Banks, Iain M.

"Against a Dark Background" Iain M. Banks

The last of the Iain M. Banks books we own is the non-Culture book Against a Dark Background. This story is set in some indeterminate future (or secondary world) and follows Sharrow as she tries to find the artifact that will buy off the people who're hunting her - without losing too much in the process.

Sharrow is a member of the aristocracy, one of the party people with access to the wealth and lifestyle that implies. Expelled from several finishing schools she describes herself as a difficult child who became an easy adolescent.

"Consider Phlebas" Iain M. Banks

I've been dragging my heels about writing up this book ever since I finished reading it nearly a month ago, because I've got no idea what to say about it. Consider Phlebas is the story of a Changer called Horza. Changers can alter their physiology to make themselves into a mimic of a person, and so make good spies or military agents. Horza is a minor figure in a vast war between the Indirans and the Culture. The war is about expansion and politics and beliefs, of course, but Horza's part in it is down to a simple principle.

"Look to Windward" Iain M. Banks

I took two Iain M. Banks books away on holiday, this was the other one. Look to Windward is also set in his Culture universe, this time centring on some visitors to a Culture Orbital. An Orbital is a massive artificial habitat orbiting a star inhabited by tens of billions of people (human, alien, AI), all run by a single AI. As the story opens the Orbital is gearing up for ceremonies to mark the appearance of light from two supernovas that are 800 light years away.

"Use of Weapons" Iain M. Banks

I'm reading through the Iain M. Banks in "the order they are on the shelf" which I have a suspicion might be random. Most (all?) of the half a dozen or so that we own are standalone I believe, so this should work out OK. I'm pretty sure I've read all of them before but sufficiently long ago that I can't remember what happens.

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