I read this a few years ago, and don’t think I appreciated some of the finer points (how many books don’t deserve a re-reading?).
You can find out about the book at Amazon so I won’t bother with the plot. It’s a wonderful study in far future tech – the ships, minds, and drones – which the characters, the author, and eventually you, the reader, take for granted (the tech doesn’t obscure the plot or the interplay of characters, but it’s wondrous all the same), interplay between human(oid) and artificial intelligence, and the tangents of differing civilizations.
But what struck me most this time around was the way that I, the reader, naturally associated myself with the Culture (the civilization to which the central characters belong) – mostly, perhaps, because the Culture was the basis from which the plot stems, and regarded the Empire (the civilization that begat the game Azad) as the “aliens”. But the more one progressed through this novel it was clear, almost politically clear, that in fact the unruly, violent, and relatively primitive Empire civilization … was ours.
A great read.
I wonder how I could reuse this blog item as a review item in the book’s review section on Amazon? Hmm, how about an RSS 1.0 module and Amazon binding in support for that?