Use of Weapons

, #3

Paperback, 368 pages

English language

Published Nov. 1, 1992 by Orbit.

ISBN:
978-1-85723-135-9
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Goodreads:
12007

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4 stars (148 reviews)

Use of Weapons is a science fiction novel by Scottish writer Iain M. Banks, first published in 1990. It is the third novel in the Culture series.

13 editions

reviewed Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks (Culture, #3)

Use of Weapons (Goodreads)

4 stars

Content warning General spoilers

reviewed Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks (Culture, #3)

Eh

2 stars

A little confusing at first before realizing it was sort of two stories going in opposite directions. It was a bit of a drag..

Not a fan of the end and it's twist, got sort of a schizophrenic impression of the protagonist when he acted traumatized by horrible things he was the sole cause of. Horrible chairs. Pretend the twist didn't happen and the whole book makes more sense.

Carbon Fascists

4 stars

Content warning Spoilers for the plot of Use of Weapons, including the ending

Review of 'Use of Weapons' on 'Storygraph'

3 stars

My least favourite of Banks' "The Culture" novel, but I’m reading them all again for lighter reading when I’m too tired for anything heavier.
There is probably as much social commentary as character development.

Use of Weapons

5 stars

"Use of Weapons" est le troisième roman du cycle de la Culture de Iain M. Banks. Je viens de le terminer et à chaud, je ne saurais pas dire s'il est aussi réussi que "The Player of Games", son prédécesseur dans le cycle, ou juste en-deça. Dans tous les cas, c'est un excellent roman de science-fiction, qui fait preuve d'une intelligence rare.

La structure narrative, avec ses deux lignes temporelles, l'une chronologique, l'autre antichronologique, n'est pas toujours simple à suivre, et je ne suis d'ailleurs pas certain d'être capable de résumer toute l'histoire complète du début à la fin et de la fin au début, mais quoi qu'il en soit c'est passionnant du début à la fin.

J'avais lu beaucoup de bien de ce cycle romanesque de Iain M. Banks et je dois dire qu'après avoir lu les trois premiers romans, c'est aussi bon que je l'espérais. De quoi me …

Review of 'Use of Weapons' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Reminded me of [b:Chasm City|89185|Chasm City|Alastair Reynolds|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1309203334l/89185.SY75.jpg|2926628] by [a:Alastair Reynolds|51204|Alastair Reynolds|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1521740247p2/51204.jpg].

Good:
dynamic between Diziet & Skaffen-Amtiskaw
2 storylines were a bit confusing at first but made the ending really gripping
big reveal has enough foreshadowing to make it enjoyable

Bad:
present time storyline is basically succession of fetch quests (with infinite resources at each step)
* I would have liked more insight into the chair incident (how does one do that?)

Review of 'Use of Weapons (Culture, #3)' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

thoroughly enjoyed ‘Use of Weapons’ and would place it on par with ‘Player of Games’. I am, in truth, not so keen on guns-blazing sci-fi, so my enjoyment of ‘Use of Weapons’ was tempered by those aspects, though I enjoyed the anti-war sentiments it entertained in the books later stages. There was little political intrigue, and the book focused heavily on the character of Zakalwe, his psychology, his history, and on the various conflicts he had been active in – but his character is far from shallow. He is no token heroic figure. It was this aspect that I enjoyed the most – attempting to understand why Zakalwe functioned the way that he did, and Banks did a fantastic job of adding complexity to this main character without revealing too much. I was kept guessing right up until the end.

Banks also does a fantastic job of giving a sense …

Review of 'Use of Weapons' on 'Goodreads'

No rating

Darker than the first two books, I liked it a little less, because the Culture was shown a little less, on the other hand, it's darker side was shown, so there's that. I love it that these books are all separate stories with only the world they happen in connecting them. It's wonderful.

Review of 'Use of Weapons' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

I finished this a few weeks ago and I had trouble thinking of the review. I was in a stressful place and this book has a lot of back and forth in timelines and the engine that moves it forward was to me a bit clunky. I kept getting lost, having to re-read, and when you struggle both in real life, and in a book, it just makes it slow going which then leads to demuring if it's a good one. As the book concludes it has a massive saving grace in the culmination. Otherwise I thought it was a 3* at the time.

Upon my reflection though and reading the next in the Culture series I realize how the overall series is mapping out. It's operatic-sodal, yea it's my new word. There is a cannon and these are mini-views into those lifes. They could span hundreds, maybe a thousand …

Review of 'Use of Weapons' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I just finished Iain M. Banks' 'Use of Weapons' yesterday. It's a science-fiction/space opera about this intergalactic operative/agent of some shadowy organization which manipulates governments in order to promote peace in the universe.

It was a bit slow in the beginning, plus the structure of showing fragments of the main character's past can be confusing. But it picks up relentlessly past the middle part and becomes just explosive in the end.

I liked the portrayal of the AIs. They usually are funny and quirky, providing the much-needed levity to all the bleakness and darkness in the novel.

This is my first sci-fi of Mr. Banks. The very first novel of his I've read is 'The Wasp Factory,' which is a whole different kind of novel. I am more of the cyberpunk sci-fi type, but I've read and liked several space operas like Dune, Hyperion, and Revelation Space.

Themes of this …

Review of 'Use of Weapons' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Banks seems to have very quickly begun struggling with the limitless potential of the universe he created. It only took two books for him to return to the identical premise of his first book, that of a deliberately anachronistic, contrarian, but morally-driven professional warrior used by but not part of the Culture, and haunted by a long bloody past. On the whole, it was better the first time and did not need to be repeated. I was also deeply unimpressed by the "reveal" at book's end. This rut of Banks' is all the more frustrating for the occasional glimpses he gives of a vast universe where not everyone curses and drinks like a 20th century American, and indeed may not even be humanoid, carbon-based, or involved in military conflicts. Surely he could devote more than a chapter to those stories.

Review of 'Use of Weapons' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

I’ve tried to read this book at least twice before and bounced off. I haven’t read the previous books in the series, and though this Culture novel is reputed to be the best entry point, there is no on-ramp for the new reader.

It turns out to be a fun space adventure with an unfortunately difficult structure, featuring two-fisted mercenary Zakalwe: a professional military advisor and covert agent of the Culture.

The Culture, while peripheral to the action, is the most interesting idea present: a post-scarcity society of space wizards who are vastly powerful and vastly moral. Their disregard for physical and resource limitations locates this book in fantasy rather than science fiction.

They also provide the perfect backdrop for a character like Zakalwe: a no-nonsense military man who barks tough-guy one liners at his effete handlers and incompetent clients. Honestly, I’m a sucker for that stuff. I read Tom …

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