Consider Phlebas

Culture #1

471 pages

English language

Published Dec. 1, 1987 by Macmillan.

ISBN:
978-0-333-44138-1
Copied ISBN!
OCLC Number:
15197422

View on OpenLibrary

View on Inventaire

4 stars (25 reviews)

Consider Phlebas, first published in 1987, is a space opera novel by Scottish writer Iain M. Banks. It is the first in a series of novels about an interstellar post-scarcity society called the Culture. The novel revolves around the Idiran–Culture War, and Banks plays on that theme by presenting various microcosms of that conflict. Its protagonist Bora Horza Gobuchul is an enemy of the Culture. Consider Phlebas is Banks's first published science fiction novel and takes its title from a line in T. S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land. A subsequent Culture novel, Look to Windward (2000), whose title comes from the previous line of the same poem, can be considered a loose follow-up.

5 editions

The Culture begins

5 stars

I remember seeing this in a book shop with a shiny silver highlight on the cover, and recognisng the name of the author of "The Wasp Factory", which I had read and really enjoyed. But what was he doing in the SF section, and what was the "M" all about? I guessed correctly that here was an author living a double life in so-called literature AND my home base of genre fiction, especially SF. And I found his SF was far superior to his realistic fiction or whatever you call that rubbish :-).

On early readings I didn't quite absorb the brilliant creation of Banks' future utopia the Culture, partly because this first novel highlights a character who has turned against this pan-galactic anarchist society, and worked for a religious extremist society sworn to destroy it. It's like Banks wanted to stress-test his perfect society by portraying one of its …

Review of 'Consider Phlebas' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I turned the last page of Banks' 'Consider Phlebas' a couple of nights ago, and I enjoyed (almost) every moment of it. Having read a great deal of Bank's literary works, I knew what to expect from his style. Strong pace, clear sense of character and motivation, complex themes presented in layman’s terms - not patronising, but welcoming, understanding - yet continuing to prickle at the back of your mind, encouraging you to read more. It was every bit as I expected, and more, as I hadn't expected his science fiction settings to have the same epic feel as other writers in the genre, and the final moments of the text were a complete surprise.

It felt great opening up another work of science fiction. It felt like coming home after a long trip. Like a long awaited hug. 'Consider Phlebas' opens and ends with violence. Shuttles are rocked by …

Review of 'Consider Phlebas' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Ahh, the long awaited Culture re-read. I don't think I have read this one in 25 years or so. This is Banks dark mirror held up to his utopian ideal society. He is trying very hard to play devil's advocate but ends up making trenchant points about fanaticism. So, from that perspective I don't think he achieved what he set out to achieve. This is still a rollicking read though, apart from the unnecessary (imo) Eaters section. It is a great introduction to his idea and has what became the trademark aftertaste of pathos that I think every Culture novel has.

avatar for robhardware
Rob

rated it

4 stars
avatar for OriginalBarbas

rated it

4 stars
avatar for evanh
Ev

rated it

4 stars
avatar for nick

rated it

1 star
avatar for chrisn

rated it

3 stars
avatar for roytoo

rated it

4 stars
avatar for sanjay_ankur

rated it

5 stars
avatar for simonfairbairn

rated it

5 stars
avatar for Elphez

rated it

5 stars
avatar for CTD
CTD

rated it

5 stars
avatar for gkzhukov

rated it

5 stars
avatar for Arbieroo

rated it

3 stars
avatar for Simon

rated it

3 stars
avatar for stout_n_vetiver

rated it

2 stars
avatar for Freaky

rated it

4 stars
avatar for Deebster

rated it

3 stars
avatar for pauho

rated it

3 stars
avatar for herne

rated it

4 stars

Subjects

  • Imaginary wars and battles
  • Fiction