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The Hydrogen Sonata (Culture) Hardcover – October 9, 2012
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"This rich, sweeping panorama of heroism and folly celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Culture, Banks's far-future semi-utopian society.... The action tumbles along at a dizzying pace, bouncing among a fascinating array of characters and locales. It's easy to see why Banks's fertile, cheerfully nihilistic imagination and vivid prose have made the Culture space operas bestsellers and award favorites."―Publishers Weekly
"One of Banks' best Culture novels to date."―Booklist on The Hydrogen Sonata
"It's fantastically good fun that throws in some big ideas about life, the universe and everything, and like the unabashed leftie that he is, Banks manages to get in there a few sizable shots at unthinking, dogmatic religiosity for good measure."―SciFi Now
"Banks's charming prose and the scale of his imagination continue to delight Culture vultures."―SFX
"The Culture, the post-scarcity, hedonistic, Machiavellian, libertarian, arse-kicking science-fiction society created by the late Iain M. Banks...one of the most enduring and endearing visions of the future."―The Guardian
"Incomparable entertainment, with fascinating and highly original characters, challenging ideas and extrapolations, and dazzling action...sheer delight."―Kirkus Reviews
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The main character, Vyr Cossont, a Gzilt,, plays an 11-string Undecagong instrument as her life's work. It requires her to have an extra pair of arms transplanted. She sits in the instrument to play the most difficult piece ever composed. It was composed for an instrument yet to be invented, and only a few centuries later, there it was in all its improbable form, to play the cacaphony that resembled the quantum state of Hydrogen.
While this is going on the Gzilt, a senior race equal in development to the Culture, has decided to Sublime. Their mentor race, already Sublimed, left a disturbing message that just might derail the Gzilt Sublimation. By some happy series of accidents, our heroin gets involved with a consortium of Culture Ship's Minds to chase down the living legend that started the Culture 10,000 years ago and find out if the message is true.