Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Against a Dark Background: not a review

I've finished reading Iain M. Banks' Against a Dark Background. Here are a few thoughts, bullet pointed, as this isn't a review:
  • This is a wonderfully indulgent piece of science fiction. The scope of imagination is huge and the cinematic expanse of Banks' imagination lends a sense of wonder to the story.
  • This is a profoundly humanist novel. The notion that people are truly alone and this life is all is explored through a variety of mechanisms and tropes. The Solipsists insistence that they are alone in their own universe, the finality of death and the transient nature of being are persistent themes. Also the nature of the System in which it the story is set.
  • This is a dark novel. Lots of death and failure and despair and general unpleasantness.
  • That being said Banks doesn't Pull the Nasty in the same way as he has done in The Algebraist and Consider Phlebas.
Well worth a read.

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