Use of Weapons

Use of Weapons

Book - 2008
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The man known as Cheradenine Zakalwe was one of Special Circumstances' foremost agents, changing the destiny of planets to suit the Culture through intrigue, dirty tricks and military action. The woman known as Diziet Sma had plucked him from obscurity and pushed him towards his present eminence, but despite all their dealings she did not know him as well as she thought. The drone known as Skaffen-Amtiskaw knew both of these people. It had once saved the woman's life by massacring her attackers in a particularly bloody manner. It believed the man to be a burnt-out case. But not even its machine could see the horrors in his past.
Publisher: New York : Orbit, 2008, c1990
ISBN: 9780316030571
0316030570

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rswcove
Jul 31, 2015

Iain banks is like Christopher Nolan, and that is why I didn't enjoy this novel. He seems to be in love with structural artifice at the expense of proper storytelling. Howling mad yet? Good. Iain Banks did not meet a character he did want to reduce to a pronoun and seems to revel in acting like deliberately bad exposition and description are a mark of a good writer. No, sorry. Using poor narrative construction on purpose to hide facts from the reader is not clever when Dan Brown does it, so why do readers give Banks accolades when he does it? I don't know. If this is Banks' masterpiece then I have no need to ever read him again.

And course the ending. I suppose this something of a spoiler, but this ham fisted novel wears its incoming twist ending like flashing emergency beacon. It was so obvious and so cumbersome to the narrative that I was looking up spoilers online to get the dumb thing out of the way. Not that I needed to, the 'twist' was exactly as obvious an cliched with only Banks' love of grim spectacle for it's own sake making it at all a surprise. The more I think about the time I wasted on this novel, the more it gets me angry.

If you think it's a masterpiece, don't recommend any work of fiction to me ever.

g
GregKush
Apr 27, 2014

While not the first in the Culture series, Banks credits this book with the original idea of the Culture (apparently the manuscript dates back to 1974). Very worthwhile, and I found it took less time to get into the characters than other books Banks has penned. Nice steady progression of the characters; the reverse time telling the main character's background intertwined with the ostensible main story broke up the story with little nuggets worth savoring.

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rswcove
Jul 31, 2015

rswcove thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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