Excession by Iain BanksExcession by Iain Banks


byIain Banks

Paperback | May 15, 1997

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The fifth Culture book from the awesome imagination of Iain M. Banks, a modern master of science fiction.

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.

Praise for the Culture series:

'Epic in scope, ambitious in its ideas and absorbing in its execution' Independent on Sunday

'Banks has created one of the most enduring and endearing visions of the future' Guardian

'Jam-packed with extraordinary invention' Scotsman

'Compulsive reading' Sunday Telegraph

The Culture series:
Consider Phlebas
The Player of Games
Use of Weapons
The State of the Art
Look to Windward
Surface Detail
The Hydrogen Sonata

Other books by Iain M. Banks:
Against a Dark Background
Feersum Endjinn
The Algebraist

Iain Banks came to widespread and controversial public notice with the publication of his first novel, THE WASP FACTORY, in 1984. He has since gained enormous popular and critical acclaim for both his mainstream and his science fiction novels.
Title:ExcessionFormat:PaperbackDimensions:451 pages, 1 × 5 × 7.75 inPublished:May 15, 1997Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:185723457x

ISBN - 13:9781857234572

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Rated 3 out of 5 by from Left Me Wanting Early on it felt like there were too many characters, too many plot threads, too many settings, and that Excession was too damn convoluted to be good. Iain M. Banks’ Excession was living up to the definition of its title: "Excession; something excessive. Excessively aggressive, excessively powerful, excessively expansionist; whatever. Such things turned up or were created now and again. Encountering an example of was one of the risks you ran when you went a-wandering." It was a true slog to get into, but then somewhere around the time Byr Genar-Hofoen was on his way to the GSV Sleeper Service and that ship was busy waking up folk from its battle tableux, I found myself comfortable in Banks' most sprawling Culture novel (if taken in order) to date. It was difficult to keep everything straight and difficult to care what was going on in every thread of the tale, and the work doesn't really pay off in a big final pay-off kinda way, but there are some positives to take away from the experience of reading Excession. For one, this is Banks' finest expression of the ship-mind (I have read nothing past Excession, so there may be better to come). He makes us privy to discussions of ships that make up the "Interesting Times Gang", an unofficial branch of the Culture's Special Circumstances who are steeped in a conspiracy to deliver a crushing blow to the upstart "Affronter" society by using the appearance of an Excession, an Outside Context Problem (OCP), which takes the shape of a spherical nothingness tapped into energy outlets in the skein of hypervoluminous space. But he takes us further than communication between the great ship-minds and into the minds of Eccentric ships and Pseudo-Eccentric ships and Traitor ships and Warships. It is a bit of a mind bending journey, and it is some of the hardest Sci-Fi that Banks has written. But Banks also offers some compelling human interaction, orbiting around Genar-Hofoen, to keep us grounded in the familiarity of humanity. I was exhausted by the end, and I am tempted to be unforgiving about the length of time it took me to really engage with Excession, and the ending was ultimately unsatisfactory, but I still found myself not wanting to put the book down. I loved too many of the characters -- ships and humans and drones and Affronter alike -- to let them go. I wanted Excession to go on for another thousand pages, but it didn't. It's never ideal when a book leaves me wanting, but that's a hell of a lot better than leaving me wanting the book to end. So if you're a Banks fan I can say, quite confidently, that this is a must read -- not his best, but worth the time. If you're not a Banks fan, however, stay away. This will not endear you to the man...genius though he is.
Date published: 2009-10-14

Editorial Reviews

Explosive but tender-SUNDAY TIMES