'Look to Windward' by Iain M. Banks

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Posted by Hack (1st Sep 2000, 18:28)

Originally published in Wyrmtongue September 2000.

This is the new Culture novel; set in a utopian society where the use of money is regarded as a sign of scarcity and AI Minds do their level best to make the universe a better place to be. But sometimes even they get it wrong, five billion sentients died as a consequence and more innocents may still have to pay... As the Culture remembers the destruction of two stars and their planets, in a war that finished eight hundred years ago.

Banks writes starkly about the problems of being a galactic superpower. In 'The Player of Games' he details a textbook example of how to bring down an aggressor power using just one man. This new book shows the dark side of this type of fiddling around, without sparing anyone. Neither side emerges blameless and as one of the Culture's enemies says, "There are no ignorants here ... They share collective responsibility for [their] actions." Everyone is guilty of something.

This is a great improvement on some of Banks' recent books, returning to his original style and gives us new insights into our favourite utopian megacivilisation. I recommend it.

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- Look To Windward

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