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. Consider Phlebas — a space opera of stunning power and awesome imagination from one of the most talented writers of his generation.
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 Sleeper Service. The Culture ships formulate a plan to retrieve her. The Sleeper Service has other things on its mind. A novel of extraordinary imagination, richness and energy, Excession 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. Inversions is a dazzling work of science fiction from an author writing at the height of his remarkable powers.
L'usage des armes
Cheradenine Zakalwe — ou du moins l’homme qui se fait appeler ainsi — est l’un des agents les plus efficaces de la Culture. Et Diziet Sma éminente figure de la Culture, l’utilise à des fins mystérieuses, quelquefois paradoxales. Dans le cadre de Circonstances spéciales, une branche de Contact. Qu’est-ce que la Culture ? Une immense société galactique, pacifiste en son principe mais redoutable si on l’attaque, multiforme, anarchiste, tolérante, éthique et cynique. Elle est composée d’humains, d’Intelligences artificielles et d’espèces étrangères qui ont accepté ses valeurs. La Culture a la prétention de faire évoluer lentement mais sûrement les civilisations étrangères qu’elle rencontre au fur et à mesure de son expansion. C’est le rôle du Contact d’évaluer et d’infiltrer les sociétés nouvellement découvertes. Et dans les cas extrêmes, c’est à Circonstances spéciales d’intervenir, au besoin par la violence. Cheradenine Zakalwe est l’une des armes de Circonstances spéciales. C’est le héros de L’usage des armes, qui est à la fois un roman d’aventures et une œuvre littéraire éblouissante, d’une perversité toute britannique.
Look to Windward
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.
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 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.
The Hydrogen Sonata
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 Player of Games
The Culture — a human/machine symbiotic society — has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. The 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 State of The Art
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.
Une forme de guerre
Horza est un Métamorphe, un des derniers survivants de cette variété de l’espèce humaine qui peut modifier sa forme à sa guise. Et il est engagé dans une croisade personnelle contre la Culture. Son combat, comme celui de Balveda, l’envoyée de la section Circonstances Spéciales de la Culture, n’est qu’une escarmouche insignifiante sur la toile de fond de la guerre qui oppose la Culture et les ldirans. Une guerre qui embrase la Galaxie. Une guerre inexpiable comme toute guerre de religion. Une guerre où aucun compromis n’est possible, qui se soldera par la victoire d’un seul camp. Celui des Idirans qui veulent soumettre à leur divinité tous les peuples de la Galaxie. Ou bien celui de la Culture qui est parfaitement tolérant et qui, à ce titre, ne peut accepter aucune intolérance. Comme dans L’usage des armes et L’homme des jeux, lain Banks décrit ici une immense société galactique, complexe, rusée, bigarrée, baroque et attachante, qui prendra place dans les annales de l’Histoire du Futur aux côtés de Dune et d’Hypérion.
Use of Weapons
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.