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The State of the Art

Culture Series, Book 4
Narrated by: Peter Kenny
Series: Culture, Book 4
Length: 6 hrs and 20 mins
4 out of 5 stars (464 ratings)

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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

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    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!

2 people found this helpful

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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

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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This is a fantastic listen.

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

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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

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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

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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Always good

Masterful performance as always with the series so far. Thought provoking at times as surprisingly relevant still.

Final few chapters gibberish lose something in being read out loud. Perhaps another listen may clarify.

1 person found this helpful

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brilliant

the reader really brings all the shorts to life and of course, delivers the novella brilliantly as he does other ian m banks books. cheers

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  • 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...

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • 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