The Algebraist

Hardcover, 544 pages

Published Sept. 28, 2004 by Orbit.

ISBN:
978-1-84149-155-4
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4 stars (45 reviews)

It is 4034 AD. Humanity has made it to the stars. Fassin Taak, a Slow Seer at the Court of the Nasqueron Dwellers, will be fortunate if he makes it to the end of the year.

The Nasqueron Dwellers inhabit a gas giant on the outskirts of the galaxy, in a system awaiting its wormhole connection to the rest of civilisation. In the meantime, they are dismissed as decadents living in a state of highly developed barbarism, hoarding data without order, hunting their own young and fighting pointless formal wars.

Seconded to a military-religious order he’s barely heard of — part of the baroque hierarchy of the Mercatoria, the latest galactic hegemony — Fassin Taak has to travel again amongst the Dwellers. He is in search of a secret hidden for half a billion years. But with each day that passes a war draws closer — a war that threatens …

18 editions

His best sci-fi novel

5 stars

If "Excession" is Banks' best Culture novel, I believe this book to be his best sci-fi. Clearly written at the height of Banks' writing prowess it is a unique, inventive exploration of an alien civilization. While not necessarily a unique spin on aliens, the book is well-pace, well-written and one I've enjoyed reading, repeatedly.

Review of 'The Algebraist' on 'Storygraph'

5 stars

Another galactic scale SciFi from a master of the genre. Not, this time, in the Culture universe, but one with gas-giant inhabitants who live a billion years along with humans and other fast, short-lived creatures. This involves several of each as characters.

The usual complex story of politics, culture and adventure.

Review of 'The Algebraist' on 'Goodreads'

No rating

It was a decent enough story, but I wish that the math in a book with such a title was a little higher level. And I don't mean actual math, as there wasn't any. But it left the impression that the purpose of an equation or a set of equations is to give a number at the end, and that's very rarely true.
Other than that, I found it fun for the most part, it lost me in some parts, but not too badly. I like the dwellers. Like the characters. Sympathize with the AI's. All in all, pretty good story.

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Subjects

  • Science Fiction