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Summary

For short-lived 'quick' races like humans, space is dominated by the complicated, grandiose Mercatoria, whose rule is both military and religious. To the Dwellers who may live billions of years, the galaxy consists of their gas-giant planets - the rest is debris.

Our human hero, Fassin Taak, is a Slow Seer privileged to work with the Dwellers of the gas-giant Nasqueron in his home system Ulubis. His work consists of rummaging for data in their vast, disorganised memories and libraries. Unfortunately, without knowing it, he's come close to an ancient secret of unimaginable importance....

©2004 Iain M. Banks (P)2005 W.F. Howes Ltd

What members say

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Hooray and oh dear.

Brilliant book by my favourite writer.

Please get it re-recorded by Peter Kenny. Mr Annis just doesn't get Iain Banks and it comes through in his reading. I lost track so many times and it took me three goes to get through it, so disappointing.

I actually first joined Audible to listen to Iain M. Banks' books but this really doesn't cut it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Not The Culture But A Great Listen

A little over long but a great listen, have previously listened to the abridged audio book but enjoyed this a lot more. Not quite Banks at his best but still a brilliant!!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Martin
  • Brighton, United Kingdom
  • 05-12-17

Spoiled by awful narration

I jumped at the chance to get hold of the unabridged version of this book which had previously only been available in its severely abridged seven-hour version. To be fair, it is probably not one of IMB's best works, butt is still a hugely entertaining story. Unfortunately, the narrator is very poor indeed. He has clearly acquainted himself with the rather arcane names of places and people typical of IMB, but he seems to have failed utterly to plan ahead in his reading, so the intonational contour of what he reads is frequently wrong, and he often fails to get the tone of the dialogue right as well as making occasional errors with the pronunciation of words (he obviously doesn't know the words hegemony or exigencies for example). He then proceeds to ham it up with overdramatic rendering of action sequences. I shall certainly be looking out for his name as one to avoid in future.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

technical issues

nice story, good narration, bad technical editing with too short jumps between episodes making it hard to understand when mew chapter begins

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Narrator does not understand sentences

This could be a good book but it is difficult to assess, given the awful narration. The narrator Geoff Aniss makes listening a difficult and painful process and I've never had to rewind so much.
His main problem is the way he continually breaks up sentences with apparent semi-colons at random places; before continuing with the story. It's actually made me; feel angry, because this books comes from an amazing author and has effectively been; mauled.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Sadly no Peter Kenny

The story is very good in typical Iain M Banks way (not a Culture series novel but in the same vein) but is let down by the narration. Geoff Annis gives an ok narration but doesn’t have the range of Peter Kenny and so is let down by poor female vocals and very bad American-ist accents. I’d still say it’s worth buying.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Prepare to be totally amazed !

Iain banks is a master writer,when a plot is this immense,it is extraordinary that he does not get lost himself,just when you think a character to be irrelevant and forgotten,you find out their purpose,the picture created is immense,,yet quite believable,yet also real humour,and,unlike in so many books,even when swearing is used,it actually works,this book is a tour de force,may he continue to develop this talent ! !

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Iain Banks at his best, original and vivid

The greatest science fiction writer of the late 20th and 21st century skilfully addressing what it is to feel; whether human, nonhuman or machine rolled into brilliant vibrant narrative.
It may be an aeon before his invention and wit are equalled.

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Quality Banks

Filled with the usual comically long winded names, madcap escapades and exceedingly dark humour Iain M Banks delivers another of his epic sci fi romps. A solid affair, not his greatest work but fans of the Culture series looking for a bit more of Banks letting his crazy imagination run wild among the stars in a Culturesque fashion will probably find what they are looking for here. I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you are new to the author I suggest starting with book 1 of the Culture series that can be found here on audible, and when you have devoured that immense body of sci fi novels and are left wanting more then come back for this one. The performance by Geoff Annis was extremely good, he manages to capture the theatric eccentricity of the characters we came to expect from Banks perfectly. Top marks.

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struggling to keep track of the story..

not the best, struggling to remember the plot even after just finishing it. Not a patch on consider phlebas

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Raj
  • 20-11-17

Finally! The unabridged version!

I listened to this 12 years ago on cassette tape from my library and I really enjoyed the story and the narration by Geoffrey Annis is perfect. I wanted to listen to it again but I could never find a version to buy on CD or a digital version to download. Thank you Audible for making the unabridged version available for download. I can't wait to listen to this story again! A master SF work by Iain M. Banks.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-06-18

okay after you get into it

Abit difficult to get started with. Characters are somewhat wooden. I had expected a little more from Iain Banks

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • jakacoro
  • 08-06-18

Great/Culture prequel

it's as good as anything else he's written/superb performance by the narrator again. If you've already read the culture stuff, as others have said, this reads like an intentional prequel.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gary R Zarback
  • 01-06-18

Banks is incredible

excellent story with typical iain banks depth. every bit as good as his culture novels, and could almost fit into that series as a prequil. He has great hopes for AI

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Riku
  • 23-03-18

magnificent as always

if you love sci-fi you love this. classical banks. I think I'll relisten this. thumbs up!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Glen
  • 04-03-18

An intriguing book

A well written and very well narrated novel. Mr. Banks was a gifted wordsmith. sci/fy lovers will enjoy.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • 01-03-18

Not the author's best work.

Worth a listen, but don't count on getting blown away. Tone and story are flippant.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Alennx
  • 03-01-18

One of the best Culture Books ...

Banks again plucks at the fibers connecting the deeply personal with the widely galactic. One of my favorite books in the Culture universe.

The performance quickly becomes invisible, which is the desired effect.

5 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Laer Pearce
  • 13-06-18

Where is this going?

I gave this book several hours of my time. It gave me nothing back. There’s a seed of a story in there, but who has the patience to bare the author’s pretension and verbosity to find it? Money wasted.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • C. Ashley White
  • 19-02-18

Incredibly Boring

I quit a quarter of the way through. The characters and story we just flat.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful