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Eakin
2012-02-14, 11:32 PM
So, 10 books into the Dresden Files, I'm starting to looks for the next series I want to start. I'd heard mostly good things about the Culture series by Ian Banks. So I'm posing two questions:

A) Is it worth reading at all, or do most playgrounders actually think it's terrible?

B) What's the best book to start with? I usually just read a series in order but I've seen some recommendations to read the second one (Player of Games) before the first (Consider Phlebas)

Axolotl
2012-02-15, 03:22 AM
So, 10 books into the Dresden Files, I'm starting to looks for the next series I want to start. I'd heard mostly good things about the Culture series by Ian Banks. So I'm posing two questions:

A) Is it worth reading at all, or do most playgrounders actually think it's terrible?Yes, they are some of the best space opera books I've ever read. They are definitely worth reaqding. Just be warned while the Culture itself is fairly utopian don't think that the series is happy or idealistic. Banks is a master of disgusting imagery and most of them are fairly tragic.


B) What's the best book to start with? I usually just read a series in order but I've seen some recommendations to read the second one (Player of Games) before the first (Consider Phlebas)There's no overarching storyline between them all so you can start wherever you want. Player of Games is the first one that is set within the Culture with a Culture based protaganist. It's also considered better than Consider Phlebas by most people.

kamikasei
2012-02-15, 06:19 AM
Personally I'd recommend starting with Consider Phlebas but that's with an acknowledged bias towards starting at the beginning of any series. It's not really representative of the rest - it's set considerably earlier than the other books and not merely set outside the Culture (as many of the books are, to some extent) but centres on a protagonist who actively opposes them. It's also longer than Player of Games.

Player of Games and Use of Weapons are the books I would expect everyone who enjoys the series at all would agree are must-reads. Excession is more debatable and more recent books are more hit-and-miss in my opinion. So I'd recommend reading Player of Games and Use of Weapons first, reading Consider Phlebas after them for context, and then reading the rest in order for as long as they hold your interest.

Note that Inversions is a Culture book. It's just not obviously so. It's probably the least representative and the most easily skipped over.

The State of the Art has some Culture stories in it, of questionable continuity with the rest. It also includes the story of the Culture visiting Earth.

Selrahc
2012-02-15, 07:01 AM
and more recent books are more hit-and-miss in my opinion.


Really? I thought "Matter" was one of the stronger books in the series.

Anyway, yes. The Culture books are definitely worth your time. I'm currently meandering through the series without any particular order(alternating with the A Song of Ice and Fire series), and it's been generally top notch stuff. If you enjoy sci-fi centered around space empires, or just sci-fi in general, you should find it a treat.

Fri
2012-02-15, 08:40 AM
One more Culture fan here.

I recommend player of games as first entry. Consider Plebhas is actually a rather non-conventional Culture book IIRC. Player of Games will easily introduce you to the culture in general, and how sci-fi doesn't mean always mean space battle.