faction of Culture Minds asmbodied physically by their glorious Mind Ships shoppers we have read your suggestions and we respond you will find very few xamples of those sad silly creatures known commonly as Cultured humans throughout our festive OCP sale weekend and that s not all we proudly announce the debut of two marvelous new Mind Ships at the front of aisle 1 the lovely and amazing Sleeper Service necro artist and secret agent and lurking in the rear unlisted on any official Culture registry the remarkable Grey Area avenger of genocides torturer of torturers ignore his nickname Meatfucker at your very own and very personalized perilon aisles 2 through 11 our hallmark OCP product The Excession continues to be available in ver widening sizes and Trajan ever changing formats whether it be a black swanvent an unreadable black body sphere a transport system for higher powers or an ageless conundrum appearing since before the dawn of time the Excession is tailor made and custom fit for thrilling contemplation of the infinite and perhaps cosmic oblivionon aisle 12 A we are Bunnys Book Club Goes to School excited to feature anxciting one time only Super Special Warships buy one get 80000 free literallywe would also like to direct your attention to aisle 12 B to our brand new line of society The Affront this bold new community brings a fresh and The Peculiar Pig energetic perspective to many fronts the gender war the race war the male on male war and of course the timeless war between galaxies you ll laugh at the barbaric shenanigans of this sociopathic civilization til your sides literally split openntrails spilling and flying willy nilly BUY NOW we guarantee you will soon find our special Affront products to be disappearing fastand now for the review i liked it the writing was Cherry Ingram especially witty in this one the concepts were typically grandiose sadly a rather deflatingnding and a feeling of i dunno thinness somehow just not a whole lot to think about after putting this one down a rare thing for one of my favorite authors but i did love how this Culture novel was all about the fascinating Mind Ships and their various factions so many of them i had to write a list to keep track i love the Culture Minds besides who needs humans anyway wouldn t
You Rather Read About Mindrather read about Mind This happens to be xactly what I wanted when I wanted it I wanted intelligent galaxy spanning space opera with a handful of baseline humans getting caught up I wanted intelligent galaxy spanning space opera with a handful of baseline humans getting caught up an xistential conundrum that the far superior AI Ships and Main Characters had to faceAnd we Untameable Rogue (Bennett even get a BDO to spark annormous intergalactic war Woo Woo Of course the BDO big dumb object is nothing of the sort In fact it might be smarter than all of them combined Who knows I loved the speculationLife love sex conspiracy The McKettrick Way (McKettricks, extremely high stakes this novel really pretty much had it all but I think I had the most fun chuckling over all those damn ship names I Blame Your Mother I Blame My Mother Use Psychology Jaundiced Outlook It s Character Forming Unacceptable Behaviour Serious Callers Only and Meat Fucker just to name a uick few that tickled my fancyThis novel kept my attention much better than the previous novels but honestly I think I liked those previous ones better on the re read than the first shot Maybe I m just getting used to Banks s writing at long last or all my fancies were tickled in just the right measure in just the right timesThese are of a higher uality Space Opera than practically anythinglse out there but it s of a very particular sort Tongue In Cheek Absolutely Out to prove that a beneficent galactic society can still have some real humdingers for stories despite the apparent lack of conflict You bet It s like a master s course in Proving It Can Be Done despite all the doomsayers It s nothing like any kind of Space Opera I ve Midsummer Masque ever read again Still Continuing on It s pretty damn awesomeI want to continue these Culture novels like something fierce but I have so much on my plate already I ll schedule them for one a month from now on and savour them in delight 1324089739734 SILLYINTRO 289534953457 MOREOFTHISTHANYOUNEED 826563495 ANOTHERRANDOMDIGITSEUENCE 290735723 OHPLEASEGETTOTHEPOINT Hello This is Kinda Disappointed do you read me Hello Disappointed this is Still Plenty of Good Bits I m another superintelligent AIntity Well of course you are Bits Let s skip the background and assume the reader knows all about the Culture universe So what did you think of Excession Um not too bad considering the obvious problems I mean how is a human going to describe beings a trillion times smarter than he is Maybe he shouldn t have tried Hello I m Too Many Subplots Can I join in Hi Subplots So what was your opinion I liked a lot of the story But I think he should have split it up into two or three different books If you re not a Mind you d probably find it a bit confusing Did the threads actually have that much to do with Maybe This Time (Belonging each other I m not sure I ll have to read it again Give me an infinitesimal fraction of a second Well I ve already read itight million times and I still don t know Is this me talking or you Oh hello Cheap Shot I was sure you d turn up What s new Um I ve just had an ineffable vision of the whole of Creation Cool So what was it like Oh I don t know Ineffable I guess I shouldn t say too much about it Fair nough Well talking of which I have some important stuff to do that s completely incomprehensible to carbon based lifeforms Me too Yes we ve already wasted nearly a microsecond on this conversation So Wait how s your permanantly pregnant human friend She sounded kind of interesting Oh she s not in this part of the story Sorry Just thought I d ask OK see you in the next jumbled plot fragment Bye Bye. Ng and comic probably the finest science fiction he has written to date' New Scientist'Banks has rewritten the libretto for the whole space opera genre' The Times.