February Books 16) Matter

16) Matter, by Iain M. Banks

The latest Culture novel by Banks; speaking in Brussels a couple of weeks ago, he said that he felt he is mellowing as he gets older, and the book is strikingly domestic – I can’t think of another Culture book which has such a focus on family. Here we follow the tale of three royal siblings – the sister who ran away from a primitive society to join the Culture, the older brother who is on the run believed dead in battle, and the younger brother who has accidentally become king – as the main set of plot strands. The background for much of the story is the Shell world on which the family originate, a massive nested structure of concentric spheres, more reminiscent of Ringworld than Rama but borrowing from both. I found it not a stretching but a satisfying read; the ending was abrupt, but fitted reasonably well with the accelerating pace throughout the book. If I’m nominating for next year’s Hugos this will probably get a vote from me.

One thought on “February Books 16) Matter

  1. Thanks. There are always suprises with processes such as this; I suppose we’ll find out shortly!
    For a political geek (like me!) it would be interesting to see what might happen to East Londonderry. Its not inconceiveable that it could be enlarged gaining much of Magherafelt council is it?
    That could turn into a personal grudge match of epic proportions between Gregory Campbell and Martin McGuiness- two men from the same city, contesting a knife-edge seat in which both have previously represented as MP’s.
    I think them two are itching to take each other on!

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