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Excession de Iain M. Banks
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Excession (1996 original; edició 1997)

de Iain M. Banks (Autor)

Sèrie: The Culture (5)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaConverses / Mencions
4,450982,268 (4)1 / 129
Iain M. Banks is a true original, an author whose brilliant speculative fiction has transported us into worlds of unbounded imagination and inimitable revelatory power. Now he takes us on the ultimate trip: to the edge of possibility and to the heart of a cosmic puzzle. . . . Diplomat Byr Genar-Hofoen has been selected by the Culture to undertake a delicate and dangerous mission. The Department of Special Circumstances--the Culture's espionage and dirty tricks section--has sent him off to investigate a 2,500-year-old mystery: the sudden disappearance of a star fifty times older than the universe itself. But in seeking the secret of the lost sun, Byr risks losing himself. There is only one way to break the silence of millennia: steal the soul of the long-dead starship captain who first encountered the star, and convince her to be reborn. And in accepting this mission, Byr will be swept into a vast conspiracy that could lead the universe into an age of peace . . . or to the brink of annihilation.… (més)
Membre:Damien_Fenton
Títol:Excession
Autors:Iain M. Banks (Autor)
Informació:Orbit (1997), Edition: New Ed, 464 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:****
Etiquetes:Cap

Informació de l'obra

Excession de Iain M. Banks (1996)

  1. 50
    Anathem de Neal Stephenson (elenchus)
    elenchus: Banks also introduces the "out of context" problem central to Anathem, but in a wildly different plot, and universe. Banks is less ontology and more space opera, but I found both books very entertaining, and both Stephenson and Banks sensitive to political questions raised by their respective plots.… (més)
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» Mira també 129 mencions

Anglès (91)  Francès (3)  Italià (2)  Castellà (2)  Totes les llengües (98)
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This is among the "weak" Culture books in my opinion, though it's still pretty impressive by any other standards. It doesn't seem as profound as Use of Weapons or as thrilling as Consider Phlebas, but it's better than Player of Games, for sure.

The story seems straightforward but it's anything but. It has one good twist and a couple of hit-and-miss ones. As in some of the other books, the complicated plot is there to support a very basic one that has to do with two people's feelings. So the human element doesn't get lost in the space opera, but here it seems kind of tacky compared to the much better use of this technique in "Use of Weapons". I tend to go back and compare Banks' books to each other just because none of the other sci-fi authors I read is comparable in techniques and scope (not better or worse, mind you, just very different).

In this one, the Culture is elaborated on a little bit further, and we learn a lot more about the 'Ship-Mind' Culture, which take the front seat instead of the usual human characters. It's an interesting recourse, and their personalities are well defined, so you don't miss having strong human characters to relate to. That's also the other side of this book's problem. The human characters seem so bland and stupid that one tends to skim a bit over their sections to get to the more interesting plot with the Ships and the Excession itself. Maybe this was also the author's intent, to shift away the focus from the humans and show their struggles as meaningless amidst a larger plot, but one in which they also play a big role nonetheless. It's an interesting juxtaposition.

I'll give this one a three for now. I may change my mind upon finishing the rest of the Culture books.


( )
  marsgeverson | Jan 12, 2023 |
Just when you start thinking it's really about the humans... it's not. Well, urr. Damn. Fun read though and Banks continues to completely befuddle you for the first third of a culture book before all the alien concepts resolve into a clever tale. ( )
  Kavinay | Jan 2, 2023 |
Another Culture novel, another chance to ask myself why I find these things so curiously readable. This one focuses less on the lucky, sybaritic humans that inhabit the Culture universe than the Minds of he ships that ferry them from place to place and occasionally get involved in thrilling space battles. The book's plot revolves around the sudden appearance of an impossibly ancient object that may -- or may not -- give whoever controls it unimaginable power. The hook here is that this is an "out-of-context problem", like the appearance of the Mule in Asimov's foundation series, a freak occurrence that even an impossibly advanced, supremely rational civilization like the Culture would have difficulty planning for. In practice, though, "Excession" plays out a lot like a Cold War spy novel, with lots of teletype communications between field agents who all seem to be unwaveringly British in both diction and outlook. These dialogues are oddly formatted and are occasionally tiresome to get through, though Banks's prose is, as usual, dense, intricate, and perfectly pitched everywhere else in the novel. The uh, interpersonal, communications between the ships that we're privy to reveals their odd attitudes toward the humans they care for, which run the gamut from genuine affection to mild disgust. Even though we see human creativity flourish in many of this novel's scenes, Banks's attempts to gently nudge humans out of the center of the frame, so to speak, is surprisingly successful.

A case could also be made, I think, that Banks might also be playing with extremes here. "Excession" introduces us to the Affront, a race whose entire culture seems to be built on cruelty and who might be the least pleasant bunch of aliens I've met since encountering the Vogons in the "Hitchhiker's Guide" books. The Affront -- boorish, mean, physically repulsive and apparently incorregible -- are so awful that I often found the parts of the book that they are in genuinely difficult to read. At the same time, he devotes more time in "Excession" describing the fun -- sexy and otherwise -- that the Culture's innumerable citizens get to have. It isn't that the Culture doesn't face the sort of moral dilemmas that people who consider themselves "civilized" often run into when they come face to face with something truly alien. The line between a belief in galactic progress and bloody expansionism is, as ever, dangerously thin. Even so, the stark differences between the two modes of being epitomized by the Culture and the Affront made me wonder if it wasn't abundance itself -- of materiel, of spirit, even of time -- that makes the Culture novels so much fun to read. Banks has conceived of a world where spaceships build other spaceships and design custom-made habitants for specific humans. Much of human life seems to have become a festival of light and color that often goes on for a cool couple of centuries. A lot of it sounds delightful, even if all is not yet perfect. Sometimes I think Banks is asking what shape the problems we now consider to be most central to our existence were to be -- if not eliminated -- worn away by centuries of geometrically increasing technological progress. In practice, that means that the Culture is often a fun place to spend your time. Heck, I'll probably read the next one. ( )
1 vota TheAmpersand | Dec 24, 2022 |
A slog to read through. Nothing happens for the first 300 pages. ( )
  Castinet | Dec 10, 2022 |
Excession tells the story of the Culture, a far-future utopian civilization run by AIs, encountering an artifact that appears to use science far beyond their society's capabilities. The Culture's AIs are not monolithic and have many opinions about what to do about this "Excession"--some want to investigate it with various levels of caution, while a cabal of others conspire to use the appearance of the Excession to start a war with another race, the Affront, that would be otherwise politically inconvenient. While the readers do get some direct insight into the debates of the various AIs, most of the action revolves around humans who, for the most part, are pawns in the various plots. I really enjoyed the themes of this novel, as I found the alien artifact intriguing, and enjoyed the interaction between the AIs. However, the book contains a litany of characters, both human and AI, as well as sub-plots upon sub-plots, and I found it difficult to keep everything straight in my mind. Enjoyable but a bit too dense. ( )
  Phrim | Nov 30, 2022 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Iain M. Banksautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Bonhorst, IreneTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Gálla, NóraTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Kenny, PeterNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Klein, GérardPròlegautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Martin, JérômeTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Salwowski, MarkAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Youll, PaulAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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Wikipedia en anglès (1)

Iain M. Banks is a true original, an author whose brilliant speculative fiction has transported us into worlds of unbounded imagination and inimitable revelatory power. Now he takes us on the ultimate trip: to the edge of possibility and to the heart of a cosmic puzzle. . . . Diplomat Byr Genar-Hofoen has been selected by the Culture to undertake a delicate and dangerous mission. The Department of Special Circumstances--the Culture's espionage and dirty tricks section--has sent him off to investigate a 2,500-year-old mystery: the sudden disappearance of a star fifty times older than the universe itself. But in seeking the secret of the lost sun, Byr risks losing himself. There is only one way to break the silence of millennia: steal the soul of the long-dead starship captain who first encountered the star, and convince her to be reborn. And in accepting this mission, Byr will be swept into a vast conspiracy that could lead the universe into an age of peace . . . or to the brink of annihilation.

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