The Player of Games

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9780061053566: The Player of Games

The champion of an ancient, all-embracing Culture in which there is no disease or disaster, Gurgeh beats everyone at a series of endless games, until he accepts the challenge from the Empire of Azad and discovers what the Game is really all about. Reprint.

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Review:

In The Player of Games, Iain M. Banks presents a distant future that could almost be called the end of history. Humanity has filled the galaxy, and thanks to ultra-high technology everyone has everything they want, no one gets sick, and no one dies. It's a playground society of sports, stellar cruises, parties, and festivals. Jernau Gurgeh, a famed master game player, is looking for something more and finds it when he's invited to a game tournament at a small alien empire. Abruptly Banks veers into different territory. The Empire of Azad is exotic, sensual, and vibrant. It has space battle cruisers, a glowing court--all the stuff of good old science fiction--which appears old-fashioned in contrast to Gurgeh's home. At first it's a relief, but further exploration reveals the empire to be depraved and terrifically unjust. Its defects are gross exaggerations of our own, yet they indict us all the same. Clearly Banks is interested in the idea of a future where everyone can be mature and happy. Yet it's interesting to note that in order to give us this compelling adventure story, he has to return to a more traditional setting. Thoughtful science fiction readers will appreciate the cultural comparisons, and fans of big ideas and action will also be rewarded. --Brooks Peck

About the Author:

Iain Banks came to controversial public notice with the publication of his first novel, THE WASP FACTORY, in 1984. CONSIDER PHLEBAS, his first science fiction novel, was published under the name Iain M. Banks in 1987. He is now widely acclaimed as one of the most powerful, innovative and exciting writers of his generation. Iain Banks lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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