le 27 décembre 2014
I have been an avid follower of Iain M Banks for twenty five years since ‘Consider Phlebas’ burst onto the scene single-handedly rescuing British science fiction from the post Orwellian dystopia navel-gazing doldrums. The Culture cycle stands out as a genre defining epic masterpiece and this tenth, and sadly last, novel ranks up there with ‘Consider…’ & ‘Player of Games’ marking a return to form following a couple of disappointing recent novels.
The Gzilt race are about to take the final step in the evolution of their civilisation by becoming one of the pan-dimensional Sublimed. Several Culture vessels are on their way to the home planet in a farewell gesture to one of the nearly founding races of the Culture while less evolved ‘Scavenger’ races gather hoping to be granted rights to the soon to be abandoned Gzilt worlds. However, all is not sweetness and light. The prime tenet of the civilisation, The Book of Truth, is in danger of being discredited and factions within the Gzilt will stop at nothing to prevent this becoming common knowledge. So begins the race against the clock as various Culture ship Minds endeavour to discover the truth about the BoT by tracking down the memories of the oldest surviving Culture individual while the grumpy Gzilt faction tries to stop them. Much action and mayhem ensues.
As with many of the Culture novels, the sparkling wit of the magnificently named ship Minds steals the show but it is not the novel’s raison d’être. It can be read on two levels, both as a rip-roaring & masterly bit of space opera and as a more metaphysical exploration of the afterlife and nature & value of truth; a hugely enjoyable novel with masses of depth. The underlying themes are even more poignant in the light of Banks’ tragic death from cancer in June 2013 and I definitely felt a tinge of sadness on finishing this splendid book. He has, however, left us with a lasting legacy of cracking science fiction and laid the groundwork for the likes of Alastair Reynolds whose superb ‘Revelation’ novels owe more than a passing nod to Banks’ genius.
le 9 juin 2014
Pour ceux qui aiment et connaissent la Culture, ce dernier roman, dernier comme plus récent, mais aussi comme ultime puisque Iain M. Banks est mort, On y retrouve les vaisseaux AI aux noms interminables et quelques mortels de différentes races dans une intrigue bien construite et intelligemment développée.
Pour ceux qui ne connaissent pas encore I.M. Banks, ce n'est pas le plus facile d'accès car le lecteur est (implicitement) supposé connaitre la culture de la Culture, mais si vous aimez celui-ci, vous aurez l'immense, et souvent rare, joie d'avoir une dizaine de romans d'Iain M. Banks à savourer.