Editorial Reviews. From Library Journal. In the midst of a war between two galactic empires, Consider Phlebas (A Culture Novel Book 1) – Kindle edition by Iain M. Banks. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or. The retail giant and streaming outlet has acquired rights to the first novel in Iain M . Banks’ “Culture” series. A Definitive Ranking of Iain M. Banks’ Culture Novels . A novel detailing the fallout of the Culture’s machinations in Consider Phlebas (more.

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Open Conisder See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Consider Phlebas Culture 1 by Iain M. The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist.

Principles were conzider stake.

There could be no surrender. Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade.

Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks

Deep withi Cosnider war raged across the galaxy. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it.

It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their phlbas destruction. Paperbackpages. Published April 14th by Orbit first published April 23rd To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about Consider Phlebasplease sign up. How violent is this book? More violent than Game of Thrones or less violent?

Consider Phlebas

Because i had no problem whatsoever with GoT but dunno if scifi-brutal is different to fantasy-brutal Chris Kok I’d say Lots of space battles and death. But, with lasers and plasma guns rather than swords and axes. If that makes sense? Plus, …more I’d say Plus, the “gory details” often include alien physiology – so, purple blood, three legged aliens, and so on. This question contains spoilers… view spoiler [What was Horza’s name?

He had these flashbacks about his name being taken and not knowing what his name was, but I had no idea what was going on there. Chris Kok This answer contains spoilers… view spoiler [ From Wikipedia: Horza was one of a party of Changers allowed on Schar’s …more From Wikipedia: Horza was one of a party of Changers allowed on Schar’s World, and for that reason is tasked by the Idirans with retrieving a Mind that had crashed to the planet.

Horza is humanoid, but committed to the Idirans because he despises the Culture for its dependence on machines and what he perceives to be spiritual emptiness. See all 9 questions about Consider Phlebas…. Lists with This Book.

Mar 03, J. Keely rated it it was ok Shelves: Like so many highly-lauded authors featured here, Banks has been haunting my shelf for quite some time now. Countless are the times I have passed this book conslder bed, letting my eyes linger longingly on the spine, relishing the notion that I will actually read this book, some day. There have even been those occasions where I thumbed it down, peering at the cover, carefull Welcome to another edition of ‘Notable Genre Author Considre to Impress Some Guy on the Internet’, I’ll be bannks host: There have even been those occasions where I thumbed it down, peering at the cover, carefully comparing it to others, knowing that I must be the final arbiter of posterity–to choose one, eschewing all others to iaij cruel and unknown future.


As always I was prepared to be impressed, or even blown-away, and to tell the truth, it started off with some promise. The prose is fairly solid, and that title, it’s a doozy. Unfortunately, the title’s suggestion of literary intertextuality soon wilted on the vine, so I dialed-back my expectation to ‘amusing, rollicking adventure’.

Now, I would be lying if I suggested that there wasn’t some breed of rip-snorting adventure in here, but unfortunately, it’s all smothered beneath the cold, damp pillow of Too Much Explanation. It is a lamentable condition which affects nearly four quarters of all science fiction authors, and in many cases, proves uncurable.

I can understand the temptation: But what sci fi authors make up for in enthusiasm, they lack in structure, plot, and character. We consier given long asides about pphlebas world, the politics, the war, and the characters’ thoughts–the onmiscient narrator going on excitedly about tangents and small points to the detriment of the plot.

Truly, there is no insight too small to be explicitly stated; even things phoebas already know, like the fact that taking in an enemy and keeping them around is dangerous, or that the decision whether or not to shoot someone has two outcomes, one with shooting, the other with somewhat less shooting. People have described this book as an ‘intellectual Space Opera’, but phlebax I picture an intellectually engaging book, it’s not one that tells me that kissing is nice, that people with guns are scary, or that losing loved ones is sad.

It’s like the ‘adverb problem’ many writers suffer from; in the sentence: We have a redundant description questioningly that adds nothing to the story but needless length.

Consider Phlebas : A Culture Novel

A good writer doesn’t tell the reader things they already know; and they certainly don’t tell them the same things over and over.

I found the repetition particularly inexplicable. On one page, fonsider told that the character won’t die of thirst because he’s floating on a freshwater ocean. We are told it again on the following page, from the same character’s internal monologue, on the same day. It just felt like bad editing at that point. But the worst thing about these kinds of overt explanations is that they make books dull and tedious.

All characters go through similar struggles, and for the most part, react to them in similar ways: What gives characters personality is how they experience these common reactions.

It’s in the little details. The more you take advantage of these little details, the more personality your characters will have. And it actually works the same with the plot: When an author wants to demonstrate something–a character’s personality, the progression of a relationship, some point of politics or philosophy–he designs a scene to illustrate this point.

So, if you want to show that your character is afraid of snakes, you might set up a scene where he sees a rubber snake and freaks out and maybe he feels embarrassed and holds a grudge over being fooled. It not only reveals the fear, it also reveals other aspects of phlrbas character: It’s the old writer’s adage about ‘showing instead of telling’. When you show what a character does, you’re demonstrating a distinct personality; when you tell us ‘he’s afraid of snakes’ you’re just describing a generic trait.

Remove the need to show how characters react and you lose the best way to make them unique and intriguing. It makes it hard to connect with characters when they are mainly a list of traits–and it’s even worse if the author doesn’t actually have them demonstrate those traits. If a character is constantly described as being ‘strong-willed’, but is never shown actually behaving that way, then the author has failed to write the character they intended.


If you show the audience something that looks, feels, smells, and tastes like an apple, they aren’t going to iaiin it’s a banana, no matter how many times you tell them it is. Because of this conflict between how the characters were described and how they actually behaved, they never developed into real personalities, and their actions rarely made sense–except that they facilitated the plot.

At one point, we are told at length how much the character is worrying about some friends of his, if only he could get to them. The moment he gains the ability to reach them, he forgets about them and goes off to check something else out. Then, a bit later, this character–who has been shown as deliberate, conniving, and calculating throughout–suddenly behaves erratically and does a bunch of short-sighted, stupid things for oain apparent reason, except that phhlebas lets the author put in his Big Chase Scene.

Unfortunately, since the characters were shallow and undeveloped, the reason for the chase a sudden bout of stupidity, and the stakes for the chase unclear, it made the whole thing tedious, when it should have been a high point.

Many authors and summer movie directors seem to assume that pure action and explosions are exciting, but without purpose and pacing to back them up, they are just filling space. But then, the whole book had flawed pacing; and not just because it was chock-full of tangents and redundancies. Mostly, the problem was a common one: A ‘McGuffin’ is just a generic thing that moves the plot along, usually something a character wants.

Some common examples are: In general, it doesn’t matter what the thing actually is, they’re mostly interchangeable. Banks tries a few times to make his McGuffin more pertinent to the plot, but it’s a pretty standard ‘the thing’.

Consider Phlebas : Iain M. Banks :

When I talk about a ‘back-loaded’ plot, I mean one where all the action is constantly focused on the final conclusion. Now it’s good for a story to progress toward this conclusion, but you’ve got to put smaller arcs and motivations along the way. Really, there should be a fairly clear goal for each distinct scene, otherwise, all of the build-up, all the tension, all the motivation is pointing at one spot–all loaded on the back, which that doesn’t make for a very balanced story.

Plus, no conclusion will ever be good enough to live up to four hundred pages of ‘wait for it! What’s worse is when the climax is already pretty clearly outlined and the author keeps stalling. If the reader can see what the conflict is, where it’s going to take place, and more-or-less how it’s going to play out, stalling is only going to annoy them.

Sure, you can take a minute to have everyone watch the game-winning hit with fear and apprehension, you can even do it in slow mo with the outfielder running to the wall hoping to catch it. But if you keep cutting back to the wide-eyed faces, the outfielder running, the ball soaring, the faces again, the ball, the crowd, the ball–well, it all starts to get pretty stupid.