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“You know the feeling when you read a really good book? can you tell the moment when you realise that you have in your hand a book that has the potential to be one of your all time favorites? and then you hold your breath to the end wishing that the writer won't screw up in the end -but still know...”see full review » see other reviews »
“You know the feeling when you read a really good book? can you tell the moment when you realise that you have in your hand a book that has the potential to be one of your all time favorites? and then you hold your breath to the end wishing that the writer won't screw up in the end -but still know that you can forgive him or her, just for the sheer joy they gave you while you read their book?- isn't it the best feeling in the world? isn't it the reason you do read? just for those few precious moments, where you're transferred into another world, another universe, you breathed it, you consumed it and you came out a different person.
that's how it felt when I read this book, I loved it so much, this is one of the moments when the star rating system is just inadequate. ”
“The Culture is an interplanetary society in which machines do most of the work and energy is apparently nearly free with the result that there is no want. People do things only if and because they want to and everyone lives in what is described as a very casual wealth. Genetics and biology is such that disease is unknown. There is almost no violence within the Culture and very little crime. A lot of people spend their time playing games or engaged in hobbies. Jernau Gurgeh is a game player. One of the best, if not the best within the Culture. The Culture bumps into the Azad Empire, a brutal, vicious military dictatorship in which people's position, including the Emperor, is determined by playing a game that is defines the Empire and is also called Azad. Gurgeh is sent to play the game as a guest. Reading science fiction, I think, requires that you accept the technological backbone of a story, but it is fair to challenge the inconsistencies of the society reflected in the story: The average birth rate, Banks tells us, is 1. But the Culture is expanding and has maintained a population of many billions across the stars for millennia - not possible without a replacement birthrate which is by definition north of 2. And then the Empire. Societies that rigid and that brutal are not creative enough to develop and support interplanetary empires; they can't even sustain planetary empires for all that long.
All that aside, The Player of Games is a rip-roaring adventure that grabbed and maintained my interest, even though I disliked both of the contending societies. Banks has a brilliant insight when he has Gurgeh's use of the Azadian language start to change him, make him more Azadian. Language both reflects and causes differences in how societies see the world and Banks uses that concept in an interesting way.
“Exciting novel, a clash between the culture and the Azad empire”Lior Shapira wrote this review Tuesday, May 14, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Very enjoyable, good twists and a well-constructed universe. Recommended to me from friends on the Science Fiction group, well worth the time to read.”Jack R wrote this review Sunday, March 24, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“First Iain M. Banks after reading Raw Spirit. Not great, but an entertaining and sometimes thought provoking read once it got going”Alistair Russell wrote this review Friday, March 8, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A decent Culture book. An interesting and quick read. As a gamer, I wish he had spent a little more time fleshing out the rules and details of the main game that was played in the book. Also, early in the book there was an event that strained my suspension of disbelief a bit. Despite the complaints, I enjoyed it. 7/10”Matt Bauer wrote this review Thursday, November 29, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I'm very annoyed that I only discoverd this book in 2012.”Charlweed wrote this review Sunday, October 21, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Another great story from Iain M Banks. Possibly not as gripping as Consider Phlebas, but still a worthy read. It does tend to drag a bit in the middle, during the long journey, but overall a good read.”Roger Elwell wrote this review Sunday, October 21, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Another Book club choice and our first Sci-Fi. Very mixed reviews and most could not finish it. Personally I only got really interested half way through. I found the gratuitous violence and sex unattractive and got in the way of picking up on the allegory in the story. Sadly I do not feel motivated to follow the series.”Broompark and District WI wrote this review Sunday, August 12, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No