Surface Detail

Surface Detail

Book - 2010
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When sex slave Lededje Y'breq is murdered by a politician on the planet Sichult, the artificial intelligence running one of the Culture's immense starships resurrects her so she can seek revenge. Meanwhile, the Culture is uneasily watching the conflict over whether to preserve virtual Hells for the souls of "sinners" or give them the release of death.
Publisher: London : Orbit, 2010.
ISBN: 9781841498935
1841498939
9780316123402
0316123404
Characteristics: 627 p. ; 25 cm.

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starkradio
Mar 03, 2015

I love Iain Banks, and am really unhappy about his death last year, which came too soon, too soon.

This is an extraordinary book.

g
GregKush
Jul 09, 2014

If you're reading other books in the Culture series, you won't want to miss this one. The story is complex and very rich, adding one of the more original ideas I've come across in some time in science fiction: virtual Hell and the concept that the Hells of different galactic races are somewhat intertwined. This is handled with more than a passing notion -- there's serious attention paid into some key characters in this virtual realm.

For this book to really have the most meaning, you're best off reading "Consider Phlebas" and "Use of Weapons" first. There's enough background from those two books to make this one feel that much richer.

m
monikak1
Aug 01, 2012

Read about a quarter of book. Not my style. Very confusing

p
ptupper
May 10, 2012

After enjoying "Matter" a great deal, I didn't like Banks' follow-up Culture novel as much.

While "Matter" had several parallel plots, "Surface Detail" has a lot of tangled plots that only loosely interconnect. Banks also develops a bad habit of jumping around in time in a single scene, when there's no particular reason not to tell the scene in a linear way.

There are also some logic problems. Much of the story revolves around the concept of Hells, virtual afterlives of punishment and torment. Some activists infiltrate their society's Hell in order report back what really happens. We're later told that the Hell's real purpose to make the living behave properly from fear of punishment. If so, why is what happens in Hell kept secret?

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myuseraccount
May 05, 2015

9th book in the Culture Series

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