- Paperback: 434 pages
- Publisher: Night Shade Books; 2 edition (June 1, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1597800449
- ISBN-13: 978-1597800440
- Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #338,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Algebraist Paperback – June 1, 2006
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Banks (Look to Windward) pulls out all the stops in this gloriously over-the-top, state-of-the-art space opera, a Hugo nominee in its British edition. In a galaxy teeming with intelligent life-forms and dominated by the intensely hierarchical society known as the Mercatoria, the Ulubis system has been cut off from the rest of civilization for over a century as its citizens impatiently await the arrival of a starship carrying an artificial wormhole to replace one destroyed in a previous war. Fassin Taak is a Slow Seer, an anthropologist who studies the Dwellers, the ancient, enigmatic species that inhabits gas giants throughout the galaxy, including Nasqueron in the Ulubis system. Fassin's research contains clues to the existence of a secret wormhole network, one operated by the Dwellers and free from the repressive control of the Mercatoria. Unfortunately, the monstrous ruler of a nearby star system has also learned of this discovery, as has the Mercatoria itself. Now two enormous battle fleets converge on Ulubis, and Fassin must undertake a quest deep into Nasqueron to uncover the Dwellers' secret. This is an enormously enjoyable book, full of wonderful aliens, a sense of wonder and subtle political commentary on current events.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'There is now no British SF writer to whose work I look forward with greater keenness' The Times, 'Confirms Banks as the standard by which the rest of SF is judged' The Guardian, 'Explosive' Sunday Times, 'Gripping, touching and funny' T.L.S., 'A wild imagination' Mail on Sunday, 'Captivating' Time Out, 'Spectacular ... the field needs his energy' The Scotsman, 'One of the very best just got even better' Starburst, 'Banks is a phenomenon' William Gibson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Aside from the adventures of the protagonist within the world of the gas giant dwellers, his home system is threatened by a sociapathic dictator and his invading army. If a weak point had to be listed for this novel it would be that the characterization of the dictator is too over-the-top.
In providing a tour of Banks's new creation The Algebraist does get a bit heavy with exposition. However, exploring the new universe is worth the cost of having a slower story. It is nice to see a fresh environment from the author and hopefully there will be more books in this setting to come.
Along the way: the description of the sailboat race on Nasq is simply dazzling. It takes place on the inner wall of the eye of a hurricane! And that's just the premise.
Banks' earlier body of work is vibrant, gothic, and faultlessly well written. His crowning achievement 'Use of Weapons' is, IMHO, the greatest science fiction novel ever written (with 'Consider Phlebas' and 'Against a Dark Background' running close behind) and 'Crow Road' is a masterpiece of storytelling. His recent work however, has seemed to stagnate; 'The Business' and 'Look to Windward' were somewhat lackluster even to a Banks-phile like myself.
With 'The Algebraist', Mr. Banks has clearly returned to his groove. He creates a completely new milieu, populated with new characters from his incredible font of imagination, and described with his usual wealth of vocabulary and vision. I highly recommend the book to any fan of well-written fiction (science or no).
I eagerly await his next book which, if protocol holds, will be published by 'Iain Banks' and therefore contain contemporary rather than science fiction. Thank you, Mr. Banks, for another extremely enjoyable journey.
It is offputting to have something charaterised as science fiction when essentially it is a mystery novel set in a distant time and even more distant space. Having said that I was beguiled by the backdrop that Banks set.
The picture he paints is one of a single focal point at the outset, where intricate details are added as in a jigsaw puzzle, adding to, yet not completing the picture. This technique is a powerful one for stimulating one's imagination. I must confess to having the greatest diffulty trying to imagine the appearance of the Dwellers for instance.
Slowly, but surely and relentless, the author continues to add his brushstrokes, causing speculation upon the reader's part as to the possible twists and turns which may be imminent while managing to keep the conclusion hidden behind a veil of ignorance.
This is definitely the stuff of space opera. A gigantic backdrop stretching across light years. Fearsome and loathsome villains and bad guys who cast long and dark shadows, a historical apect stretching back millenia, trechary and duplicity, oppressive governments and cronyism abound.
What is wonderful about this though is how the author keeps the reader enthralled so much that the conclusion still leaps out of the pages of the novel causing the reader to exclaim' "of course" at the end.
I would highly recommend this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've been struggling for days to even get through the first 100 pages (btw, the plot of the book isn't even revealed until page 100). This book just moves so slowly. Read morePublished 5 months ago by BellaGrace
Soaring imagination and great plot.Like few books I've ever read.Published 8 months ago by David Lindsay
People should read the book first. Then when they listen to the audiobook it will be because they loved the book, and they can follow the story. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Gary Appenzeller
Not perfect, but very good. So complicated that I had to reread the beginning after finishing the book. I think that the ahuman and rhuman theme was not developed well enough. Read morePublished 15 months ago by JD
Very engaging. Perhaps, at times, "overdescriptive" (though this may not be an issue for a native English speaker). Read morePublished 15 months ago by Rafael Gonzalez Montejano
Superb standalone sci-fi novel from the master Ian M Banks! A bit slow in the beginning but quickly develops pace, a great read and a fascinating description of an alien race (the... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Nikolaj G-H Cyon
The Algebraist is a speculative fiction novel by the writer Ian M. Banks; this was his third science-fiction novel that was based wholly outside of his... Read more