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Banks, Iain M. Look To Windward ISBN 13: 9781857239812

Look To Windward - Softcover

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9781857239812: Look To Windward
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It was one of the less glorious incidents of the Idiran wars that led to the destruction of two suns and the billions of lives they supported. Now, eight hundred years later, the light from the first of those ancient deaths has reached the Culture's Masaq' Orbital. For the Hub Mind, overseer of the massive bracelet world, its arrival is particularly poignant. But it may still be eclipsed by events from the Culture's more recent past.
When the Chelgrian Ziller, a composer of great renown now living in self-imposed exile, learns that an emissary from his home world is being sent to Masaq' Orbital, he fears the worst: that the Chelgrians want him to return. A considerable debt is owed to the Chelgrians, but Ziller is an honoured guest on their world and the Culture would not force him to leave.They know that they are facing a slight diplomatic problem. However, Ziller is not the only thing on the Chelgrian emissary's mind. If his mission is successful, it illuminate the Culture's future as well as its past.
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Review:
When using that middle initial M., Iain Banks writes grand space opera combining galactic scope with twisty, tricky probes into the darkest secrets of human and other minds. Look to Windward revisits the utopian but ruthless interstellar Culture introduced in Consider Phlebas, exploring the complex aftermath of a rare Culture mistake--humanitarian tinkering with an unjust civilization that accidentally led to massive civil war and billions dead.

After a harrowing battle flashback, the scene shifts to one of the Culture's wonderfully landscaped, ring-shaped artificial worlds called Orbitals. A ghastly light is awaited in the sky from distant suns detonated in the war of Consider Phlebas eight centuries earlier; an occasion for sombre festivity, pyrotechnics, and a memorial symphony from exiled alien composer Ziller. Meanwhile another tortured member of Ziller's race--aggressors and victims in that more recent civil war--arrives on a mission whose dreadful nature emerges through fragments of slowly returning memory. Elsewhere, in the exuberantly imagined airsphere home of floating "behemothaurs" almost too huge to imagine, the clue to what's happening falls belatedly into inexperienced hands...

While scattering red herrings and building tension for his final burst of literal and moral fireworks, Banks shows us around the Orbital in sensuous, lyrical travelogues. Rich scenery, high living, low comedy and dangerous sports contrast with reflections on mortality and the lingering aftershock of both those wars, recalled by ravaged veterans. Look to Windward culminates with deft twists, inversions, parallels, and savage justice, as unexpected as we expect from this author. Recommended. --David Langford

Review:
In terms of sheer storytelling prowess and verve, LOOK TO WINDWARD is a work of genius (SFX)

A great book (NEW SCIENTIST)

Banks keeps ratcheting up the suspense (GUARDIAN)

A mordant wit, a certain savagery and a wild imagination (MAIL ON SUNDAY)

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  • PublisherOrbit
  • Publication date2000
  • ISBN 10 1857239814
  • ISBN 13 9781857239812
  • BindingPaperback
  • Number of pages368
  • Rating
    4.21 avg rating
    ( 26,406 ratings by Goodreads )
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9781841490595: Look To Windward (Culture)

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ISBN 10:  ISBN 13:  9781841490595
Publisher: Orbit, 2001
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9780743421911: Look to Windward

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9780743421928: Look to Windward

Star Trek, 2002
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9781857239690: Look To Windward

Orbit, 2000
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