Currently Reading, Iain M. Banks, Literature, Science Fiction, The Algebraist

Currently reading: The Algebraist by Iain M. Banks



It is 4034 AD. Humanity has made it to the stars. Fassin Taak, a Slow Seer at the Court of the Nasqueron Dwellers, will be fortunate if he makes it to the end of the year.

The Nasqueron Dwellers inhabit a gas giant on the outskirts of the galaxy, in a system awaiting its wormhole connection to the rest of civilisation. In the meantime, they are dismissed as decadents living in a state of highly developed barbarism, hoarding data without order, hunting their own young and fighting pointless formal wars.

Seconded to a military-religious order he’s barely heard of – part of the baroque hierarchy of the Mercatoria, the latest galactic hegemony – Fassin Taak has to travel again amongst the Dwellers. He is in search of a secret hidden for half a billion years. But with each day that passes a war draws closer – a war that threatens to overwhelm everything and everyone he’s ever known.

Art, Comment, Iain M. Banks, Science Fiction

Comment: This is the Culture GSV (General Systems Vehicle) “Inappropriate Response” from around the time of the Idiran-Culture War, according to a deviantART fan artist of Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels. I always found it hard to imagine what these impossibly large ships would look like. I thought this was a good vision, though, and worth a share. Is it close to what you had in mind?


Comment, Iain M. Banks, Science Fiction, The Hydrogen Sonata

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?