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The Player of Games (Culture Series #2)

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Overview

The Culture - a human/machine symbiotic society - has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. The Player of Games. Master of every board, computer and strategy. Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game...a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the ...

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The Player of Games (Culture Series #2)

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Overview

The Culture - a human/machine symbiotic society - has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. The Player of Games. Master of every board, computer and strategy. Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game...a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the challenge of his life - and very possibly his death.

Praise for Iain M. Banks:

"Poetic, humorous, baffling, terrifying, sexy — the books of Iain M. Banks are all these things and more" — NME

"An exquisitely riotous tour de force of the imagination which writes its own rules simply for the pleasure of breaking them." — Time Out

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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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316005401
  • Publisher: Orbit
  • Publication date: 3/26/2008
  • Series: Culture Series , #2
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 87,389
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 1.32 (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 4.5
( 74 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(43)

4 Star

(25)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 74 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 5, 2011

    Gripping

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2010

    You can live here too!

    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

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good book

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    Among Books by Iain Banks, One of the Best

    .

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2011

    Good world-building

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2011

    Great read

    This book was hard to put down and makes good societal comentary.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2001

    This book is hard to put down!

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    Brilliant Author, Brilliant Book

    Some of the best sci-fi

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  • Posted November 17, 2013

    This is a clever sci-fi novel with a particularly interesting el

    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.

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  • Posted November 16, 2013

    The Culture is awesome and so is this book

    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

    Posted June 18, 2013

    Splendid

    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

    Posted June 13, 2013

    A fun pleasure read. Not as intense as Culture 1. Ian M. Banks i

    A fun pleasure read. Not as intense as Culture 1. Ian M. Banks is the best. RIP.

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    Posted March 7, 2010

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    Posted September 24, 2011

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    Posted March 30, 2010

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    Posted May 19, 2011

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    Posted June 7, 2011

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    Posted May 21, 2011

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    Posted June 4, 2011

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    Posted November 18, 2011

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 74 Customer Reviews

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