- Series: Culture
- Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: Orbit; Reprint edition (July 28, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316030570
- ISBN-13: 978-0316030571
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 828 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Use of Weapons (Culture) Paperback – July 28, 2008
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Let's start with The Culture: Extremely advanced utopian conglomeration of pan-humans, aliens, and machines enjoying all life has to offer facilitated by the most advanced AI's in the galaxy. There's many goings-on.
Consider Phlebas is the first of the Culture series, and I feel the most experimental. Banks shows us the peace-loving Culture at what they subsequently consider the worst part of their history, during a galactic war with aliens who are bent on domination. This book shows you the Culture through the eyes of an outsider, which is why this review is titled "An appetizer..." as the Culture is much broader than is stated in this novel. The main character has their own agenda and doesn't like the Culture very much. This causes some friction.
This book is not the best one of the series in my opinion, however it gives you an introduction to the Culture and the events which shape discussion throughout the rest of the series. There's many interesting plot points and situations that the main character gets into, of different varieties. One feature I appreciated about this book, is how it takes place in the far future, however does not alienate the reader with unexplained strange terms or technologies. In addition, people still behave like people, have human thought-processes, and are relatable. This is not to say there isn't unique, interesting, and enjoyable strangeness. Some will tell you to skip this book, or start with another. I'd say read them in published order for an interesting experience. Before beginning this series, I had no idea what to expect, however the rave reviews from fellow Sci-Fi fans brought a copy to my door, and led to reading all 10 books in succession (or Excession??).
Next up is the second book, "The Player of Games" which really starts getting into the Culture, its wonders, and a smaller than galactic-scale but still interestingly thorny issue.
So, despite what I did not like about the story itself, I could see that the author has a great world imagination, and he is actually a good writer, with a proper balance between description, and dialogue, and explanation. So I think the author does a good job, but the material is a little weak. I peeked into the second book in the series, "A Player of Games", and within a few pages I can see a much more interesting story. So start the series there....unless like me, you can't stand skipping the first in a series, despite the warnings!