It is AD. Humanity has made it to the stars. Fassin Taak, a Slow Seer at the Court of the Nasqueron Dwellers, will be fortunate if he makes it to the end of. Banks (Look to Windward) pulls out all the stops in this gloriously over-the-top, state-of-the-art space opera, a Hugo nominee in its British. The Algebraist is peak Iain M. Banks. It’s also the only book he ever wrote to be nominated for the Hugo Award, a fact that seems almost.

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Banks as a writer is capable of delivering great novels – he did it algebarist The Wasp Factory, and also in The Bridge, where he made few bamks to his love of analysis and no concessions at all to the reader. He did this in Consider Phlebas, and again here in The Algebraist.

Jan 02, Sandi rated it liked it Recommended to Sandi by: He is in search of a secret hidden for half a billion years.

This book turned me off to reading anything else by him. Retrieved 3 August Unfortunately, the monstrous ruler of a nearby star system has also learned of this discovery, as has the Mercatoria itself. Well-written and certainly a bar-raiser for the SF genre. After his first three mainstream novels his publishers agreed to publish his first SF novel, Consider Phlebas.

Not only does it lend weight to the fantastic futures he envisions, the exposition in and of itself is fascinating stuff. Taak is hired by the Shrievalty Ocula, a religious branch of the Mercatoria, the reigning galactic hegemony, to find out whether this is true, as most of their own wormhole portals have been destroyed in a previous war, rendering space travel, shall we say, slow.

That doesn’t stop until I get what I want!

Banks returns to widescreen space-opera in this non-Culture standalone, featuring the galaxy-spanning multispecies, oxygen-breathing Mercatoria empire and its interactions with the more-numerous gas-giant Dwellers, who seem to have colonized most of the jovians in the Milky Way.


Let me start by saying Banks is a master author.

Due to their practically immortal life span they live in “slow algebraiat basically doing everything at a slow speed relative to how humans a Quick species live. I don’t believe I’ve ever read a novel where a creature who consists of merely a sac of gas can quip violently funny tirades.

Much of this is down to great characters and witty dialogue. A Slow Seer whose expertise is in communicating with the Dwellers—a whimsical gas-giant native species whose individual members measure their lifespans in billions of years.

Unfortunately it would also be a boon for war. Fassin Taak, a Slow Seer at the Court of the Nasqueron Dwellers, will be fortunate if he makes it to the end of the year.

Iain M. Banks The Algebraist Reviewed by Rick Kleffel

We get a real treat of far future cultures and alien aliens that just happen to take the term “gas-bag” and OWN it. The wash of smart thought and the set-piece dynamics keep the reader at arm’s length. I was a little puzzled by the subplot involving Saluus Kehar and Kehar Heavy Industries — he’s like a 43d century Tony Stark, all wound up with the military-industrial complex, yet his story never really goes anywhere big.

This very overwhelming, mind-blanking quality as if I were a Banks character myself—they’re always getting their memories tampered banke, at least in this book prevents me from being as enthusiastic about this book as I might otherwise be.

Other than being Banks’ device to create tension, he did almost nothing to actually enrich the story. But then I got into the intrigue, the spy stuff, the big mystery with these floating aliens that goes way beyond the fact they’ve been around for 10 billion years. I suppose that everyone has gaps in their reading, authors they’d love to have read but have not yet got round to. Banks though complicates this by breaking up the chronology and perspectives.


The Dwellers List is rumoured to contain a list of the locations of an inter algbraist wormhole network that can transport you anywhere within the network of wormholes at near light speed.

All of Luseferous’ deep-dyed villainy was thwarted in the blink of an eye. It is not exactly technobabble either.

The Algebraist 7 31 Feb 07, Probably my biggest beef with the book was the liberal use of the f-word. It remains unclear whether the Dwellers will give the necessary cooperation in allowing other species access to their ganks, now that the secret is out.

The Dwellers, who experience time at a slower rate than humans and other races throughout the galaxy are a fascinating thought experiment.

The Algebraist

In the meantime, they are dismissed as decadents living in a state of highly developed barbarism, hoarding data without order, hunting their own young and fighting pointless formal wars.

The number of sentence paragraphs I stopped to count was indicative of the stupidly irritating roadblocks that were being thrown in the way of my appreciation. He’s intelligent, ruthless, and sadistic. He was a signatory to the Declaration of Calton Hill, which calls for Scottish independence. Banks is most famous for his post-scarcity AI-dominated Culture space opera series, I suspect his non-Culture novels often get less attention.

I’ll share that answer with you if and when they reply. In lateBanks was a prominent member of a group of British politicians and media figures who campaigned to have Prime Minister Tony Blair impeached following the invasion of Iraq.

That alone is enough to make the book worth reading. The limited edition will be bound in leather and will signed by Iain M.