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Consider Phlebas: A Culture Novel (The…
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Consider Phlebas: A Culture Novel (The Culture) (1987 original; edició 1988)

de Iain M. Banks (Autor)

Sèrie: The Culture (1)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaConverses / Mencions
7,4272271,074 (3.72)1 / 368
The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender. Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction. Consider Phlebas - a space opera of stunning power and awesome imagination.… (més)
Membre:Damien_Fenton
Títol:Consider Phlebas: A Culture Novel (The Culture)
Autors:Iain M. Banks (Autor)
Informació:Orbit (1988), Edition: New Ed, 480 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:*****
Etiquetes:Cap

Informació de l'obra

Consider Phlebas de Iain M. Banks (1987)

  1. 70
    Chasm City de Alastair Reynolds (voodoochilli)
    voodoochilli: As good as the Revelation space series, so if you want more check out Banks Culture novels.
  2. 60
    Las estrellas mi destino de Alfred Bester (EatSleepChuck)
  3. 40
    Revelation Space de Alastair Reynolds (nik.o)
  4. 20
    The Waste Land and Other Poems de T. S. Eliot (sturlington)
    sturlington: To understand the title allusion.
  5. 10
    The Wizards and the Warriors de Hugh Cook (themulhern)
    themulhern: A grim quest where the outcome hinges on the precise timing and nature of events. Much complication and a deal of ambiguity.
  6. 10
    Piece of Cake de Derek Robinson (themulhern)
    themulhern: A war, questions why the war is being fought, and horrible messes resulting from poor or incomplete information.
  7. 21
    Rocannon's World de Ursula K. Le Guin (themulhern)
    themulhern: Two vast wars fought between vastly different opponents. A small event in that war, and a protagonist who loses much in his struggle. Nothing else about these novels is terribly similar, but the contrasts are so interesting.
  8. 00
    Railhead de Philip Reeve (themulhern)
    themulhern: Profoundly sentient transportation in both.
  9. 11
    Hyperion de Dan Simmons (LamontCranston)
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» Mira també 368 mencions

Anglès (219)  Italià (2)  Francès (2)  Finès (2)  Romanès (1)  Castellà (1)  Totes les llengües (227)
Es mostren 1-5 de 227 (següent | mostra-les totes)
This is a book that seemed to start as standard space opera and which didn't seem at first to be as good as it turned out to be. It became poignant at the end, but it was fun throughout, thoroughly described but without overdoing it. The action "choreography" was great, and it was imaginative overall. It made me want to read the latter books to find out more about the Culture.
Horza's story was heart-breaking. At first I thought he would be shunted to the side for Balveda's story, since I thought it would focus more on the Culture. Instead, it focused on an individual, doomed quest that ends up shedding more light on the subject than if it had gone full-Culture from the onset.
I found Fal 'Neestra's chapters kind of pointless, though they tried to give a broader view of the Culture, they led nowhere. That was one of the few weak points.
Overall, amidst all the action (there's a lot), there are some questions that are timeless, about identity and war and fanatism. It isn't as heavy-handed as it sounds, for they're handled well in this sci-fi setting, without preaching or drawing simple parallels to contemporary events. But they're interesting nonetheless.
The later chapters in the Command System were what made the book great for me. The beginning and the middle were good, with some ups and downs, but the ending was great. It had echoes of Alien and all the great claustrophobic sci-fi horror, and the train sequence was awesomely written, gaining speed and momentum until the stunning conclusion.

I'll have to read the other books in the series to better gauge this one, but it's really good, fun but not lighthearted, and deeply sci-fi without boring the reader with too much technicisms.
( )
1 vota marsgeverson | Jan 12, 2023 |
My reaction upon finishing this book:

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

I stopped myself from writing a review immediately because my initial impulse was to throw things at the wall...

For about 50% of the book, I was feeling pretty positive about the story. The opening scene was the most inventive execution idea ever, and I approved of it. (Seriously, drowning from the excrement of the participants of a feast held in your honor? GENIUS!) I didn't quite follow all the descriptions of how technology looked or worked but focused on the story of Horza and the raggedy band of mercenary misfits he fell into. And then there was the island scene which I did read in one go, cringing and horrified, because cannibalism is one of the triggers that turn me into NO NO NO Cat. After Horza finally got off the damn island, I set the book aside and nearly didn't pick it back up again.

But I did. And I was fine until shit really started getting real in the caves of the Planet of the Dead.

Everybody dies. EVERYBODY. Except the drone and the Mind. But EVERYBODY. And there was just that little itty bit of hope at the end when Beleveda manages to carry Horza's battered, broken body back onto the ship and I actually believed that Banks might have some way of pulling the ending out of the pitch dark pits of despair but NO. And really, was the epilogue bit where Beleveda puts herself into stasis and then, after she is revived, kills herself really necessary?

I did end up giving this book two stars despite how much rage I feel about the ending because Banks made me viscerally care about the plot and the characters, which isn't a mean feat. I appreciated the world-building and the writing, and even the leap of faith to do what he did by not having a happy (or even remotely hopeful) ending.
( )
  wisemetis | Dec 26, 2022 |
Story bit off more than it could chew and never really felt like it got its stride ( )
  martialalex92 | Dec 10, 2022 |
I've been putting off reading this for a long time, because my expectations were so high. That might be one of the reasons why I didn't really enjoy this.

The premise and world-building are pretty great, so that didn't disappoint. If that was the only thing I went into this for, everything would have been great. Unfortunately, the characters were pretty flat, the plot was asinine in parts, and in the end I didn't give a shit about anything or anyone. I can't really say I was really feeling the "romantic interests" of Horza either. The author made zero effort in using female characters as props in making the main characters fate seem tragic.

I might continue with the Player of Games one day, but I don't really see that day being anytime soon. ( )
  tuusannuuska | Dec 1, 2022 |
When, some time ago, I decided to acquaint myself with Iain Banks’ famous Culture saga I went, of course, with the publication order and started with Consider Phlebas, but my experience with the book was not a positive one, since the story seemed to go all over the place - both narratively and in the figurative sense. My reading journey for the Culture might have ended then and there if not for a number of comments I read online about Consider Phlebas not being the best starting point for the non-initiated in Banks’ writings, and so I moved - with greater success - to Player of Games and Use of Weapons, and then to a few other titles in the series.

So, armed with a few more Culture books under my proverbial belt (although not as many as I would like…), I decided to go back to Phlebas and see how it fared this time: it worked indeed a little better, granted, but still it felt so different from what I’m used to from this author that I found myself unable to change my initial opinion in a very significant way.

The story develops on the background of the war between the Culture - a post-scarcity, utopian, galaxy-spanning conglomeration of civilizations - and the Idirans - a belligerent society with xenophobic tendencies; keen on capturing an escaped Culture Mind (a very powerful AI), the Idirans enroll one of their agents, a Changer named Bora Horza Gubuchul. Changers are humanoids gifted with the ability to transform their appearance, and therefore to infiltrate any environment without arousing suspicion: Horza is also perfect for two reasons, because he hates the Culture passionately as his masters, and because he served, long ago, on the planet where the runaway Mind has gone to ground, so he’s quite familiar with the territory.

Horza’s task proves far more arduous than anticipated, leading him through a series of adventurous mishaps (for want of a better word) that nonetheless offer the author a way of introducing the setting for this series and acquainting his readers with the Culture and its many facets. This is indeed the aspect I most enjoyed in this second journey through the book: elements like the concept of the powerful Minds, or the sentient drones gifted with often quirky personalities, are standard fare in Iain Banks’ Culture novels, and here they make their first appearance in a very intriguing way; and again descriptions of the huge space habitats called Orbitals, veritable worlds artificially constructed to offer any kind of terrain or environment, are nothing if not mind-blowing and fascinating. But where these details - made now familiar by the books I’ve read before this - still prove intriguing and thought-provoking, the story fails (still) to get a grip on my imagination, and the characters suffer the same kind of fate.

Horza’s weird adventures end up feeling a little too much, to the point that any intended dramatic effect resulted more farcical than dramatic: he starts with a harrowing experience when he’s sentenced to a gruesome death in a cell that’s going to be filled with the bodily waste of a banquet’s participants; rescued by the Idirans he barely survives a ferocious space battle only to be retrieved by a band of pirates/salvagers with whom he engages in the spectacular failure of a preposterous heist; a shuttle crash lands him on the section of an Orbital where a crazy cannibalistic cult is waiting for the end of the world (and this segment is even more gross than the waste-disposal cell one, believe me); and finally he enters in an outlandish card game called Damage where lives are at play besides fortunes. All this before truly engaging in the mission the Idirans hired him for…

It’s clear that Consider Phlebas is more plot- than character-oriented, and there is nothing wrong with that, but I’m still not sure where the failed heist, the Orbital debacle or the “cannibals interlude” serve this plot, since none of these narrative elements have any relation with the search for the runaway Mind. None of this - be it adventurous or merely grotesque - serves to highlight or develop Horza’s character, which remains the same detached-from-everything (and everyone) personality from start to end, making it very difficult, not to say impossible, to form any attachment to him. In a similar way, the long, sometimes overdrawn, sequence of “adventures” prolongs the wait for the real task Horza must accomplish, so that when it finally comes into play it’s lost any appeal or involvement - or at least that’s what happened to me, to the point that I skimmed the whole segment to reach the end more quickly.

I realize I’ve been somewhat harsh with this book, maybe undeservedly so, but it’s clear that something important for me was missing from it and it failed to capture my attention despite the familiarity I acquired with this saga over time. At least I can agree that even with my first approach it was still enough to keep me interested in Banks’ Culture, to the point that I enjoyed the following books and that I will continue my exploration with the ones still waiting on my TBR. So maybe this is not a complete loss, and that’s the reason my rating for Consider Phlebas gains a half point more than I would have given it on its own… ( )
  SpaceandSorcery | Nov 18, 2022 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 227 (següent | mostra-les totes)
The choice of name was definitely not an attempt to gain literary credentials or he would have ditched the ‘camp aliens and laser blasters.’ He has acknowledged the similarities to the poem in that the main character in Consider Phlebas is drowning and later undergoes a ’sea-change’ – this being a motif running through The Waste Land – but that is far as it goes.
But there are a number of parallels between the two works, whether deliberate or not on Iain’s part. To prove my point I will take a brief look at Consider Phlebas and then at The Waste Land, followed by examples of how the latter informs the former.
afegit per elenchus | editaJohn Black blog, John Black (Oct 4, 2012)
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (9 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Banks, Iain M.autor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Collon, HélèneTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Hopkinson, RichardAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Hundertmarck, RosemarieTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Kenny, PeterNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Keynäs, VilleTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Salwowski, MarkAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Youll,PaulAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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"Idolatry is worse than carnage."

The Koran, 2:190
Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.

T. S. Eliot,
'The Waste Land', IV
Persecution is worse than carnage.
The Koran, 2: 191
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to the memory of Bill Hunt
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The ship didn't even have a name.
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The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender. Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction. Consider Phlebas - a space opera of stunning power and awesome imagination.

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