Transition
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Transition

3.7 29
by Iain M. Banks
     
 

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There is a world that hangs suspended between triumph and catastrophe, between the dismantling of the Wall and the fall of the Twin Towers, frozen in the shadow of suicide terrorism and global financial collapse. Such a world requires a firm hand and a guiding light. But does it need the Concern: an all-powerful organization with a malevolent presiding genius,

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Overview

There is a world that hangs suspended between triumph and catastrophe, between the dismantling of the Wall and the fall of the Twin Towers, frozen in the shadow of suicide terrorism and global financial collapse. Such a world requires a firm hand and a guiding light. But does it need the Concern: an all-powerful organization with a malevolent presiding genius, pervasive influence and numberless invisible operatives in possession of extraordinary powers?

Among those operatives are Temudjin Oh, of mysterious Mongolian origins, an un-killable assassin who journeys between the peaks of Nepal, a version of Victorian London and the dark palaces of Venice under snow; Adrian Cubbish, a restlessly greedy City trader; and a nameless, faceless state-sponsored torturer known only as the Philosopher, who moves between time zones with sinister ease. Then there are those who question the Concern: the bandit queen Mrs. Mulverhill, roaming the worlds recruiting rebels to her side; and Patient 8262, under sedation and feigning madness in a forgotten hospital ward, in hiding from a dirty past.

There is a world that needs help; but whether it needs the Concern is a different matter.

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Editorial Reviews

Not easily described or abandoned, Iain M. Banks' Transition situates itself in a realm of permeable worlds where operatives, some of them invisible, move on missions of control or rebellion. In hardcover, this apocalyptic fable generated worthy reviews. Now in paperback; a fine hop and a leap for crossover fiction readers.

Michael Dirda
…wildly entertaining…longtime readers of science fiction will find much that is vaguely familiar in Transition. The decadent civilization of Calbefraques and the act of "transitioning" both call to mind Alfred Bester's seminal masterpiece, The Stars My Destination. The mental control of other people's bodies and the sparring between powerful super-minds suggests Dan Simmons's Carrion Comfort. The novel's overall current of paranoia adds a soupcon of "The Matrix" and Philip K. Dick…Suffice it to say that surprises are in store, as well as much slightly kinky lovemaking, a deliberate disordering of the senses in several bravura stylistic passages and, finally, a classic white-knuckle climax on the Rialto Bridge in Venice. Be sure to read the epilogue.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Banks's latest novel opens with a warning from "Patient 8262" stating that he or she is an unreliable narrator, before the epic takes off, plunging the reader into a whirlwind of intricately constructed characters and detailed accounts of their experiences as they "flit" across multiple Earths. The cast of characters include Adrian, the greedy city trader, emblematic of the selfishness needed to become a "traveler"; the Philosopher, an assassin who despises killing; a catch-me-if-you-can rogue operative named Mrs. Mulverhill; and the imperious Madame d'Ortolan, possibly the leader of the Concern, a vast multi-world organization that claims to protect worlds from chaos, but may also hide a greater, darker purpose. Banks's prose is elegant and electric and his story dizzying, but inevitable contradictions are brilliantly tied together-the only way many characters maintain sanity is to question everything, and readers would be well-advised to do the same. Banks manages the neat feat of synthesizing 19th-century style with the cutting edge, the irreverent with the philosophical, and the intellectual with the adventurous.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316071994
Publisher:
Orbit
Publication date:
09/15/2010
Series:
Culture Series
Pages:
420
Sales rank:
597,771
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.20(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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