Review: The Player of Games

The Player of Games The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to say that I found The Player of Games to be a much better experience with Iain M. Banks than Consider Phlebas.

Banks introduces us to Gurgeh, a stylized game-player from the Culture. Ahh, the Culture, such an advanced and modern civilization that engulfs almost all of the known galaxy, or so it seems. Gurgeh is reluctantly drawn into the attempted coup of a game-obsessed empire; a coup to be affected by Gurgeh's mastery of the very game through which the empire defines itself. As an outsider of the Empire, Gurgeh must learn the game quickly and unknowingly confront the evils of this empire via the game. Can he learn the intricacies and subtleties of the game in time? Can he learn enough about himself and his opponents? Is it all just a game, or is it a none-too-subtle clash of cultures taking place on the game board before him?
Highly Recommended SF reading!


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  1. Royce, so glad you enjoyed this novel (as I knew or hoped you would)! I still think "Consider Phlebas" is a good novel (I appreciate it much more now after some re-reads then I did initially), it's just different from the rest. I also read "The Player of Games" as my second foray into Banks' oeuvre after CP, and I knew that I would read all his novels thereafter. You should drop by the forum and we can compare thoughts on the work in more depth. Elvira aka Diziet Sma also read it recently. Here's the review from BSFB's blog:

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