Reading status: Finished
Excerpt (p. 142):
She shook her head. “Better to be remembered for the wrong thing than for nothing at all.”
“No. As well… not to be remember at all as… that is the… state that will apply to all of us… in time.”
Comment: In The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks, the 10,000 year-old Culture man QiRia says it is our experiences and memories that make us who we are; without them we would not be ourselves. Banks is trying to impress on the reader that this oldest-living entity of the Culture would be almost infinitely wise having lived longer than any other known being; a living, breathing Zen master, if you will. Yet my question is: Are we really so bound to our memories and experience when searching for an explanation of ourselves? Or is this QiRia missing something despite his grand old age?
Blurb: An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they’ve made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence.
Amid preparations, though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted – dead, not alive. Aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command. She must find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago.
It seems that the final days of the Gzilt civilization are likely to prove its most perilous.