Friday, 16 March 2012

SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW: The Player of Games - Iain M Banks

Release Date: 10/08/89


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.


Having read a number of Iain’s Culture titles I wanted the pleasure of not only refreshing my memory but also embarking o nt he adventure again a number of years after the original journey. This opportunity presented itself wonderfully with the announcement of World Book Day when this was one of the titles selected.

What you get in this title is a space opera unlike any other as games are played, characters manipulated and of course a wonderful sense of the double dealing and politics unlike other titles of the time. Its quirky, it quickly immerses the reader within this unique universe and above all else it was a tale that twisted its own way not only through your imagination but into your very being so that you’ll recall it for quite some time.

Add to this an author with a great sense of pace and prose who knows when to twist the knife or to let you go which leads to a very satisfactory reading experience. Great stuff.

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