Use of Weapons

Discussion in 'Iain M. Banks' started by TomTB, Jul 22, 2016.

  1. TomTB

    TomTB Administrator Staff Member

    Just finished this. It's the first book I've ever read, that I know without a shadow of a doubt, I would definitely enjoy more reading a second time than I did reading it first time.

    I mean, with hindsight, the innovative structure really did work well and the ending pulled the rug from under my feet, but by the time I'd realised all this i was kind of past caring. There was this lead character I found difficult to connect with, a side cast that were brilliant but weren't around for enough of the story, a major plot line that doesn't really materialise until halfway through the book, and various settings that were never explored enough before moving to the next one. On the plus side though, there was an 80km long spaceship called 'Size Isn't Everything' .. heeheehee

    Banks was an unbelievably good author, but in this instance, a little too good for me.
  2. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Re-reading Banks is something I would seriously consider too. I have no doubt there are many layers I have not scratched deeply enough or I have simply missed them all together. Even now, as I recall chapters, I’m connecting dots and realising some lose ends…o_O
    @TomTB, I don’t think the reason Banks spun us and left us with a “pheasant look “ is due to a lack of grey matter. I’d like to believe I’m not fine-tuned yet to decode Banks’ witticism. Like learning a foreign language, one has to plunge into a different type of thinking, structuring one’s thoughts into the right “culture”convention. Otherwise, ideas and concepts can get lost in translation often enough.
    For my next Culture read, these three appeal to me: Surface Detail, Inversions and Excessions. Any comments on these will be great.:)
  3. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    I think I did mention to you, @Elvira, that Use of Weapons is the one novel by Banks that I feel you haven't really read until you read it a second time. It almost takes on new meaning once you know the ending, and you see many passages and instances in a new light. A friend I lent the book to in the Real read it, and then immediately started a re-read. The other Culture instalments aren't structurally complex like UoW.

    Better not to read Inversions until you've read, say, three other Culture novels. Consider Phlebas and Inversions are two instalments that are unlike the others. Not saying you wouldn't enjoy Inversions now, but it's one of the smallest in scope and also one of the subtlest, so you might not fully appreciate it until you're a little more familiar with the Culture. Excession and Surface Detail are favourites. They're both wider scale space operas and feature Minds more prominently, esp. Excession.
  4. Diziet Sma

    Diziet Sma Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks @Boreas.
    I can clearly see how revealing a second read would be. Anticipating the ending would allow me to appreciate the story in a completely different light. I just hope this is not the rule for all the Culture books. Time is brief and my TBR list looong…
    I will skip Inversions for the time being and pick either Excession or Surface Detail next.
  5. Boreas

    Boreas n log(log n) Staff Member

    Only UoW is a little special like this, but all Culture novels deserve re-reads.
    Diziet Sma likes this.

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