Surface Detail (Culture #9)

English language

Published Nov. 2, 2010

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4 stars (2 reviews)

It begins in the realm of the Real, where matter still matters.

It begins with a murder.

And it will not end until the Culture has gone to war with death itself.

Lededje Y'breq is one of the Intagliated, her marked body bearing witness to a family shame, her life belonging to a man whose lust for power is without limit. Prepared to risk everything for her freedom, her release, when it comes, is at a price, and to put things right she will need the help of the Culture.

Benevolent, enlightened and almost infinitely resourceful though it may be, the Culture can only do so much for any individual. With the assistance of one of its most powerful - and arguably deranged - warships, Lededje finds herself heading into a combat zone not even sure which side the Culture is really on. A war - brutal, far-reaching - is …

2 editions

Surface Detail

4 stars

« Surface Detail » est le neuvième et avant-dernier tome du cycle de la Culture de Iain M. Banks. Malgré ses qualité indéniables, c’est peut-être celui que j’ai pris le moins plaisir à lire. Certains passages m’ont beaucoup plu, mais je dois avouer que j’ai fini par me lasser de la multitude de scènes d’action, qui n’ont jamais été mes scènes préférées dans la littérature de science-fiction.

Le roman parle principalement de réalités virtuelles, de religion, de pénitence, et du concept de réalité, le tout au sein d’un récit de vengeance digne d’une tragédie grecque (c’est un compliment venant de moi) et de complots intergalactiques pas toujours aisés à suivre. Nous suivons plusieurs personnages plus ou moins sympathiques et attachants : il y a ceux dont j’ai suivi les aventures avec plaisir, ceux que j’ai adoré détester, ceux qui m’ont ému, et ceux qui m’ont laissé totalement indifférent.

Ce roman …

reviewed Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks

Flawed but enjoyable.

3 stars

I think Banks wanted to write something of a critique of late stage capitalism (Culture novels in general being a variant of Space Communism). Unfortunately the villain is a bit too much of a parody for my taste. I also found the first third of the book a bit of a slog, as the various in-Hell plot lines involve a fair amount of gratuitous violence and suffering, and don't obviously go anywhere.

That said, I did find the last 2/3 fairly engaging and fun.

I suspect people who are sensitive to the portrayal of sexual violence should not read this book.