The Culture - a human/machine symbiotic society - has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh: Jernau Morat Gurgeh, The Player of Games, master of every board, computer, and strategy.
Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game... a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the challenge of his life - and very possibly his death.
©1988 Iain M. Banks (P)2010 Hachette Digital
This is in my opinion the best Culture Novel, and its grim metaphor of the alien Azadian Empire for modern society. Gurgey is a gaming savant with limited emotional range - but finds a true test of his abilities in this book. Well read with great voice characterisation.
This series transports my mind to another place and time, a true escape and pleasure on so many levels. This story reminded me of Eric Nylund's A Game of Universe, a true absolute pleasure.
"Civilisation and the Culture"
This is a stunning book, that I had not read, since it first came out when I was a kid. But it was good enough to stick with me over the many intervening years. This reading is fantastic. Great interpretations of the characters. Hope the accents don't upset anybody. Highly,highly recommended. If we are lucky Mr.Kenny will be reading the rest of the series too.( He also did a great job with -Consider Phlebas) ps please hurry with the others, I can't wait until -Excession is given this treatment
"Probably now my favourite novel"
Without giving anything away, this is a masterful demonstration of how wonderful science-fiction can be to illustrate real-world issues, as well as providing insights on such issues and how we could deal with them better. But beside that, this novel is funny, thrilling, exciting and there are very few authors who can match Banks' imaginative power. This is a rich and consistent world, detailed and nuanced. In my view, the ideal starter book to Banks' culture universe novels, i.e. don't worry if you haven't read any of his other books.
"WOW! Intrigue On A Galactic Scale!"
A bored, disaffected, dilettante game-playing, genius get's twisted by friend who's no friend...
Ian M. Banks' Culture novels are beyond belief in their scope and richness of detail. They are detailed with plots, characters and environments vividly described. That a story of this length can grip you from beginning to end is amazing and I have no hesitation in recommending it.
IMB's Culture stories are a fascinating mix of sociology, solid character development, lavish detail and staggering imagination. The utopian scale of the Culture is beyond anything I have read in 35 years love of sci-fi and each one of IMB's novels adds more and more levels of interest.
If you've heard or read Consider Phelbas, this is different as it's set within the Culture but you'll love it! The action is break-neck and the story is rich!
My only criticism of the audio version is that the character names are so 'out-there' that it can be a problem to remember who's who. It is easier with a hard-copy novel. But that is small criticism and a backhanded compliment to what is a staggeringly good book that is also very, very well read.
"Amazing audio book"
An amazing listen! I’ve read the original book and one of advantages of hear the audio version is that you don’t spend ages trying to guess the pronunciation of the insane names.
A brilliant listen. I highly recommend it.
"Sci-fi at its best"
A very strong story with twists and turns that keeps you on your toes. It weaves in sci-fi in the story in a very subtle way making you believe in the world described for you. Exceptionally read by Peter Kenny, I truly belive he felt the pain of the main character. A definite worthy read.
"Flippin Marvelous !!!"
Im really enjoying my long car journeys now with the great collection of books offered by audible. Never having read any of Iain Banks books before, so I didnt know what i was getting into. So two books in to the cutlure series "consider Phelbas and player of games" and im VERY VERY much hooked! So enjoying the culture series. Listened to the first book and loved the settings, GSVs, drones, and the characters !!! Peter Kenny is a fantastic narrator, bringing this amazing sci fi world to life with his clever charactor voices and build up to tense moments !!!
Great stories, great narration !!!!
In short..... Brilliant!!!!
"Fun philosophically interesting yarn"
A lot easier going than a lot of the culture series.
A straight forward single narrative plot driven book.
Has its philosophical questions very much on display
loved it for the commute. Not structurally taxing or focused on the minutea but still detailed and a rewarding read/listen
"Brilliant, engaging story; incredibly well read."
This is my first Culture story as an audio book. Agreement seems universal that the story is great, but what really made this for me was the reading, especially the voices of the drones, really brought it to life.
"Really good performance"
of one of Iain M Banks' s best works. I listened in rapt attention throughout
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