Consider Phlebas


Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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8 Responses

  1. Avatar Brad DeLong says:

    Not the opening scene?Report

  2. Avatar Freddie says:

    what roots clutch….Report

  3. Avatar Winterpool says:

    It’s the cult with certain, mmm, self-destructive dietary requirements, no?Report

  4. Yeah, Banks is an excellent writer, and is one sick individual. I think Use of Weapons and Player of Games are his best work, for they are more seductive before the beautifully written horrible parts.Report

    • Avatar Aaron in reply to William the Coroner says:

      @William the Coroner, I agree with your estimation of the Culture novels, although I found Matter pretty underrated. The Algebraist is also an excellent, non-Culture science fiction novel by Banks.

      In the last year or so, I’ve tried to go back and read some of the science fiction that I loved as a teenager: Asimov, Clifford D. Simak, Heinlein, and I have to say, you really can’t go home again. There are definitely some that stand up: Dick (although the quality control can be pretty daunting), Gibson, and to a limited extent Clarke, but a lot of those old masters are so invested in a literature of ideas and plot that they completely ignore character and prose. Banks, Kim Stanley Robinson and a handful of other modern writers are able to stand head and shoulders with modern literary fiction. It’s nice to have someone explore these ideas in a well rounded way, with time and effort invested in all of the areas, not just in plot.Report

    • Avatar Plinko in reply to William the Coroner says:

      @William the Coroner, Somehow, The Wasp Factory comes off as considerably sicker to me than anything I’ve read in his science fiction. I guess fantastic settings somehow dull my responses to grotesque writing. I love Banks, but the Algrebraist is far superior to any of the Culture novels I’ve read (haven’t gotten to The State of the Art)

      So. . . have you finished yet, E.D? I had actually just finished this book a couple of weeks ago but somehow missed this post. I only saw it when you mentioned it at Balloon Juice.
      I think there’s a lot in Consider Phlebas and entire set of Culture books that would make worthy discussion for the folks here.Report