- Publisher: Orbit (October 4, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780356501512
- ISBN-13: 978-0356501512
- ASIN: 0356501515
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.5 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (343 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,383,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Hydrogen Sonata Paperback – October 4, 2012
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A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more
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Top Customer Reviews
You might not expect that from the initial premise, where yet another civilisation, the Gzilt, have reached that stage in their evolution where, tired of existing with the mundane realm of matter and energy, they've made the collective decision to Sublime, crossing over to that indefinable place (between the seventh and eleventh dimensions we discover here) where all advanced cultures and civilisations eventually accede and effectively retire. Some are surprised that the Gzilt have decided to make the big jump at this stage in their development, but with only 23 days left until the Instigation, many have already crossed over, leaving only a small remainder of their people to take care of the final ceremonies and housekeeping formalities, fending off Scavenger races and generally dealing with any last minute business that might crop up. Inevitably, one ship turns up with a big surprise for the Gzilt, and suddenly chaos erupts.Read more ›
My title refers to the fact that when I read some of the text, I hear the narrator from "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy," especially when Banks capitalizes words in sentences. For example I might write that the story revolves around A Really Big Secret, but when Banks writes something like that, you grin. (Well, I do.) Probably also has to do with Brit phrases creeping in now and then. All good with me. There is definitely a lot of humor in the book. Remember, Luke, Leia & Han in the garbage compartment? Banks goes one better (or should I say worse?) here, and it is perfectly plausible.
The truth about composer's intent for the piece of music called "The Hydrogen Sonata" has such irony as to be both sad and terribly funny. Banks has a lot of nice touches in the book. But the book is, as my title indicates, mostly serious. The humor is secondary or tertiary.
The book is a minor travelogue. Some very interesting places are visited. Imagine a race like McDevitt's Monument Builders, but building on a planetary scale. We visit an Orbital (a Ringworld type object), where in a remote desert section, an AI is building an analog to a waterworks...Read more ›
There doesn't seem to be a problem with narrative drive or pacing. The book zips along and there is plenty of action. It could be the characters. While the primary Mind Mistake Not... is the most fleshed out character, the humanoid protagonist is thinly drawn. There certainly isn't a scene stealer like Demeisen or Skaffen-Amtiskaw in this book. What was the point of the familiar other than a lost opportunity? No other Gzilt had a familiar. Then there is the question of motivation. The entire Gzilt society is behaving (appropriately) like a High School senior class in May, but what is the motivation for everyone else?
The book feels quickly written and disconnected. At this point, if Banks writes a culture novel, it will translate to a certain amount of money. I'd hate to think this was his motivation, but it doesn't feel like it was a story he 'had' to get out of his system.
The Hydrogen Sonata has all the elements of a Culture novel that I'm deeply interested in such as an important musical reference, plenty of chatter among Minds, and a setting that allows for the examination of deep philosophical questions. Does it matter? This question comes up multiple times. Arguably, it is the point of the book. It is also how I feel after finishing it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Iaian Banks was an excellent writer, but not always a good story teller. His works have several interesting concepts, including The Culture, a society that appears in much of his... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Samuel D. Uretsky
Thank You Mr. Iain M. Banks! A fitting last book in a vastly entertaining and rich universe. Start with Matter, which I think is the most accessible of the Culture books, and work... Read morePublished 1 month ago by T. B.
I’ve been both anticipating and dreading reading The Hydrogen Sonata, the last of the Culture books: anticipating because the Culture books have come to be among my all time... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ethanator
Another great culture novel. I'f you're a fan of this series, it's up there with the best of them.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This was my first Iain Banks book, yes, even though it is the last in the series. I was hooked. I’ve now backtracked and read four more books in the “Culture” series. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Edgar
Yes I really liked this book. Maybe the second best one I've read by Banks.Published 3 months ago by Shawn Lewers