Home Literature Stories Movies Games Comics News Discussion Forum
  Science Fiction and Fantasy News
Esslemont's Stonewielder Prologue and Cover (07-26)
Deals and Deliveries (9!!!) (09-12)
Iron Man: Femmes Fatales by Robert Greenberger (09-12)
Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead by Steve Pe (09-12)

Official sffworld Reviews
Big Time, The by Fritz Leiber (05-29 - Book)
Rogue Clone by Steven L. Kent (05-25 - Book)
The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig (05-21 - Book)
The Wisdom of the Shire by Noble Smith (05-17 - Book)


Site Index

Book Info    Bookmark and Share

The Algebraist by Iain M. Banks

  (26 ratings)

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z

Rating (26 ratings)
Rate this book
(5 best - 1 worst)
Book Information  
AuthorIain M. Banks
TitleThe Algebraist
GenreScience Fiction
Book Reviews / Comments (submitted by readers)
Submitted by Chris Gilbert 
(Dec 13, 2005)

Those people already acquainted with Iain Banks' works of SF will find much of what his latest work contains warmly farmiliar. An intricately observed plot, fabulous visualisation, gentle farce and grand scale opera seen previously in Consider Phlebas, Against a Dark Background, The Use of Weapons and Excesssion. To the unaquainted it is perhaps somewhat bitty. A little hit and miss, perhaps, with the slow-paced, lovingly observed detail sitting incongruously next to the mind-blowing rollercoaster ride of the action. As has often happened in his prevous works, the main characters are merely vehicles for the wider story and they are engulfed for pages at a time in the surrounding events but when these events are imagined so boldy and crystallised with such exquisite turn of phrase its easy to forgive and forget the lack of 'human' focus.

The plot is vast and principally hidden from view, revealed only through the evidence of the story line. A galaxy-spanning, life-form uniting and religion-founded civilisation called the Mercatoria is in conflict with a powerful, secceded and hegemonising sect called the Starvling Cult while a third force, the non-Mercatorial 'Beyonders' manipulates the pair of them to protect itself. The main player is Fassin Taak. Taak is a respected seer who studies the ancient Dweller race that inhabits nearly all of the galaxy's gas giant stars. The Mercatoria's reliance on vulnerable wormhole technology has left Taak's home system, Ulubis, exposed to the Starvling Cults conquesting ways but word has surfaced through Taak's studies of a more ancient network of portals created by predecessors of the Dwellers and kept hidden over the eons by them. This network may offer either salvation to the Mercatoria or devastating advantage to the Starveling Cult if only either of them can get
thier hands on it. Taak, notionally a member of the Mercatoria, is tasked with discovering the whereabouts of the Dweller portals and the book follows his pursuit of the information and everyone else's pursuit of him to a conclusion that is both shocking and brave in the context of writing.

For Bank's fans (who have already read it anyway) this book is a triumph. For everyone else, go and read the rest of his stuff first and farmiliarise yourselves with his style before taking on the Algrebraist as you are unlikely to get as much out of it as those of us fortunate enough to have been on this journey
a while. In this sense it will not win any awards but for his fans it is validation yet again of the genius of the man. And such a nice bloke too.

Sponsor ads



The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize!
05-31 - News
Stephen King's Joyland UK Promotion
05-30 - News
UK Publisher of Stephen King’s New Novel Unusual Promotion
05-30 - News
Big Time, The by Fritz Leiber
05-29 - Book Review
Rogue Clone by Steven L. Kent
05-25 - Book Review
The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig
05-21 - Book Review
The Wisdom of the Shire by Noble Smith
05-17 - Book Review

05-10 - News
The Tyrant's Law by Daniel Abraham
05-04 - Book Review
Galaxy's Edge 1 by Mike Resnick
04-28 - Book Review
Poison by Sarah Pinborough
04-21 - Book Review
Bullington, Beukes and Bacigalupi event
04-19 - News
The City by Stella Gemmell
04-17 - Book Review
Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan
04-15 - Book Review
Tarnished Knight by Jack Campbell
04-09 - Book Review
Frank Hampson: Tomorrow Revisited by Alastair Crompton
04-07 - Book Review
The Forever Knight by John Marco
04-01 - Book Review
Book of Sith - Secrets from the Dark Side by Daniel Wallace
03-31 - Book Review
NOS4R2 by Joe Hill
03-25 - Book Review
Fade to Black by Francis Knight
03-13 - Book Review
The Clone Republic by Steven L. Kent
03-12 - Book Review
The Burn Zone by James K. Decker
03-06 - Book Review
A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz
03-04 - Book Review
Blood's Pride by Evie Manieri
02-28 - Book Review
Excerpt: River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay
02-27 - Article
Tales of Majipoor by Robert Silverberg
02-24 - Book Review
American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett
02-20 - Book Review
Evie Manieri Guest Post
02-19 - Article
The Grim Company by Luke Scull
02-17 - Book Review
Red Planet by Robert A. Heinlein
02-11 - Book Review

New Forum Posts

About - Advertising - Contact us - RSS - For Authors & Publishers - Contribute / Submit - Privacy Policy - Community Login
Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use. The contents of this webpage are copyright © 1997-2011 sffworld.com. All Rights Reserved.