Matter (Culture Series #7)

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Overview

In a world renowned even within a galaxy full of wonders, a crime within a war. For one man it means a desperate flight, and a search for the one - maybe two - people who could clear his name. For his brother it means a life lived under constant threat of treachery and murder. And for their sister, even without knowing the full truth, it means returning to a place she'd thought abandoned forever.

Only the sister is not what she once was; Djan Seriy Anaplian has changed almost ...

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Matter (Culture Series #7)

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Overview

In a world renowned even within a galaxy full of wonders, a crime within a war. For one man it means a desperate flight, and a search for the one - maybe two - people who could clear his name. For his brother it means a life lived under constant threat of treachery and murder. And for their sister, even without knowing the full truth, it means returning to a place she'd thought abandoned forever.

Only the sister is not what she once was; Djan Seriy Anaplian has changed almost beyond recognition to become an agent of the Culture's Special Circumstances section, charged with high-level interference in civilizations throughout the greater galaxy.

Concealing her new identity - and her particular set of abilities - might be a dangerous strategy, however. In the world to which Anaplian returns, nothing is quite as it seems; and determining the appropriate level of interference in someone else's war is never a simple matter.

MATTER is a novel of dazzling wit and serious purpose. An extraordinary feat of storytelling and breathtaking invention on a grand scale, it is a tour de force from a writer who has turned science fiction on its head.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In this truly vanguard far-future novel, Iain M. Banks returns to the vast interstellar civilization of The Culture for the first time since his acclaimed 2000 fiction Look to Windward. This is a major work: Banks describes it as "a shelf-breaker…. so complicated that even its complexity is complex." That it is, but Matter is also enthralling, filled with captivating details about a human/machine symbiotic society in which resources seem limitless and advanced technologies stagger the mind. However, violent problems lurk beneath this deep façade of calm, causing fissures that could rock this utopia.
Publishers Weekly

This magnificent eighth novel (after 2000's Look to Windward) of the Culture, an interstellar posthuman civilization of incredible wealth and technological sophistication, centers on three siblings: Ferbin and Oramen, the misfit heirs of conquering King Hausk of the Sarl, who rules a backward and patriarchal realm deep beneath the surface of the artificial "Shellworld" Sursamen, and their exiled sister, Djan, now a powerful agent of the Culture's Special Circumstances division. When King Hausk is murdered, Ferbin narrowly avoids the conspirators and sets out across the galaxy to ask Djan's help with revenge against the killer, now serving as Oramen's regent. Soon they learn of the horrific forces a hidden enemy is about to unleash on Sursamen, and must race to save the home that has rejected them both. Beautifully written and filled with memorable characters and startling technology, this tale of intricate politics and interstellar warfare ably demonstrates that Banks is still at the height of his powers. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

Fans of the sf alter ego of literary fiction writer Banks will welcome his new Culture novel. The Culture, a highly evolved humanoid and machine civilization that spans the universe, is described from the point of view of a princess, Djan, given to the Culture by her warlord father. Now a highly trained Culture special circumstances agent, Djan returns to her home world on Sursamen, a fabricated sphere of 12 concentric worlds, created billions of years ago by a long vanished species, to act in a complex web of intra- and interspecies intrigue. Writing with a flowing and optimistic style and with much humor, the author portrays a fully imagined utopian future made possible by technology and a benignant world view, which contrasts with the many worlds depicted still struggling with war, famine, and disease. An appendix with lists of characters, species, and vocabulary terms is a great aid to the reader. Recommended for all libraries with contemporary literature collections.-Sara Rutter, Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa Lib., Honolulu

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316005371
  • Publisher: Orbit
  • Publication date: 2/10/2009
  • Series: Culture Series , #7
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 624
  • Sales rank: 241,552
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 1.67 (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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 44 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(19)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 44 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 28, 2009

    Not Iain M. Banks's best work

    I'm a fan of the author's previous work, but this book disappointed me. Banks is an excellent writer, and any given page of Matter is enjoyable to read, but its plot is flawed. Two of the three major plot lines meander aimlessly, with no narrative conflict. The third is meatier, but while it is definitely put to rest, the way in which this is done feels more like a betrayal of the reader's trust than a resolution. Finally, the book's climactic moments are only tangenitally related to all that came before.

    I'd like to believe that the book that was published was not the book that Mr. Banks planned to write, and that external pressures resulted in the wounded, seemingly truncated thing that is Matter. As it is, however, I can't recommend this book, even to fans of his work.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2010

    Brilliant plot idea, but disappointing end

    This book reads great through the first 400 pages or so.. An intriguing plot with interesting characters is carefully built up, leading the reader to expect a grand and satisfying finale, where every thread of the story will be resolved. Instead the book ends in way that makes one think the author lost interest in bringing the story to an end. Antagonists and protagonists alike are suddenly and quite absurdly extinguished by something neither they nor the reader saw coming. On the last few pages a lame end is compressed and not even the epilogue can really help to resolve it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    decent read, great last 100 pages

    This was my second Iain M Banks "Culture" novel. The first one I read was "Use of Weapons". Several early chapters were a "hard read". I had to push myself. The last half of the book flowed much better, and the last 100 pages were excellent, with a good ending. "Use of Weapons" was more captivating, beginning to end, for me. That one I'd give 5 stars plus

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2008

    What a slog

    I love this guy's stuff, but this one was a 500 page slog to get to the end where the last 100 pages are as exciting as any sci-fi techno thriller. I just wish that the whole book could have been as good, or at least about 300 pages shorter!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2014

    Not his best work, read "Surface Detail" and "Exc

    Not his best work, read "Surface Detail" and "Excession" for that, but it is very complicated, very funny and full of wondrous what-ifs. The books are sometimes work, but I love them; Absolutely my favorite author. To bad there will be no more "Culture" novels. Banks died in 2013.

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  • Posted August 18, 2011

    Space Opera it is not....

    It took me most of the book to really get into it. The world of Banks' Culture is immense; though he tends to use huge numbers to describe gargatuan objects and the like, his prose never really makes you feel overwhelmed (in the good way), like other well written space opera can. I needed to take a crash course on the Culture Wiki to be fully drawn into what was happening. Then, just as I started to care, I experienced one of the most unsatisfactory endings ever.
    Bleh.

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  • Posted December 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    REALLY complicated book

    This is the story of a world, that has at least 9 levels, that has several races inhabiting the worlds levels and a whole bunch more lurking above it. The races certainly look funny, our race can apparently not only change sex, but can look like a shrubbery if we want. Main characters end up being marginalized. Sidekicks can be really interesting, but we're not going to persue it. We're going to chase after an important contact, seeing unusual, really unusual worlds, and when FINALLY we get to the contact. He's talking to thin air and uninterested. Ok, next chapter. Iain Banks really loves a certain waterfall, he waxes poetic for pages and pages which is a central theme, or not...it's whats IN the waterfall. da da da dum. Bottom line for me - a continued to pick it up to finish it, not because I couldn't put it down in the first place.

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    Posted February 17, 2012

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