Surface Detail

Iain M. Banks, Author
Iain M, Banks. Orbit, $25.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-316-12340-2
Reviewed on: 09/06/2010
Release date: 10/01/2010
Ebook - 640 pages - 978-0-316-18048-1
Paperback - 644 pages - 978-0-316-12341-9
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-316-18049-8
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-1-60941-628-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-60941-622-5
Open Ebook - 978-1-322-24199-9
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Banks's labyrinthine and devious ninth Culture space opera novel (after 2008's Matter) adeptly shifts perspective between vast concepts and individual passions. The blissfully disorganized, galaxy-spanning Culture has fabulous technology that gives human and alien entities freedom to choose who and what they want to be. When sex slave Lededje Y'breq is murdered by a politician on the planet Sichult, the artificial intelligence running one of the Culture's immense starships resurrects her so she can seek revenge. Meanwhile, the Culture is uneasily watching the conflict over whether to preserve virtual Hells for the souls of "sinners" or give them the release of death. Leaping with jaw-dropping speed from character to character and from reality to virtuality, the narrative swiftly pulls these concerns together. New readers may be taken aback by the rapid pace, but fans will dive right in and won't come up for air until the final page. (Nov.)
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