So I found this on the shelf the other day and wondered why it had no creases on the spine...turns out I hadn't read it yet! But now I have, and I'm here to tell you that Excession
is a most excellent
Culture novel. I've always been fascinated by Banks's Minds, and this time we are introduced to LOTS of them, in conversation, in conspiracy, in exploration, in war.Excession
paints a picture of how the Culture's Minds deal with an Outside Context Problem, introduces the Affront - a species at the same time intriguing and revolting - and tells a love story that spans half a century.
The reason I didn't give it five stars is that I found Banks's human protagonists slightly annoying this time round; and that some of the characters spent way too much time ruminating on life, the universe, and everything else... When there's an Excession out there and a war brewing, the long quiet moments in the book weren't so much a welcome break as a slightly upsetting hold-up in proceedings.
awesome tech - check
cool aliens - check
best ship names ever - check (for the record, my favourites were the Serious Callers Only
, the Not Invented Here
, and the Shoot Them Later
humour - check (human-drone interaction will never be not funny)
physics I don't get - check
unputdownable - BINGO.
If you like your science fiction hard, and especially if you like Culture novels, I think you might like this.