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[TNT] Sonic Goo

UNITY book club!

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I've just finished The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks. This is the second in the series of Culture books, after Consider Phlebas. I didn't really like Consider Phlebas - it's more like an action movie, where the hero is put in a situation, works himself out and moves on to the next. Nevertheless I gave The Player of Games a chance, because I was intrigued by the idea of the Culture. And I'm glad I did. Not that that much more of the Culture is revealed, but it's a much better book. What I like about science fiction are the ideas, and this book has a much bigger depth of ideas than the previous one.

 

In short, it's about a member of the Culture, good at all kinds of games, who's recruited to go to the empire of Azad, where they play a game (of the same name) that's so intricate and important that the winner is made emperor. As he spends more time there, the player starts to understand the society and the game as a metaphor for that society. That's, of course, apart from all the assassination attempts, sex, drugs, rock'n'roll and mysterious machinations behind the scenes. Which leads to an epic action packed finale on a planet that's perpetually on fire (mind you, this was written long before those prequels came out).

 

So, if there's anyone here who had read Consider Phlebas and given up - do try The Player of Games, since it's much better. :)

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If you'd like to read an incredible fictionalized history of the birth of modern technology, read Neil Stephenson's Baroque Cycle. It's in 3 volumes of about 1000 pages each, and I can't stop reading it. Incredibly cool. Takes technology's rebirth in the 17th century from alchemy to the industrial revolution, and includes lots of good stuff on Isaac Newton, Leibnitz, and the other natural philosophers of the Royal Society. I know it sounds like as much fun as watching paint dry, but if you know anything about neil stephenson, maybe you'll give it a try.

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