Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £19.99

Buy Now for £19.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

The first ever collection of Iain Banks's short fiction, this volume includes the acclaimed novella, The State of the Art. This is a striking addition to the growing body of Culture lore, and adds definition and scale to the previous works by using the Earth of 1977 as contrast. The other stories in the collection range from science fiction to horror, dark-coated fantasy to morality tale. All bear the indefinable stamp of Iain Banks's staggering talent.

©1991 Iain M. Banks (P)2013 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about The State of the Art

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    286
  • 4 Stars
    219
  • 3 Stars
    121
  • 2 Stars
    24
  • 1 Stars
    6
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    470
  • 4 Stars
    101
  • 3 Stars
    17
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    219
  • 4 Stars
    191
  • 3 Stars
    138
  • 2 Stars
    32
  • 1 Stars
    11

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Mixed bag, but brilliant narration

Peter Kenny is now officially my favourite narrator- this book shows he can adapt to many different characters' voices and he makes this book come alive. Liked reading it a lot before, but even more enjoyable to listen to!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A perfect introduction to Banks' Sci Fi world

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

A collection of (mostly) sci fi stories, several featuring Banks' "Culture" universe and the novella State of the Art where the Culture visits Earth. This makes for a great intro the Iain Banks' work and is full of his usual wit and invention. The tales are sometimes funny and sometimes tragic, always thoughtful and intelligent, and highly distinctive and original. Often when rereading (or in this case listening) to a short story collection some years after originally doing so, inevitably there are one or two tales that have slipped my memory. But not so here - each one stuck in my mind distinctly and clearly, and it was a pleasure to revisit them.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Unforgettable...

...the hardest hitting and funniest, most engaging book in the Culture series so far. I am altered by hearing Iain M. Banks‘ words. Peter Kenny’s narration is skilled, stellar.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

This is a fantastic listen.

Peter Kenny gives a bravura performance once again and Iain M. Banks' writing is superb.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Difficult to get in to.

only wanted to see the back story of smar... Not really worth it though. last chapter is just gibberish non-sense and a waste of 25 mins.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

My 2nd Audible Experience!

I recently began work at an organization that let you listen to your mobile...so I downloaded my 2nd book...'State of the Art' by Iain M Banks. Just like the first book, I loved it. Iain M Banks sci-fi books are very detailed and can be difficult to read but having his stories read aloud (through my headphones obviously) makes them just as good, maybe better!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not very interesting short stories

Nothing about this book stands out as particularly good or interesting. A 10 word summary of each short story would sound interesting to most scifi fans, but the delivery is really subpar. Voice acting was good though.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A close look

Really makes you think what it is to be living and what our personal and social responsibilities are.

Peter Kenny is absolutely brilliant.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully read.

Loved listening to a favourite book. Listening to all the Culture books, it is like I have absorbed them for the first time. Fab.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Mixed Bag

Really worth reading/ listening for the Culture stories and altered perspectives of some of the shorts. The last 12 minutes is hard going and may sound better as a “12 inch dance remix” to quote a line.

1 person found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Peter
  • Peter
  • 07-02-14

May require hospital grade painkillers...

Had been quite some time since I had read this collection of short stories, I'd forgotten about it's existence. But I managed to get this downloaded shortly before being wheeled in for an emergency appendectomy. So please consider my review through the eyes of post-operation medical quality opiates.
First story, isn't that nice.
Second story, what? Listen again. Oh yes that is good.
A few more stories which are rather good, but as I find with Peter Kenny's reading, he is the unsung star of this generation of Banks' publishing. Even if one doesn't necessarily *enjoy* the story, of which there was one in here that honestly after my hospital release I can't recall which one, Kenny's reading is a joy to listen to (and trust me, even more so under the influence of opiates). His attention to tone, character and timing is I think impeccable.
I must give a warning about the title short story. There is one scene, the dinner scene, where you may laugh so hard that you do yourself an injury. Sure, I had recently been sliced open and should have controlled myself. But, the extra morphone that was required due to the additional injury was not unwelcome.
This review is rambling? Sure, I'm out of hospital and still on painkillers.
The book? Oh yes, I'm reviewing the book and not the opiates. The book's a must have for the Banks completist. And a great little introduction of the differing styles for which Banks was well known. Kenny again delivers. My only niggle would be that it sounded like it was recorded in a small room and not a acoustically dead (ie, no reverb) room. However I'm fairly certain this was only noticeable at 4am on the ward with headphones when the only noises to be heard was the nurses footsteps checking on the patients. This isn't to say it's bad, but more to say why the 'overall' score I've given it doesn't match the performance and story scores.
OK, I'm out. Not editing this review. I need some more codeine based stuff...

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for kiril okun
  • kiril okun
  • 24-10-16

Wtf

Really liked the first two books in the series. The third one was not available on audible so skipped to this one and the onlly reaction is WTF is this. A couple of short stories are OK, the rest is best ignored. Hope the next book is more like the first 2.

4 people found this helpful