The Player of Games (Culture Series #2)

The Player of Games (Culture Series #2)

4.4 74
by Iain M. Banks
     
 

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Curgeh is the best, the champion. In the ancient, all-embracing Culture in which there is no disease or disaster, only the endless games, he has beaten them all. But an empire's challenge will teach him what the Game is really all about.

"Striking for its breadth of vision, its ability to suggest the sprawling facets of an old, far-flung culture." --Publishers

Overview

Curgeh is the best, the champion. In the ancient, all-embracing Culture in which there is no disease or disaster, only the endless games, he has beaten them all. But an empire's challenge will teach him what the Game is really all about.

"Striking for its breadth of vision, its ability to suggest the sprawling facets of an old, far-flung culture." --Publishers Weekly

"A genuine and original talent." -- The Detroit News

No serious science fiction fan can resist this seminal novel in Banks' renowned series about the universe of the Culture.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The Culture's greatest game player travels to the Empire of Azad to participate in a complex competition that could settle the fates of two civilizations. Theauthor of Consider Phlebas vividlyportrays an empire ruled by arcane conventions and sophisticated brutality in an ambitious novel of gamesmanship and intrigue. Supple prose and subtle manipulations of plot produce a thought-provoking story which is highly recommended.-- JC

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312026301
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
02/28/1989
Series:
Culture Series, #2
Edition description:
1st U.S. ed
Pages:
288

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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Player of Games 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 74 reviews.
Adam Buecher More than 1 year ago
Ive only recently discovered Banks and his Culture series. This is a very well written and unique universe. In this installment the reader is drawn into competative gaming. Banks keeps the reader riveted through action, interesting characters, and even incomprehensible alien gaming.
GeorgeK More than 1 year ago
I've just starting to get into Iain Banks fairly recently--this is the third book of his I've read. I like his writing style, and his stories are definitely different! I especially like his characterizations of aliens and robots--they really have personalities, sometimes very humorous. The Player of Games wasn't my favorite Banks sci-fi novel so far, but it's very good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good world-building and good clash-of-cultures plot. I'm so glad I discovered Iain Banks' Culture books. I'll read most if not all of them.
JohnnyM More than 1 year ago
Player of Games continues the Culture series of Iain M. Banks sci-fi novels after Consider Phlebus, and if you read that one first, get this one next. I could live in the world of M. Banks' characters from the Culture series and you could, too. Just buy the books. JM
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent story. I highly recommed it--full of new worlds, ideas, characters and situations. Banks is fantastic. His prose is great, his characters alive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some of the best sci-fi
Go4Jugular More than 1 year ago
This is a clever sci-fi novel with a particularly interesting element of game-playing, initially on a personal level for the somewhat enigmatic main character Jernau Gurgeh, then on a societal level as our hero is sent to represent the Culture in its encounter with a militarily powerful but morally suspect Empire. The science fiction elements are strong and the descriptions of both the games and the game-play are interesting, with good action and a plot that moves along at a steady pace. Throughout, the idea of the Culture and the reader's understanding of what it represents and how it works grows - I anticipate subsequent novels will continue to expand on this understanding.
Ethanator More than 1 year ago
This is my second Culture novel (after Consider Phlebas), and I'm definitely on my way to becoming a Banks fanboy (or perhaps a member of the Culture Club?). The idea of the Culture is just so cool. It's a post-scarcity anarcho-socialist paradise that accommodates a vast diversity of humanoid and AI citizens. The Culture isn't an extrapolated Earth future, but rather a galactic civilization that is (at least in Banks's universe) out there right now. If it were out there, I wish we'd join up, at least if they'd have us. For all my (and Banks's?) enthusiasm for the Culture, Consider Phlebas and The Player of Games do occasionally delve into nagging questions about whether Culture citizens are perhaps a bit smug in their superiority and how exactly a behemoth of a free, egalitarian society like the Culture should coexist with less egalitarian societies. But what about this book? Let me start by comparing The Player of Games (PG) with Consider Phlebas(CP). The plot of PG is structured more conventionally, which makes it a lot easier to follow and relate to than CP, so it might be an easier place to start one's journey into the Culture. On the other hand, the protagonist of CP is not a Culture citizen, so the outsider's perspective is maybe a better introduction to the Culture. Gurgeh (the protagonist of PG) is grumpier than most Culture people, but he is (as he discovers along the way) very much a Culture person. Both books have a fair amount of wry humor, especially with the drones (who I love) and even the names of the ships, some of which are hilarious. The Player of Games focuses on Gurgeh, a game player who's growing tired of all the same old games (he's not a "professional" since nobody in the Culture needs to work for a living, but game playing is his main occupation). Special Circumstances (the Culture's answer to MI-6 or the CIA) contacts him with the prospect of playing a game like no other: the game of Azad, which is not only exceedingly complex, but actually forms the basis of political power in the Empire of Azad - yes, the Empire gets its name from the game. One becomes an Emperor by being the best Azad player. Lots of culture clashes (pun intended?) and hilarity ensue as Gurgeh and his AI companions interact with the hierarchical, often cruel society of Azad. I'd really recommend this book to anyone who loves games and what they can tell us about ourselves. It's also just a great deal of well-written science fiction fun! I'm really excited to see what the rest of the Culture novels have in store.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not help but be drawn into this story. It is all the more poignant with news of the author's passing less than a week ago. This book is a part of the Culture series of works and like all of this series it does not disappoint.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fun pleasure read. Not as intense as Culture 1. Ian M. Banks is the best. RIP.
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