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Consider Phlebas (Culture Series #1)
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Consider Phlebas (Culture Series #1)

3.3 448
by Iain M. Banks

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"Dazzlingly original." -- Daily Mail
"Gripping, touching and funny." -- TLS

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 at stake.


"Dazzlingly original." -- Daily Mail
"Gripping, touching and funny." -- TLS

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 at stake. There could be no surrender.

Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. 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 own destruction.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In the midst of a war between two galactic empires, a shapechanging agent of the Iridans undertakes a clandestine mission to a forbidden planet in search of an intelligent, fugitive machine whose actions could alter the course of the conflict. Banks ( Walking on Glass ) demonstrates a talent for suspense in a new wave sf novel that should appeal to fans of space adventure. For large sf collections. JC

Product Details

Publication date:
Culture Series , #1
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.37(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet the Author

Iain Banks came to controversial public notice with the publication of his first novel, The Wasp Factory, in 1984. Consider Phlebas, his first science fiction novel, was published under the name Iain M. Banks in 1987. He is now widely acclaimed as one of the most powerful, innovative and exciting writers of his generation.

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Consider Phlebas 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 448 reviews.
Halykan More than 1 year ago
I'm a fan of Iain M. Banks, and this is the book that made me such. It's an odd novel, detailing the efforts of a member of a genetically engineered race to aid his employers in a war against the Culture, largely by finding the AI of an enemy ship that was thought destroyed. The setting is extremely high-tech - the Culture is post- Age of Scarcity, and there's a lot of rather spectacular bits of engineering along the way, but they're not the real focus of the novel. This is, like most good books, one driven by the characters. For those of you who are already Banks fans, you might have divided opinions about this book. I personally like it because I see the Culture as a dystopia, not a utopia, and of all the novels he's written about them this one comes the closest to reflecting that sentiment. It's also a rather depressing book, so if you're looking for a bit of light reading to brighten your day this is not the one you need. It's a thought-provoking novel, the sort that'll still be in your head days after you finish it, and well worth reading in my opinion. Banks is one of the best SF writers alive right now; this novel will show you why.
Pica13 More than 1 year ago
I'm really trying to give Iain a chance. I just got done reading this book and I have read 2 others of his books and one thing really holds true with this author...he screws up the ending. No Im not looking for a love conquers all or I am the one neo- esque ending but his ending are so blah as to make the rest of the book meaningless...He does the same thing as dean Koontz does...he build up this great story with cool characters and different plots twisted in. You become embroiled in it and then he just poo poos the ending out and your like "Huh?" "What?" "Wait that's it Iain/ That's all you got buddy? That's all your gonna give me? It's like he got bored with his own story and just stopped being an amazing author...sigh...I digress...can't beat 99 cents though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is what happens in life, especially war. We learn to care about people experience their lives and emotions while reading. However, this book define, in a sense, ourselves. Perhaps that is why so many find it uncomfortable. Looking in a mirror is not always pleasant. It shows the best the worst and the mundane. This is not escapist,it brings up emotions and makes you think. If you chose to read it superficially as entertainment only I suggest you read it again on abdeeper level.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The vast majority of the book flows rather well, and the characters get you fairly involved in the story. The ending was fairly depressing, but entirely possible given the circumstances within the novel I suppose...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel is the first in a chronological series by Banks known as the Culture Novels. This series explores, in essence, what it means to be. Simply phenomenal writing and a vast complex universe with a rich cultural heritage from all forms of life are woven into a rich tapestry that implies we can become more than we are as humans and as beings. Did I mention the writing? Banks is a true master, so much so that distinguishing this as genre fiction is a disservice. I highly recommend this book as the jumping off point to the Culture series as this novel is, in many ways, an introdiction to Banks grand society.
Sapphire-Blue-Chrys More than 1 year ago
First 90% was a good book. End sucked in a meaningless, no point to it, complete let down, way. Like another reviewer said, I wanted to throw my nook across the room. It was not artistic, it was like he just got tired of writing. I will never ever read another book by this author.
The_Old_Spoke More than 1 year ago
From my experience reading five of his books and checking Goodreads and other Internet sources, it seems likely that all of Iain Bank's writing has distinct elements of torture and cruelty in it. So I'm not sure I need to buy any more of his books. His ideas on The Culture in the latest (Hydrogen Sonata) don't seem any more evolved than what I just read in the first Culture novel (Consider Phlebas). He has lots of interesting ideas but I may have seen all the good ones already.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my first Iain Banks book, and I have to say I was disappointed. I haven't read much Space Opera of this sort, but I just could never get hooked on this glacially paced novel, with hard to like or even dislike characters. I am unlikely to read further in this series.
drakevaughn More than 1 year ago
I’m usually a great fan of Iain M. Banks, so I was thrilled to see Consider Phlebas for sale for only a buck. And indeed, the first chapter was thrilling, exactly what I have come to expect from Banks. The problem occurred after the initial rush when the book began to drag on, drag some more, and then just kept dragging. Even the final action-packed chapters were a bore, lasting far too long, and really, by that point, I hardly cared about the outcome. It was only by sheer will that I was able to finish the book. According to Banks, this was a rewrite of a novel he’d done early in his career. I’m sure he gave it a good polish, but the excess baggage shows. Frankly, it moves at a snail’s pace, including the action sequences. However, the biggest flaw was the underdevelopment of the protagonist Horza. Almost superhero-like in his abilities, it was impossible to find any empathy for his cause. His struggle was as meaningless as the war between the Culture and the Idiran empires. There was a lot of blustering philosophical talk, and it came off as a battle of ideas, rather than divergent cultures. So instead of a story with heroes, antagonists, struggles, etc…the book was more of a metaphysical debate. And that’s my greatest pet peeve about sci-fi, philosophy trumping the narrative. All in all, it’s obvious that Consider Phlebas was one of Banks’ earlier works. From the lethargic pace, underdeveloped characters, and overuse of philosophy, the book never quite hits the mark. I’m just thankful Banks was able to overcome these flaws in his later works and become the author I adore today. So, unless you’re a hardcore fan, I suggest skipping this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It poses a couple of interesting questions but at times this looks more like an action novel than a sci-fi novel. Unnecesarily long descriptions of battles and fights that add litlle to the plot or to the few interestinf ideas posed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Picked up this book when it was on sale for 99 cents and still feel i got ripped off. Borring dialog, borring descriptions, borring characters, borring plot, borring story. I think u get the message, had to skip through most of the book to find any intersting parts, which were very few. Dont waste your time or money on this one. ZERO STARS!!!
Alisa Beatty More than 1 year ago
Another book that i had to force myself to read and didnt get very far into. Glad it was only .99.
RMacGegor More than 1 year ago
Decent story for a vignette but 430 pages when it would be best suited to 100. I bought this for 99 cents having never heard of the author. I would not consider myself an avid SF reader, but certainly an avid reader. The author spends considerable energy setting stages that don't ever get used. I don't know if he planned or executed further novels in his Culture series which use any of the information, but if you read this plan on spending significant time reading pages of information to set a scene where a two line conversation occurs - then its off to set another scene. Interesting ending but it falls flat and there is no hook to engage the reader in further investigation of the story arc. Who's Phlebas? Still not sure...
Winterlight00 More than 1 year ago
I got this after seeing it on Nooks Author Spotlight. The blurb was hilariously over the top. Theres some great sf here but it gets drowned in dragged out scenes, top heavy plotting and a non-ending thats just aweful. Great backdrop of societies but really poorly implemented. If your a fan of the series you'll go for it, if not, save time and money by passing this one.
1Christian More than 1 year ago
Like another reviewer wrote, it was like the author got tired of writing and just quit. It held my interest until then. I won't read any more in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book landed on Redit's list of top science first books, piquing my curiosity. I've read all but one or two of the books on that list, but had never heard of "Consider Phlebas". The story just spun its wheels, making lots of commotion but never really going anywhere meaningful. The mind at the core of the book proved to be the most dull super-intelligence in the universe. Launched into the story with style, it never played any role in the plot. It literally could have been a silver balloon, as its appearance was described, and made no difference to the outcome. The rollicking adventure of getting Horza to Schar's world had fun moments (the cannibal scenes were the highlight of the book), but once on the "planet of the dead" the action dragged and the objective seemed not worth the effort. The characters kept making predictable, dumb decisions while repeatedly underestimating their enemy to generate excitement. At the end of any good story, the characters are to have changed, grown, learned something. But there was no growth here. Plenty of potential ruined by a loss of focus and conviction with the story. When it ended, I was glad it was over. And that is sad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couple of twists, i would recomend
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just brilliant, absolutely brilliant
Anonymous More than 1 year ago