Matter

Matter

[a Culture Novel]

Book - 2008
Average Rating:
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In a distant-future, highly advanced society of seemingly unlimited technological capability, a crime is committed within a war. For one brother it means a desperate flight, and a search for the one--maybe two--people who could clear his name. For his brother it means a life lived under constant threat of treachery and murder. And for their sister, it means returning to a place she'd thought abandoned forever. Only the sister is not what she once was; Djan Seriy Anaplian has become an agent of the Culture's Special Circumstances section, charged with high-level interference in civilizations throughout the greater galaxy. Concealing her new identity--and her particular set of abilities--might be a dangerous strategy. In the world to which Anaplian returns, nothing is quite as it seems; and determining the appropriate level of interference in someone else's war is never a simple matter.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Orbit, 2008
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780316005364
0316005363
Branch Call Number: SCI BANKS-I
Characteristics: 593 p. ; 24 cm

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m
mikespector
Sep 13, 2015

Slow start to a good read.
Stick with it.

c
CindyL
Mar 22, 2014

Agreed, Player of Games is still the best of Ian Banks' Culture Books that I have read so far. I did enjoy this book, however, and liked the characters very much. Banks could have done with a little less social commentary and got on with the story. A good read nevertheless.

l
linpro
Nov 25, 2013

I agree with StarGladiator, not one of Iain's best in the Culture Series but better then a few of his others. I enjoyed Matter - wold give it about 3 stars. The best that I have read in the series is The Player of Games.

s
StarGladiator
Jun 17, 2013

Not my favorite Culture series book (best one, and very best of SF, "The Player of Games"), but since future fiction, or real science fiction is so poor in the adult category today (all the superior stuff is in Young Adult category, which has really always been the norm in the USA), one has to read it!

s
sundaura
Sep 28, 2012

I found this book wandered a lot more than the other three books I've read by this author. There were multiple page descriptions of the history or motivations of characters who then appeared only once or twice through the book and lacked pivotal roles. Background and details can add texture and depth to a story but it felt like about 3/4 of the book just meandered without a thread to tie it together. The concept which I think he was trying to explore was so tenuously presented that a construct within the story (built around the character prone to soliloquies mentioned in the review above) seems to have been inserted to try to sum up the concept in a simplified manner. I have been impresses with the depth and complexity of Iain Banks' writing in the past but it seems to me that that complexity overwhelmed the story this time.

p
ptupper
May 10, 2012

Imagine a Shakespeare play. The king is murdered by his most trusted advisor in a coup, and the eldest prince sets out on a quest for help from his long-lost sister. Except the kingdom is just one layer of a massive, multi-leveled artificial planet, the sister was sent away to become a special ops agent of a galaxy-spanning anarchist/socialist society, and the king's murder is just one tiny part of a plot that could result in the deaths of billions.

There's even a character who makes Richard III-like soliloquies because he believes there are vastly powerful aliens watching everything he does and, because they don't stop him, condoning his brutal actions. In this setting, he might be right.

j
jydez
Nov 08, 2011

This was my first time with any of Banks' work. Found it a bit slow to start, I'd look at how much was left and have to prod myself to pick it back up again. It wasn't until about 1/3 of the way through that the pace picked up to the point I liked it and I started really getting into the characters and the development. Not usually fond of the style of ending he chose here but it felt right.
If you like this style of SF you might want to check out Neal Asher's work as well, a little more action and pacing, similar kind of exploration of culture and idealogies, but not quite as "hefty" when you pick it up.

j
jpmm
May 14, 2011

A very Banks book in the Culture universe but got a bit lost in just how clever he was being in his layers of technology & intrigue.

m
moemoecrew
Nov 03, 2008

Great Book!

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m
myuseraccount
Jun 17, 2014

Book 8 of the Culture series

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