Consider Phlebas

Brian G Turner

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Thanks for the comments - I have a boxed set which also includes Player of Games and Use of Weapons, so if I continue to struggle with Consider Phlebas I'll move straight onto PoG.
 

Pwaa

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Thanks for the comments - I have a boxed set which also includes Player of Games and Use of Weapons, so if I continue to struggle with Consider Phlebas I'll move straight onto PoG.
PoG is excellent imo, first Culture book I read and probably stil my favourite (and where I got my avatar from) and the books aren't linked in any way so you're not gonna lose any of the story.
Also I found CP slightly harder to read too, but still enjoyable overall.
 

Dan Jones

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I've not got round to Consider Phlebas yet - but can anyone tell me in advance why it references The Wasteland in the title?
 

Venusian Broon

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I am currently (still!) re-reading it. He references the poem probably because he was a fan of T.S. Elliot, and the relevant passage in The Wasteland:

Part 4 - Death by Water

Phlebas the Phoenician, a fortnight dead,
Forgot the cry of gulls, and the deep sea swell
And the profit and loss.
A current under sea
Picked his bones in whispers. As he rose and fell
He passed the stages of his age and youth
Entering whirpool.
Gentile or Jew
O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.

Has some relevance to what happens in the book. (It's okay - reading the above will not give you any spoilers!)
 

Dan Jones

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Cheers @Venusian Broon

I know the passage in question well- I remember studying The wasteland way back when at uni so remain intrigued by the novel title! I'll get round to it soon, eventually...
 

Venusian Broon

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Cheers @Venusian Broon

I know the passage in question well- I remember studying The wasteland way back when at uni so remain intrigued by the novel title! I'll get round to it soon, eventually...
He references the poem again of course for Look to Windward but I can't tell you much about that book, as I haven't read it!
 

clovis-man

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He references the poem again of course for Look to Windward but I can't tell you much about that book, as I haven't read it!
Banks didn't always reveal the underlying nature of his more arcane references. Title included. In this case, it might have to do with the Massaq' ringworld inhabitants looking forward to witnessing a "light years in coming" celestial explosion. Just my guess. But don't let the title put you off. The story is typical Banks, with lots of intrigue if not a great deal of space opera type action.
 

Bick

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The story is typical Banks, with lots of intrigue if not a great deal of space opera type action.
And a lot of completely irrelevant 'plot' as window dressing that never comes to anything. Not his best, I think.
 

BAYLOR

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I read this one about 20 years ago. Lots of story threads, sometimes hard to keep track of , but overall a good read. (y)
 

MWagner

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I read this quite awhile ago now (a few months, anyway) but somehow missed this thread. I thought two scenes were stretched out unconscionably long: the 'flying through the Death Star' scene (giant ship or whatever) and the climactic train scene. But they were still pretty good; especially the latter. (The 'irresistible ship meets immovable mountain' (or whatever) scene was also a bit drawn out, but less so, and was really good.) IOW, most of his large action set-pieces are inefficient.
Those two scenes were my problem with the book as well. Overall, Banks is a solid writer, and Consider Phlebas has a lot of cool ideas. But the climactic action scenes were way over-written, to the point where they were the most boring parts of the book for me. From what I understand this is an early Banks novel, so maybe he got a better handle on pacing as he became more experienced.
 

Atum Hadu

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I loved this book. It's one of my favorite SF books of all time, and it's classic Banks. How is it possible that no one has made a movie out of Consider Phlebas or one of his other books? The set pieces alone would seem to demand the big-screen treatment, not to mention the fact that Hollywood really needs to stop making Alien clones and start tapping into the rich literary gold mine of SF.

Anyway, regarding the Eaters -- they were hilarious! It was a disgusting scene, of course, but also made me laugh out loud. It reminds me of another Banks character, King Tard the Seventeenth, from "Against A Dark Background." Man, could he write!
 
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