The Player of Games

, #2

293 pages

English language

Published Nov. 1, 1997 by HarperPrism.

ISBN:
978-0-06-105356-6
Copied ISBN!
OCLC Number:
35280627
Goodreads:
18630

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4 stars (214 reviews)

The Player of Games is a science fiction novel by Scottish writer Iain M. Banks, first published in 1988. It was the second published Culture novel. A film version was planned by Pathé in the 1990s, but was abandoned.

26 editions

The Player of Games (Goodreads)

5 stars

Content warning General spoilers

Great

4 stars

Even though it was a re-read I read this within 3 days. The story is very captivating. The second of the Culture novels we get a deep dive into it and then we get another deep dive into another alien culture which is quite imaginative. At the heart of this novel is the thrill of games. A lot of people can relate to that nowadays and yet, there aren't that many genre books focussed on that. Although this was written at the end of the 80s the use of they as a single pronoun wasn't yet a thing in literature and the view of gender presented in this book is quite binary (and also heteronormative). Even though gender relations and policy play a big role in Azad and are discussed in the novel. Well, you can't have it all, I guess. A must-read for all sci-fi fans.

The Player of Games

5 stars

Le premier roman du cycle nous proposait de découvrir la Culture de loin, à travers le regard d'un de ses ennemis. Cette fois, nous découvrons cette civilisation à travers l'un de ses citoyens, d'abord dans sa vie quotidienne puis par contraste avec une autre civilisation qu'il va découvrir tout au long du roman.

Avant tout, ce roman est le récit d'une rencontre entre deux civilisations, deux cultures que tout oppose. D'un côté, la Culture et son modèle utopique très inspiré des idées anarchistes. De l'autre, l'Empire d'Azad, impérialiste, colonialiste, antisocial et belliqueux. Le protagoniste, issu de la Culture, découvre un Empire autoritaire où les rapports sociaux sont fixés par les règles strictes de ce qui est littéralement un jeu de pouvoir. Il nous offre ainsi un regard sur notre propre société contemporaine et une critique acerbe de celle-ci.

J'ai trouvé ce deuxième roman du cycle encore meilleur que le premier …

Review of 'The Player of Games' on 'Storygraph'

5 stars

This is the first Iain M Banks novel I've read and I really enjoyed it. It's big far future space opera, but the focus is on the characters (some of them AI drones). The pacing is great with peaceful sections interspersed with violence and threat building to a satisfying conclusion. 

Review of 'The Player of Games' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Good book. Great for it's length and scope even.

Some comments:

Did he really have to make the Azadians bug eyed baby eating monsters to show the evils of authoritarianism? Did he really have to go so far? I for one thought that was too much but I suppose some people need it spelled out for them.

I'm a fan of the Culture. I've only read Consider Phlebas before but it's one of my favorite Utopias (somewhat disappointed we don't get to see more of it in this one). It aligns with my Anarchist tendencies. And basing it off the Singularity sells it better than most and I like that. And thus I want them to be the good guys. Now, what Marhwin Skel said to the emperor before the last match, that flew right in the face of good guys stuff.
I know that Banks doesn't really intend to …

Review of 'The Player of Games' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Read even if you disliked the first Culture series novel [b:Consider Phlebas|535073|Consider Phlebas (Culture, #1)|Iain M. Banks|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1340803242l/535073.SY75.jpg|14366].

Good:
classic sci-fi premise space emperor elected through an ultimate board-game competition
relatable protagonist
works on both sociological & psychological levels
story is well paced & nicely wrapped up

Bad:
would be more interesting if the empire wasn't sadistically evil
using masculine pronouns for 3rd alien gender feels like a wasted opportunity

Review of 'The Player of Games' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

‘Consider Phlebas’ was great. A real old-timey action science fiction book with a good number of twists. Like being hugged by an alien with eight arms. There are similarities between my experience with ‘Phlebas’ and ‘Dune’, though the two books stand apart from one another. I would argue that ‘Dune’ is, in many places, more finely woven – the politics certainly – but then ‘Player of Games’ happens, and, well, Banks does some magical things to weave in politics, plot and action.

Gurgeh plays board games. He makes them too. He lives on an orbital within the Culture. I thought his life quite ordinary a way – kinda like a space academic, with an edge of play. And yet he appears disaffected, a little absent, almost bored. So he does something out of the ordinary, something which could get him into a bit of trouble. Enough to threaten his reputation …

Review of 'The Player of Games' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

The tale of a swashbuckling deep space ... board game?

Gurgeh is a master game player from The Culture who finds himself in a game tournament in an alien empire. But what is really going on? ... Faster paced and a bit shorter than the first novel, there are plenty of classic pulp tropes, the occasion gross-out, and a few Big Ideas here and there. Loads of fun.

Review of 'The Player of Games' on 'Goodreads'

No rating

I like the ambiguity, I think. The series is about The Culture but it's not overly preachy on weather The Culture is a good or a bad thing. This book was a bit weird for me to read. The appearance of a game that's very expressive reminded me of [b:The Glass Bead Game|16634|The Glass Bead Game|Hermann Hesse|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1386922806s/16634.jpg|2959456] which I loved immensely. In this book however it all seemed a bit more artificial, less relate-able than in Hesses' book. And it seemed all a bit sad in tone right up to the end. Still, I like it.

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