Feersum Endjinnby Iain M. Banks
Iain M. Banks, one of speculative fiction's most preeminent writers, once again proves his mastery in this extraordinary tale of a man in search of salvation.In a world where one can lead multiple lives, Count Alandre Sessine VII has survived seven times, and is down to his last, leaving him one final shot at finding his killer. His only clues point to a conspiracy that reaches far beyond his own murder. And survival lies in discovering other fugitives who know the truth about the ultimate weapon of chaos and salvation.
- Gardners Books
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The first Iain Banks novel I read was "The Wasp Factory" - a fantastic book, if somewhat outside of my normal taste range. After a friend recommended "Player of Games", however, I was totally hooked on Banks (and specifically the Culture series). I picked up Feersum Endjinn thinking it was a Culture book - and it seems like it certainly could be in that universe, or a parallel one, although told from the perspective of a definitely non-Culture civilization. In any case - a phenomenal book, tremendous fun - post-collapse remnants of a highly civilized world exploring the detritus left behind by those who escaped. What makes this stand out is the use of language; Banks uses familiar words in more or less standard order, but with completely aberrant spellings - I often had to repeat the phrase "out loud" in my head to get the gist of it. I spent as much time enjoying the language as I did enjoying the plot. If you like Banks, you'll love "Feersum Endjinn"!
The multiple domains occupying Banks' world here are all well-detailed and very interesting, full of truly original motivations and principles. But too much of the furniture of this world (some of it virtual, yet inhabited by anthropomorphic birds... some of it physical, and thousands of feet tall... Why?) hints at mysteries that are not part of the plot or of interest to any of the characters. The resolution attained in this book does not hook in enough of the world to make sense of the whole span. So I felt kind of teased and left dry. His talent and imagination are obviously great, and I am seeking out his later books, hoping they are better plotted.