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 already raging within the digital realms that store the souls of the dead, and it's about to erupt into reality.
It started in the realm of the Real and that is where it will end. It will touch countless lives and affect entire civilizations, but at the center of it all is a young woman whose need for revenge masks another motive altogether.
SURFACE DETAIL is Iain M. Banks' new Culture novel, a breathtaking achievement from a writer whose body of work is without parallel in the modern history of science fiction.
Who Do Work For?
The Business, a nearly omnipotent enterprise, is so infinitely discreet that even its top executives are vague about its actual business. It predates the Christian church and counts among its vast riches dozens of Michelangelo's pornographic paintings and several sets of Crown jewels. The only thing it lacks is political clout, a problem the Business plans to solve by buying a nation and joining the United Nations. Kate Telman, the Business's foremost expert on emerging technologies, is chosen to lead the effort. As this beautiful, ambitious American woman pursues the ultimate prize for her highly secretive transglobal employer, Iain Banks -- whom of London calls "the most imaginative British novelist of his generation" -- offers a portrait of today's ubiquitous multinational corporations. Already a bestseller in England, paints a picture that is at once wickedly satirical and frighteningly familiar.
The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization.
An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they've made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence.
Amid preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted—dead, not alive. Aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command. She must find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago.
It seems that the final days of the Gzilt civilization are likely to prove its most perilous.
The first ever collection of Iain Banks's short fiction, this volume includes the acclaimed novella, The State of the Art. This is a striking addition to the growing body of Culture lore, and adds definition and scale to the previous works by using the Earth of 1977 as contrast. The other stories in the collection range from science fiction to horror, dark-coated fantasy to morality tale. All bear the indefinable stamp of Iain Banks's staggering talent.
The Culture is a far-future society of seemingly limitless resources and infinite technological possibilities. Yet the Culture is far from perfect, and it is still subject to brutal wars, political upheaval and intrusions from beyond the edges of known space. With extraordinary imaginative scope and storytelling prowess, Iain M. Banks’ new Culture novel will be one of the most highly anticipated SF novels of the year.
It was one of the less glorious incidents of the Idiran wars that led to the destruction of two suns and the billions of lives they supported. Now, 800 years later, the light from the first of those deaths has reached the Culture’s Masaq’ Orbital. A Chelgrian emissary is dispatched to the Culture.
Iain Banks' daring new novel opens in a loft apartment in the East End, in a former factory due to be knocked down in a few days. Ken Nott is a devoutly contrarian vaguely left wing radio shock-jock living in LondonAfter a wedding breakfast people start dropping fruits from a balcony on to a deserted carpark ten storeys below, then they start dropping other things; an old TV that doesn't work, a blown loudspeaker, beanbags, other unwanted furniture…Then they get carried away and start dropping things that are still working, while wrecking the rest of the apartment. But mobile phones start ringing and they're told to turn on a TV, because a plane has just crashed into the World Trade Centre. At ease with the volatility of modernity, Iain Banks is also our most accomplished literary writer of narrative-driven adventure stories that never ignore the injustices and moral conundrums of the real world. His new novel, displays his trademark dark wit, buoyancy and momentum. It will be one of the most important novels of 2002.
She came from one of the more disreputable aristocratic families.
Sharrow was once the leader of a personality-attuned combat team in one of the sporadic little commercial wars in the civilization based around the planet Golter. On an island with a glass shore – relic of some even more ancient conflict – she discovers she is to be hunted by the Huhsz, a religious cult which believes she is the last obstacle before their faith's apotheosis. She has to run, knowing her only hope of finally escaping the Huhsz is to find the last of the ancient, apocalyptically powerful but seemingly cursed Lazy Guns. But that is just the first as well as the final step on a search that takes her on an odyssey through the exotic Golterian system and results in both a trail of destruction and a journey into her own past, as well as that of her family and the system itself;
a journey that changes everything.
It is 4034 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 the year.
The Nasqueron Dwellers inhabit a gas giant on the outskirts of the galaxy, in a system awaiting its wormhole connection to the rest of civilisation. 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. Seconded to a military-religious order he’s barely heard of — part of the baroque hierarchy of the Mercatoria, the latest galactic hegemony — Fassin Taak has to travel again amongst the Dwellers. He is in search of a secret hidden for half a billion years. But with each day that passes a war draws closer — a war that threatens to overwhelm everything and everyone he’s ever known.
As complex, turbulent, flamboyant and spectacular as the gas giant on which it is set, the new science fiction novel from Iain M. Banks is space opera on a truly epic scale.
Nominated for Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2005.
Graham Park is in love. But Sara Ffitch is an enigma to him, a creature of almost perverse mystery. Steven Grout is paranoid - and with justice. He knows that They are out to get him. They are. Quiss, insecure in his fabulous if ramshackle castle, is forced to play interminable impossible games. The solution to the oldest of all paradoxical riddles will release him. But he must find an answer before he knows the question.
Park, Grout, Quiss - no trio could be further apart. But their separate courses are set for collision...
"A feast of horrors, variously spiced with incest, conspiracy, and cheerful descriptions of torture... fine writing" The Times
"The author's powerful imagination is displayed again here every bit as vividly as in his debut" Financial Times
"Establishes beyond doubt that lain Banks is a novelist of remarkable talents" Daily Telegraph
Enter — if you can bear it — the extraordinary private world of Frank, just sixteen, and unconventional, to say the least.
"Two years after I killed Blyth I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different and more fundamental reasons than I'd disposed of Blyth, and then a year after that I did for my young cousin Esmerelda, more or less on a whim.
"That's my score to date. Three. I haven't killed anybody for years, and don't intend to ever again.
"It was just a stage I was going through."
The war is ending, but for the occupants of the castle, their troubles are just beginning. Armed gangs roam a lawless land, and the castle becomes the focus of a dangerous game of desire, deceit and death to one particular outlawed captain. From the author of WHIT, THE CROW ROAD and COMPLICITY.
n. 1. the fact of being an accomplice, esp. in a criminal act
A few spliffs, a spot of mild S&M, phone through the copy for tomorrow's front page, catch up with the latest from your mystery source — could be big, could be very big — in fact, just a regular day at the office for free-wheeling, substance-abusing Cameron Colley, a fully-paid-up Gonzo hack on an Edinburgh newspaper.
The source is pretty thin, but Cameron senses a scoop and checks out a series of bizarre deaths from a few years ago — only to find that the police are checking out a series of bizarre deaths that are happening right now. And Cameron just might know more about it than he'd care to admit…
Involvement; connection; liability — Complicity is a stunning exploration of the morality of greed, corruption and violence, venturing fearlessly into the darker recesses of human purpose.
'A remarkable novel… superbly Grafted, funny and intelligent" Times
'A stylishly executed and well produced study in fear, loathing and victimisation which moves towards doom in measured steps" Observer
'Compelling and sinister… a very good thriller" Glasgow Herald
'Fast moving… tightly plotted" Sunday Times
Two and a half millennia ago, the artifact appeared in a remote corner of space, beside a trillion-year old dying sun from a different universe. It was a perfect black-body sphere, and it did nothing. Then it disappeared. Now it is back.
Silent, motionless, and resisting all efforts to make contact, the artifact waits. The Culture ships, however, cannot. For the artifact is something they need to understand first, before it falls into less understanding hands — and triggers a political and military crisis which will threaten everything the Culture has achieved.
One person who saw the artifact when it first appeared may have information concerning its purpose, but she is living out her death in the immense Eccentric ship, the . The Culture ships formulate a plan to retrieve her. The has other things on its mind.
A novel of extraordinary imagination, richness and energy, is Iain M. Banks at his magnificent best.
Some years ago, rocks and fire fell from the sky and the old Empire fell with them. In the lands released from that crushing hegemony, a new world order is about to emerge. Two people in particular can see all this in a wider context.
In the winter palace, the King’s new physician has more enemies than she at first realises. But then she also has more remedies to hand than those who wish her ill can know about.
In another palace across the mountains, in the service of the regicidal Protector General, the chief bodyguard too has his enemies. But his enemies strike more swiftly, and his means of combating them are more traditional.
Both the doctor and the bodyguard have at least one person they care for deeply and who cares for them. None of them, however, can risk saying so.
This is the story of two stories. Spiralling round a central core of secrecy, deceit, love and betrayal — and linked more closely than even those involved can know — each climbs to its own devastating climax.
The Culture — a human/machine symbiotic society — has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. Player of Games. Master of every board, computer and strategy.
Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game … a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the challenge of his life — and very possibly his death.
The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction; coldblooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist.
Principals were at stake. There could be no surrender.
Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction.
Cheradenine is an ex-“special circumstance” agent who had been raised to eminence by a woman named Diziet. Skaffen-Amtskaw, the drone, had saved her life and it believes Cheradenine to be a burnt-out case. But not even its machine intelligence can see the horrors in his past.
A little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing…
Innocent in the ways of the world, an when it comes to pop and fashion, the Elect of God of a small but committed Stirlingshire religious cult: Isis Whit is no ordinary teenager.
When her cousin Morag - Guest of Honour at the Luskentyrian's four-yearly Festival of Love - disappears after renouncing her faith, Isis is marked out to venture among the Unsaved and bring the apostate back into the fold. But the road to Babylondon (as Sister Angela puts it) is a treacherous one, particularly when Isis discovers the Morag appears to have embraced the ways of the Unsaved with spectacular abandon …
Truth and falsehood; kinship and betrayal; 'herbal' cigarettes and compact discs - Whit is an exploration of the techno-ridden barrenness of modern Britain from a unique perspective.
'Fierce contemporaneity, an acrobatic imagination, social comment, sardonic wit ... the peculiar sub-culture of cult religion is a natural for Banks, and Luskentyrianism is a fine creation'
'One of the most relentlessly voyaging imaginations around'
'Banks is a phenomenon ...I suspect we have actual laws against this sort of thing, in the United States, but Iain Banks, whether you take him with the "M" or without, is currently a legal import'
'Entertaining ... comically inspired'
Hisako Onoda, world famous cellist, refuses to fly. And so she travels through the Panama Canal as a passenger on a tanker bound for Europe. But Panama is a country whose politics are as volatile as the local freedom fighters. When Hisako's ship is captured, it is not long before the atmosphere is as flammable as an oxy-acetylene torch, and the tension as sharp as the spike on her cello…
'Apocalyptic is the first word that springs to mind to describe this violent and powerful novel in which Banks once again demonstrates his extraordinary dark powers of imagination… impressive'
'Currents of dark wit swirl through Banks' writing, enriching its buoyancy… and, like Graham Greene, he can readily open the reader's senses to the «foreignness» of places'
'Extraordinary, brilliant, bloody'