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Inversions - Iain M. Banks - USED Book

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Inversions - Iain M. Banks  - USED Book

Inversions - Iain M. Banks - USED Book

Used Trade Paperback ex-library book in good condition

A Culture Novel

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. He also has at least one person he cares for deeply and who cares for him, though neither can risk saying so.

Spiralling round a central core of secrecy, deceit, love and betrayal, two stories - linked more closely than even those involved can know - climb to a devastating climax.

About The Culture

The Culture is a fictional anarchist, socialistic, and utopian society created by the Scottish writer Iain M. Banks and described by him in several of his novels and shorter fictions.

The Culture is characterised by being a post-scarcity society (meaning that its advanced technologies provide practically limitless material wealth and comforts for everyone for free, having all but abolished the concept of possessions), by having overcome almost all physical constraints on life (including disease and death) and by being an almost totally egalitarian, stable society without the use of any form of force or compulsion, except where necessary to protect others. The effect and control that 'Minds' – the extremely powerful AIs that administer this affluence for the benefit of all – have over the Culture is very central both to the setting and as a narrative constraint. As one commentator has expressed it:

"In vesting all power in his individualistic, sometime eccentric, but always benign, AI Minds, Banks knew what he was doing; this is the only way a liberal anarchy could be achieved, by taking what is best in humans and placing it beyond corruption, which means out of human control. The danger involved in this imaginative step, though, is clear; one of the problems with the Culture novels as novels is that the central characters, the Minds, are too powerful and, to put it bluntly, too good."

The novels of the Culture cycle, therefore, mostly deal with people at the fringes of the Culture – diplomats, spies or mercenaries – those who interact with other civilisations, and who do the Culture's dirty work in moving those societies closer to the Culture ideal, sometimes by force.

Consider Phlebas (1987)

The first Culture novel. Its protagonist is working for the religious Idiran Empire against the Culture. A rich, although basically linear story about rescuing one of the artificial sentiences of the Culture, it takes place against the backdrop of the galaxy-spanning Idiran War.

The Player of Games (1988)

A brilliant though bored games player from the Culture is entrapped and blackmailed to work as a Special Circumstances agent in the brutal stellar Empire of Azad. Their system of society and government is entirely based on an elaborate strategy game.

Use of Weapons (1990)

A non-linear story about a Culture mercenary called Zakalwe. Chapters describing his adventures for Special Circumstances are intercut with stories from his past, where the reader slowly discovers why this man is so troubled.

The State of the Art (1991)

A collection of short stories (some Culture, some not) and a Culture novella. The (eponymous) novella deals with a Culture mission to Earth in the 1970s.

Excession (1996)

Culture Minds discover an Outside Context Problem: something so strange it could shake the foundations of their civilisation.

Inversions (1998)

Seemingly a Special Circumstances mission seen from the other side – on a planet whose development is roughly equivalent to 13th Century Europe. This novel is not labelled as "A Culture Novel", but is widely regarded as being set in the same milieu.

Look to Windward (2000)

Sequel of sorts to Consider Phlebas. The Culture has interfered in the development of the Chel with disastrous consequences. Now, in the light of a star that was destroyed 800 years previously during the Idiran War, plans for revenge are being hatched.

Matter (2008)

Djan Seriy Anaplian, a Special Circumstances agent, returns to her war-torn feudal world. The Culture has to decide whether or not to involve itself in this world's problems.

 

About the Author Iain M. Banks

Banks's father was an officer in the Admiralty and his mother was once a professional ice skater. Iain M. Banks studied English, philosophy, and psychology at the University of Stirling. After attending the University of Stirling, Iain M. Banks moved to London and lived in the south of England until 1988 when he returned to Scotland, living in Edinburgh and then Fife. In February 2007, Iain M. Banks sold his extensive car collection, including a bottle green 3.2 litre Porsche Boxster, a burgundy Porsche 911 Turbo, a 3.8 litre Jaguar Mark II, a 5 litre black BMW M5 and a daily use diesel Land Rover Defender whose power he had boosted by about 50%. Iain M. Banks traded all of the vehicles for a Lexus RX 400h hybrid - since replaced by a diesel Toyota Yaris - and vowed in the future to fly only in emergencies. While interested in technology, he is also known to be reluctant to use the internet and email, though he likes some PC computer games, including the famous Civilization game, which he noted as having played a lot and as having even provided some minor inspiration to his stories.

As with his friend Ken MacLeod (another Scottish writer of technical and social science fiction) a strong awareness of left-wing history shows in his writings. The argument that an economy of abundance renders anarchy and adhocracy viable (or even inevitable) attracts many as an interesting potential experiment, were it ever to become testable. He was a signatory to the Declaration of Calton Hill, which calls for Scottish independence. In late 2004, Iain M. Banks was a prominent member of a group of British politicians and media figures who campaigned to have Prime Minister Tony Blair impeached following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In protest he cut up his passport and posted it to 10 Downing Street. In an interview in Socialist Review he claimed he did this after he "abandoned the idea of crashing my Land Rover through the gates of Fife dockyard, after spotting the guys armed with machine guns." He relates his concerns about the invasion of Iraq in his book Raw Spirit, and the principal protagonist (Alban McGill) in the novel The Steep Approach to Garbadale confronts another character with arguments in a similar vein.

Iain M. Banks is an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society (see Quotations) and a Distinguished Supporter of the Humanist Society of Scotland.Interviewed on Mark Lawson's BBC Four series, first broadcast in the UK on 14 November 2006, Iain M. Banks explained why his novels are published under two different names. His parents wished to name him Iain Menzies Banks but his father made a mistake when registering the birth and he was officially registered as Iain Banks. Despite this he continued to use his unofficial middle name and it was as Iain M. Banks that he submitted The Wasp Factory for publication. However, his editor asked if he would mind dropping the 'M' as it appeared "too fussy". The editor was also concerned about possible confusion with Rosie M. Banks, a minor character in some of P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves novels who is a romantic novelist. After his first three mainstream novels his publishers agreed to publish his first SF novel, Consider Phlebas. To distinguish between the mainstream and SF novels, Iain M. Banks suggested the return of the 'M', although at one stage he considered John B. Macallan as his SF pseudonym, the name deriving from his favourite whiskies: Johnnie Walker Black Label and The Macallan single malt.

 

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