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    Registered User aiasminor's Avatar
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    Sep 2010
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    To 'heaven' or to Heaven

    Surface Detail - Ian Banks

    At first I was like and then I was like

    I recently finished Ian Banks book Surface Detail. This was a book I knew nothing about and picked out of the bargain bin at the bookstore. I have been reading lite sci-fi recently and wanted to get back into a sci-fi novel that lays it on thick, that’s what this book promised when I read the synopsis and it delivered. The idea in the book is that people use powerful computers, housed in giant ships, to create a world where people’s consciousness live when they die (I don’t want to say where the hells are because that will spoil the end of the book). In this simulated world you can have and do anything you want (heaven). But there are still people that hold onto the religious belief that if there is a 'heaven' there must be a 'hell'. A war is ensuing over the creation and operation of these 'hells'. The author does a great job of conveying the emotions one would feel if actually in hell, and the descriptions of hell are equally superb. The world that he creates in the novel really does feel expansive. This reminds me of Vernor Vinge, A Fire Upon the Deep. Where you really get a feel for how large the universe is. There were some chapters that I felt were unnecessary and I skipped over entirely because they followed characters that were not really contributing to the progress and development of the main story. The beginning of the story was hard to grasp at first because Banks switched between characters without telling the reader what they are reading. You understand what the beginning chapters were about when you get about half way through the book.

    The novel was great, well written, but good mostly because it made me ask myself a question. Would I opt for the guaranteed afterlife and enter into a simulated 'heaven', or would I go with faith and see what, if anything, is beyond death.
    Last edited by aiasminor; February 17th, 2012 at 05:43 PM. Reason: Removed a question that has probably been asked alot in here and will probably be answered anyway.

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