Paperback, 455 pages

English language

Published Dec. 2, 1997 by Orbit.

ISBN:
978-1-85723-457-2
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4 stars (14 reviews)

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.

5 editions

Review of 'Excession (Culture, #5)' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

5 stars indeed. A book I first read on publication (1998) stands up very well in 2022. I am wary, in these re-reads, of succumbing purely to nostalgia but this would definitely feel fresh to someone reading it for the first time now, I think.
Once again, this is Banks describing his utopia by defining its boundaries. In this case something far more powerful than they are. The titular Excession. It's about how the Culture (and other galactic 'cultures') respond to this.
This one I like because it mostly focusses on the Minds, the machine intelligences that are the core of the Culture. Banks obviously had a lot of fun composing the snark and bite with which they communicate. The line describing what an 'out of context' problem is, still made me laugh out loud as it has before.
This is really good 'high concept' science fiction that zips nicely …

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