The Player of Games

The Player of Games

Book - 2005
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The second Culture novel from the awesome imagination of Iain M. Banks, a modern master of science fiction.

The Culture - a human/machine symbiotic society - has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. The Player of Games. Master of every board, computer and strategy.

Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game ... a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the challenge of his life - and very possibly his death.

Praise for the Culture series:

'Epic in scope, ambitious in its ideas and absorbing in its execution' Independent on Sunday

'Banks has created one of the most enduring and endearing visions of the future' Guardian

'Jam-packed with extraordinary invention' Scotsman

'Compulsive reading' Sunday Telegraph

The Culture series:
Consider Phlebas
The Player of Games
Use of Weapons
The State of the Art
Look to Windward
Surface Detail
The Hydrogen Sonata

Other books by Iain M. Banks :
Against a Dark Background
Feersum Endjinn
The Algebraist

Publisher: London : Orbit, 2005.
ISBN: 9781857231465
Branch Call Number: FIC Banks
Characteristics: 309 pages


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Nov 05, 2018

I am currently on book four of the Culture series, and Player of Games is my number one pick of the bunch. The characters and dialogue are pretty typical Banks, but the story line just really stuck with me. I really enjoyed this one.

May 16, 2014

Iain Banks is a problematic writer for me, but this is the most accessible of his Culture novels I have encountered. Still dark and and nihilistic on a deep level, with more than a few cultural and rhetorical straw men to be demolished.

Almost certainly the last one of these I'll ever try.

unbalancedbutfair Aug 18, 2012

The story took some time to get into but the build is worth it. Multiple times I was worried that the author had over committed and overextended himself but I was wrong. The build is perfect, the story provoking, the ideas...well worth consideration. Even where I don't agree with his interpretations I cannot but appreciate his analysis. This work deserves to be spoken of in the same breath as "Dune", "Stranger in a strange land" and "I, Robot". This is everything good sci-fi ought to be.

Mar 25, 2012

The only book I've read multipe times [maybe 10 ?] and rewarded with cerebral pleasure each and every time - - a most elegant depiction of a future society, as well as a futuristic Candide, subtley espousing on socio-economic-political mores and thinking. Easily will last the test of time and should be considered one of the all-time ultimate SF classics! (WARNING: This book fully engages the mind, so if in a fatigued state, it might be difficult to read and comprehend!) [The only other fiction books I've read twice were Stirling's Drakon, and Metzger's Dog, by Thomas Perry - - both exceptional reads.] The genius of Iain Banks will be sorely missed!

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