Let me preface slightly critical remarks by saying this is a hard-to-put-down thriller. His science fiction is so much better than his other stuff. Not for one moment do I have to consciously suspend disbelief. Never does he fall into this category which Randall puts so well that I'm just going to recyle his succinct observation yet again:
Banks makes up worlds, concepts, laws, forms of life, cultures and societies, he gives them all names and it all seems so natural
. How splendid is that.
Again, I do not understand why his science fiction is not turned into films. They'd be spectacular, but they'd have plots and good dialogue and - is this the reason why?
The only thing that niggles me about this is that it was obvious from very early what the denouement was going to be. I don't suppose that matters, maybe the reader was supposed to know? But for me it made the last fifty or so pages a little disappointing.
I thought there were slightly messy aspects to the plot which may or may not matter. Considering that the Huhsz are the motivators for the story, it seemed to me they figured in an almost incidental way. Maybe I've missed something there. But with Solipsists and Useless Kings and a host of others tumbling in and out of this story, crowding it with laughs, however dark it also gets, a slightness of Huhsz is neither here nor there, I guess. I dare say something had to give. The thing is 500 pages long as it is.
What churlish knitpicking. Reading Banks lately has made me receptive to the idea of reading science fiction again, when I really thought those days were over a very long time ago. I could scarcely be more impressed.