Consider Phlebas

, #1

Paperback, 471 pages

English language

Published Nov. 13, 2005 by Orbit.

ISBN:
978-1-85723-138-0
Copied ISBN!

View on OpenLibrary

View on Inventaire

4 stars (234 reviews)

The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender.

Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction.

7 editions

reviewed Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks (Culture, #1)

Review of 'Consider Phlebas' on 'Storygraph'

5 stars

This is the second Banks I’ve read and I thought they were both terrific. Unlike some epic, galaxy-spanning space operas, this was pacey, smoothly written with great characters and loads of action and adventure.

Review of 'Consider Phlebas' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

Space opera #1 in a long series. The plot was like a superhero movie; why are they going there one wonders. Some characters, like those in a bad Western, were clearly introduced so that there was someone to die in the next big fight. I felt sorry for the poor bastards as soon as they were described. The underlying premise, the importance of The Mind, never seemed clear to me. I would have to classify it as an unusually transparent McGuffin. The protagonist's feelings about The Culture were unclear to me. I assume that the nature of the Culture would become more clear if I read more of these novels. (See famous quote attributed to Giacomo Rossini re: Wagner's Ring) Also, there were some attempts at stream-of-consciousness that were unsuccessful.

Elements of a Great SciFi but Not Executed

3 stars

No real world building even though the world we get a glimpse of is fascinating. We are left wanting and not in a good way. A lot of it was, well, meaningless. We want this book to be more. We actually need it to be more. That it doesn't even com close is what is so depressing. That said, we are eager to read the next recommended book in the series to hopefully see if he does give us more, in a good way.

A ton of imaginative concepts but it doesn't quite work

3 stars

Content warning Mild spoilers

The Culture begins

5 stars

I remember seeing this in a book shop with a shiny silver highlight on the cover, and recognisng the name of the author of "The Wasp Factory", which I had read and really enjoyed. But what was he doing in the SF section, and what was the "M" all about? I guessed correctly that here was an author living a double life in so-called literature AND my home base of genre fiction, especially SF. And I found his SF was far superior to his realistic fiction or whatever you call that rubbish :-).

On early readings I didn't quite absorb the brilliant creation of Banks' future utopia the Culture, partly because this first novel highlights a character who has turned against this pan-galactic anarchist society, and worked for a religious extremist society sworn to destroy it. It's like Banks wanted to stress-test his perfect society by portraying one of its …

Review of 'Consider Phlebas' on 'Storygraph'

4 stars

Mostly escapist science fiction because I have an annoying cold and am low on energy.
It is about the clash of a post-capitalist culture and an imperialist one though, however unlikely, the "good folks" are human(oid) and the war-making imperialists are not.

It's the first of Banks' Culture novels, which I've read several times; I'm starting over though it will take me a while as I'll save them for when my attention span is low.

Consider Phlebas

4 stars

Cela faisait un moment que je voulais lire le cycle de la Culture de Iain M. Banks et je me suis enfin décidé à m'y mettre. Je ne sais pas si je dois me réjouir d'avoir autant attendu ou regretter de ne pas l'avoir fait plus tôt, tout est-il que le premier roman du cycle m'a beaucoup plu.

Le récit est rythmé et finalement assez classique. On s'attache énormément aux personnages et on suit avec plaisir leurs aventures et mésaventures. Surtout, l'univers est original, on pressent une grande richesse à explorer dans la suite du cycle. C'est de la science-fiction inventive et intelligente, tout ce que j'aime.

Review of 'Consider Phlebas' on 'Goodreads'

1 star

Bad. The setting of the Culture is interesting but the author's sense of storytelling and pacing is horrible. For a series about the Culture, I was surprised that the novel is from the viewpoint of someone who is fighting against them. I learned very little about the thing I wanted to read about.

The story is bogged down by internal monologuing, info dumps, and scene changes to the literal other side of the galaxy. There are a number of chapters that are entirely superfluous -- the worst of which is a digression onto an island of religious fanatics (no spoilers but the chapter name actually tells you what will happen). The writing is so long-winded that you'll start skimming, and then immediately miss a throwaway line that is critical to the next few pages of action. Even during the climax of the novel, the author decides to break up the …

Arrogance

4 stars

This is a book about arrogance. The arrogance of going up against a culture (indeed, THE Culture) that can do anything, of going up against the certainty of faith, of going it alone, of reliance on technology or the rejection of it. I spent a while thinking about what this book is "about" after its unusual conclusion. I think it's ultimately about how very important it is to work together, to be together. A culture that destroys individualism so thoroughly that each person is ultimately disconnected from every other is as bad as a religious community that rejects common ground with other communities, which is itself as bad as a man who is driven only to accomplish his own ends. Every bad thing that happens to an individual is either the result of working alone--even with the best intentions--or of an uncaring, random universe inflicting itself on people left unprotected. …

It's a space opera. What do you want?

4 stars

I definitely enjoyed this more than (Surface Detail)[https://book.dansmonorage.blue/book/18939]. If nothing else, it is notably shorter, which suggests an instance of "established authors need editing too".

Banks does love to shock, and loves to write "cinematically", which occasionally a bit tiresome.

While I think describing the Culture series as "Literary Science Fiction" is a bit of stretch, there are some interesting big picture ideas, and some of the characters have some depth, or at least some interior life. The choice of having a "bad guy" protagonist already elevates it beyond a lot of more pulpy SF.

Review of 'Consider Phlebas' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

Much ado about nothing.

I really liked how this started off. A protagonist thrown from one deadly encounter to another, sort of like Indiana Jones. The final act takes a surprising turn into what amounts to a slow dungeon crawl, then the epilogue ties things up in a way that I consider deeply unsatisfying.

Review of 'Consider Phlebas' on 'Goodreads'

1 star

This book is a good example of why Goodreads needs a status for books called “Abandoned” or “Didn’t finish”. Ugh, made it 20% of the way through it and decided that it was pointless gore and misery. Too many good books out there to waste time with books like this.

avatar for loppear

rated it

3 stars
avatar for lucasrizoli

rated it

2 stars
avatar for lamnatos

rated it

3 stars
avatar for jimfingal

rated it

4 stars
avatar for wilw

rated it

5 stars
avatar for Lasu

rated it

3 stars
avatar for ckochx

rated it

4 stars
avatar for james

rated it

5 stars
avatar for secretGeek

rated it

5 stars
avatar for Lasu

rated it

3 stars
avatar for evanstucker

rated it

2 stars
avatar for agd

rated it

3 stars
avatar for agd

rated it

3 stars
avatar for samullen

rated it

3 stars
avatar for asmundg

rated it

3 stars
avatar for moopet

rated it

1 star
avatar for maese_richar

rated it

4 stars
avatar for qnm

rated it

4 stars
avatar for Yogthos

rated it

4 stars
avatar for mikec

rated it

4 stars
avatar for stim

rated it

2 stars
avatar for Tamino

rated it

5 stars
avatar for oisin

rated it

4 stars
avatar for ngs

rated it

3 stars
avatar for jumpinggrendel

rated it

4 stars
avatar for wakatara

rated it

3 stars
avatar for tmarsh1024

rated it

5 stars
avatar for dan_oglesby

rated it

4 stars
avatar for jelmervdl

rated it

3 stars
avatar for Dunedinmouse

rated it

3 stars
avatar for paparomeo

rated it

5 stars
avatar for Chigaze

rated it

4 stars
avatar for knizer

rated it

5 stars
avatar for rgibert

rated it

4 stars
avatar for Old_Tim

rated it

5 stars
avatar for sajattack

rated it

4 stars
avatar for RPhlegm

rated it

1 star
avatar for hel

rated it

3 stars
avatar for lbthomas

rated it

5 stars
avatar for timhutton

rated it

4 stars
avatar for joeyh

rated it

3 stars
avatar for awboonstra

rated it

4 stars
avatar for Korenwolf

rated it

4 stars
avatar for fabriek

rated it

2 stars
avatar for vertis

rated it

5 stars
avatar for erinmalone

rated it

5 stars
avatar for Blerkotron

rated it

4 stars
avatar for wafonso

rated it

3 stars
avatar for osiris

rated it

3 stars
avatar for Antolius

rated it

3 stars
avatar for stinkingpig

rated it

5 stars
avatar for Ba5ilisk

rated it

5 stars
avatar for yallah110

rated it

3 stars
avatar for abekonge

rated it

3 stars
avatar for suddzzjr

rated it

4 stars
avatar for cara-cara

rated it

2 stars
avatar for Doomedrider

rated it

3 stars
avatar for Ivia

rated it

2 stars
avatar for Hirvox

rated it

4 stars
avatar for sebastost

rated it

5 stars
avatar for johnke

rated it

3 stars
avatar for ranok

rated it

4 stars
avatar for niclindh

rated it

4 stars
avatar for Painkiller

rated it

3 stars
avatar for proycon

rated it

3 stars
avatar for ieuan

rated it

4 stars
avatar for spiralmind

rated it

4 stars
avatar for cerieshunter

rated it

4 stars
avatar for Allenshull

rated it

4 stars
avatar for AndySoc1al

rated it

4 stars
avatar for bombpersons

rated it

4 stars
avatar for Maerman

rated it

4 stars
avatar for timchi

rated it

3 stars
avatar for hammondj

rated it

4 stars
avatar for hexarchate

rated it

1 star
avatar for turmacar

rated it

4 stars
avatar for nightgolfer

rated it

5 stars
avatar for AwkwardTurtle

rated it

4 stars
avatar for AudientVoid

rated it

4 stars
avatar for neosloth

rated it

3 stars
avatar for Shack70

rated it

2 stars
avatar for dx

rated it

3 stars
avatar for m4cb3th

rated it

5 stars
avatar for sidmitra

rated it

3 stars
avatar for gtco

rated it

4 stars
avatar for rahulgopinath

rated it

5 stars
avatar for Turtle4233

rated it

3 stars
avatar for jimfl

rated it

4 stars
avatar for tshannon

rated it

4 stars
avatar for rechtsstaat

rated it

3 stars
avatar for mbraagaard

rated it

5 stars
avatar for wanderbaer

rated it

5 stars
avatar for brunosan

rated it

3 stars
avatar for snm

rated it

4 stars
avatar for trevor

rated it

4 stars
avatar for acidman

rated it

4 stars
avatar for lacop

rated it

4 stars
avatar for dev_tea

rated it

3 stars
avatar for themoken

rated it

5 stars
avatar for Jorn

rated it

3 stars
avatar for kevbot9000

rated it

4 stars
avatar for mjdiliscia

rated it

4 stars
avatar for jamesbrooks

rated it

5 stars
avatar for Coornail

rated it

4 stars
avatar for engwalker

rated it

5 stars
avatar for diversario

rated it

4 stars
avatar for cwzp

rated it

3 stars
avatar for mivade

rated it

2 stars
avatar for hamish

rated it

5 stars
avatar for Gretrascis

rated it

3 stars
avatar for pneuma

rated it

4 stars
avatar for jmc142

rated it

4 stars
avatar for Pablonaj

rated it

2 stars
avatar for nwale

rated it

3 stars
avatar for tsukikage

rated it

4 stars
avatar for peter_hall

rated it

5 stars
avatar for grislyeye

rated it

4 stars
avatar for estranho

rated it

4 stars
avatar for chaos_angel

rated it

2 stars
avatar for Psvensson

rated it

5 stars
avatar for jhaase

rated it

5 stars
avatar for Shtakser

rated it

4 stars
avatar for WorzelFG

rated it

3 stars
avatar for BillieCodes

rated it

5 stars
avatar for tronicdude

rated it

5 stars
avatar for StereoSoda

rated it

5 stars
avatar for mandugar

rated it

5 stars
avatar for pdrbstmnt

rated it

3 stars
avatar for rleyton

rated it

5 stars
avatar for jolson

rated it

3 stars
avatar for naught101

rated it

1 star
avatar for bentreegecko

rated it

4 stars
avatar for termie

rated it

5 stars
avatar for narinarinari

rated it

2 stars
avatar for recri

rated it

4 stars
avatar for ward

rated it

3 stars
avatar for veganmashuu

rated it

2 stars
avatar for rosssi

rated it

5 stars
avatar for inti

rated it

4 stars
avatar for robphippen

rated it

3 stars
avatar for flancian

rated it

3 stars
avatar for kranzi

rated it

5 stars
avatar for barryfujii

rated it

3 stars
avatar for drizzy

rated it

3 stars
avatar for Njdevils95

rated it

4 stars
avatar for ospalh

rated it

5 stars
avatar for MatthiasvW

rated it

5 stars
avatar for pd-bomber

rated it

4 stars
avatar for Lunartech

rated it

3 stars
avatar for CMGX9

rated it

3 stars
avatar for tjrourke

rated it

4 stars
avatar for kosure

rated it

4 stars
avatar for armamix@books.infosec.exchange

rated it

4 stars
avatar for acdha

rated it

4 stars
avatar for Tinche

rated it

5 stars
avatar for Anders_S

rated it

4 stars
avatar for rpearce

rated it

1 star
avatar for ToddSchroth

rated it

4 stars
avatar for stombeur

rated it

3 stars
avatar for matthewmincher

rated it

4 stars
avatar for jjackunrau

rated it

4 stars
avatar for hastur

rated it

4 stars
avatar for pnyx

rated it

3 stars
avatar for fear025

rated it

4 stars
avatar for Trentie

rated it

3 stars
avatar for betolima

rated it

3 stars
avatar for lnklnx

rated it

3 stars
avatar for spodonkidonk

rated it

4 stars