Transition - Iain Banks

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Transition - Iain Banks

A world that hangs suspended between triumph and catastrophe, between the dismantling of the Wall and the fall of the Twin Towers, frozen in the shado...

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Review of "Transition - Iain Banks"

published 14/02/2017 | steerpyke
Member since : 13/02/2004
Reviews : 467
Members who trust : 115
About me :
musician, scribbler, historian, gnostic, seeker of enlightenment, asker of the wrong questions, delver into the lost archives, fugitive from the law of averages, thinker of deep thoughts, quantum spanner, zenarchist. People have woken up to worse.
Excellent
Pro a unique take on dystopian sci-fi
Cons none
very helpful
Would you read it again?
Story
Characters
Readability
How does it compare to similar books?

"A masterful, world-hopping, instant classic"

Iain Banks led a duel life as a novelist. Firstly as a writer of emotive, warped and heartfelt narratives and also as Iain M Banks, a spinner of galactic science fiction writ large of millions of miles and millions of years. Although this book, by virtue of the chosen moniker should fit into the former category, the story seems to span both parts of his writing.

He presents his world through a series of first person views, from myriad characters; a legendary assassin, a city trader, a state sponsored torturer, an enigmatic philosopher and a seemingly comatose hospital patient, all tell the story from their experiences and often flitting through each others narratives. It is an interesting style, one that keeps you on your toes as a reader as your worldview changes perspective with each teller’s tale.

Together they paint a world, or series of parallel worlds, whose strings are pulled by an all powerful organisation called The Concern, an illuminate-esque body who bend society, history and destiny to their will, much like The Culture, his power behind the throne body ever present in his science fiction writing. Through this string of worlds, some familiar to us as slight tweaks on society as we know it, others alien and fantastic, a battle of cat and mouse is being played, one for the very control of the destiny of the universe.

As always his backdrop is sprawling and full of big ideas and bigger possibilities yet even at its most fantastic it has a consistency and logic that often eludes such fantastic premises. It is also a world so well realised that you feel if at any time you turn your back and walk away from the central narrative you would see a functioning world going about its business oblivious to the thread of the story.

The writing is baroque yet hyper-real and kinetic, it fizzles with energy and paints grand theories as if they were matter of fact thoughts and already familiar concepts and all the time the characters draw in on each other across worlds and time zones, from alternate pasts and possible futures towards one final apocalyptic encounter.


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Comments on this review

  • calara published 25/03/2017
    good design.
  • euphie published 25/02/2017
    vh :o)
  • Secre published 17/02/2017
    Gonna have to put this on my list
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Product Information : Transition - Iain Banks

Manufacturer's product description

A world that hangs suspended between triumph and catastrophe, between the dismantling of the Wall and the fall of the Twin Towers, frozen in the shadow of suicide terrorism and global financial collapse, such a world requires a firm hand and a guiding light. But does it need the Concern: an all-powerful organisation with a malevolent presiding genius, pervasive influence and numberless invisible operatives in possession of extraordinary powers? On the Concern's books are Temudjin Oh, an un-killable assassin who journeys between the peaks of Nepal, a version of Victorian London and the dark palaces of Venice; and a nameless, faceless torturer known only as the Philosopher. And then there's the renegade Mrs Mulverhill, who recruits rebels to her side; and Patient 8262, hiding out from a dirty past in a forgotten hospital ward. As these vivid, strange and sensuous worlds circle and collide, the implications of turning traitor to the Concern become horribly apparent, and an unstable universe is set on a dizzying course.

Product Details

EAN: 9780316731089

Type: Fiction

Genre: Modern Fiction

Title: Transition

Author: Iain Banks

Edition: Paperback

Publisher: Little, Brown

ISBN: 0316731080

Ciao

Listed on Ciao since: 08/06/2009

Transition - Iain Banks - Review - A masterful, world-hopping, instant classic

steerpyke 5

steerpyke

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About me: musician, scribbler, historian, gnostic, seeker of enlightenment, asker of the wrong questions, delver into the lost archives, fugitive from the law of averages, thinker of deep thoughts, quantum spanner, zenarchist. People have woken up to worse.

Member since:13.02.2004

Reviews:467

Members who trust:115

Quote-start

A masterful, world-hopping, instant classic

Quote-end
14.02.2017

Advantages:
a unique take on dystopian sci - fi

Disadvantages:
none

Recommendable Yes:

Detailed rating:

Would you read it again?

Story

Characters

Readability

How does it compare to similar books?

How does it compare to other works by the same author?

25 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
very helpful by (60%):
  1. calara
  2. euphie
  3. skyelightsmoke
and 12 other members
helpful by (40%):
  1. kiss_me2070
  2. NBCMad92
  3. kat123456
and 7 other members

View all ratings

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

Share this review on

Iain Banks led a duel life as a novelist. Firstly as a writer of emotive, warped and heartfelt narratives and also as Iain M Banks, a spinner of galactic science fiction writ large of millions of miles and millions of years. Although this book, by virtue of the chosen moniker should fit into the former category, the story seems to span both parts of his writing.

He presents his world through a series of first person views, from myriad characters; a legendary assassin, a city trader, a state sponsored torturer, an enigmatic philosopher and a seemingly comatose hospital patient, all tell the story from their experiences and often flitting through each others narratives. It is an interesting style, one that keeps you on your toes as a reader as your worldview changes perspective with each tellers tale.

Together they paint a world, or series of parallel worlds, whose strings are pulled by an all powerful organisation called The Concern, an illuminate-esque body who bend society, history and destiny to their will, much like The Culture, his power behind the throne body ever present in his science fiction writing. Through this string of worlds, some familiar to us as slight tweaks on society as we know it, others alien and fantastic, a battle of cat and mouse is being played, one for the very control of the destiny of the universe.

As always his backdrop is sprawling and full of big ideas and bigger possibilities yet even at its most fantastic it has a consistency and logic that often eludes such fantastic premises. It is also a world so well realised that you feel if at any time you turn your back and walk away from the central narrative you would see a functioning world going about its business oblivious to the thread of the story.

The writing is baroque yet hyper-real and kinetic, it fizzles with energy and paints grand theories as if they were matter of fact thoughts and already familiar concepts and all the time the characters draw in on each other across worlds and time zones, from alternate pasts and possible futures towards one final apocalyptic encounter.


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Comments about this review »

calara 25.03.2017 09:58

good design.

euphie 25.02.2017 11:40

vh :o)

Secre 17.02.2017 13:21

Gonna have to put this on my list

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Product Information

Manufacturer's product description

A world that hangs suspended between triumph and catastrophe, between the dismantling of the Wall and the fall of t...

Product details

EAN 9780316731089
Type Fiction
Genre Modern Fiction

Ciao

Listed on Ciao since 08/06/2009

Show all Product Information

Review Ratings

This review of Transition - Iain Banks has been rated:

"very helpful" by (60%):

  1. calara
  2. euphie
  3. skyelightsmoke

and 12 other members

"helpful" by (40%):

  1. kiss_me2070
  2. NBCMad92
  3. kat123456

and 7 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.



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