Iain Banks. "Transition".

iansales

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And I wrote a somewhat longer review here back in October. For those of you who've not seen it already...
 

clovis-man

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Gully & Ian: After now reading both your reviews, I have to say I find them both to be pretty much on the mark. And I'm glad I wasn't the only one to see the similarity to Use Of Weapons.

Sometimes it's hard to discern the impetus for Banks' story ideas. In Transition, the first thing that struck me was his reference to not only the twin towers attack, but also the world economic collapse of 2008. It seems to have given him the notion that an exploration of a dimension leaping organization that either forestalls or hastens the demise of societies would be great fun. One way or another, too much meddling insures bad results. Perhaps there's a message for the Culture in there somewhere.;)

I had no problem assuming this to be another of his "M" styled tales. But, for all that, I also saw something of a parallel to Dead Air, one of his non-"M" stories which also noted current events such as 9-11 and which also used a variety of characters representing a fair range of modern culture (small c).
 

Rackon

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Newby here...and late to the party.

I enjoyed this book tremendously, flaws and all. In fact, it's one of the few recent books I've wanted to re-read immediately upon finishing.

I should probably mention that the first Banks book I ever read was The Bridge, what now seems eons ago, and that I quite like his non-Culture SF, including The Algabraist. Use of Weapons is my favorite Culture novel, so I didn't find any of the narrative threads difficult to follow. In fact, I loved the structure and multiple points of view.

It will probably never happen, but I would love to see another book with Oh and Mulverhill.

And there are definitely echoes of Use Of Weapons and The Culture in Transition.
 

Rackon

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Interesting to note on his website that the US edition has the M in place!
Ah, yes...old news.

I'm gazing at my copy of Transition by "Iain M Banks" as I type. Although highly regarded in SF circles, Banks is not quite as big a noise here in the US as he is in UK. I suspect the publishers felt Transition would appeal to US SF readers more than his "literary" fiction fans, hence the "M".

In truth, I don't think it probably makes much difference.

I've never quite understood the division myself. But I've run into several people in the last 6 months who've never read IMB's SF and asked for recs.
 

Dave

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I've only just started reading this so I'll skip the reviews for now. I'd say the style was typically Banks with the multiple story-lines running together and the asides (some of which I thought reminiscent of Douglas Adams.) There is a lot of humour.

As for it being framed by major events, my impression, so far, is that they are signposts and markers used by the flitters/transistioners (sliders). The same reason they have headquarters in Istanbul and Jerusalem - cities with long histories that do not change much. However, taken for granted I haven't read the whole book yet. ;)
 

AE35Unit

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Ah, yes...old news.

I'm gazing at my copy of Transition by "Iain M Banks" as I type. Although highly regarded in SF circles, Banks is not quite as big a noise here in the US as he is in UK. I suspect the publishers felt Transition would appeal to US SF readers more than his "literary" fiction fans, hence the "M".

In truth, I don't think it probably makes much difference.

I've never quite understood the division myself. But I've run into several people in the last 6 months who've never read IMB's SF and asked for recs.
Banks has a unique position. He exists as an SF writer, lauded by fans on here, but also, out there in the world of 'Oh I don't read sci-fi, I read literature'! Most people mention books like The Crow Road or The Wasp Factory, blissfully unaware he's also a successful 'sci-fi' writer!
 

Dave

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I liked this a lot, and would have to move it near the top of my list, though below Use of Weapons and Whist, but if I had to compare it to anything I would say it was 'inspired by Quantum Leap'. I did guess who the patient would turn out to be early on, why else would the sub-chapters not use names?

I was interested in Iansales review and his discussion of 'Christianity/Islam terrorism' because in the first half of the book I was expecting Banks to make more of a big political play that the 'Concern' is like GW Bush (or any World Power) - meddling in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, ostensibly for the greater good, but actually making things worse. For Madame O, it was also a case of 'Power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely'.

The only thing is, that by the end of the book it was all reversed, and it seemed that instead, rather all the problems in our world, and the vast majority of all murders committed, were actually a result of people from an alternative reality - a bit of a cop out really, absolving us of any wrongdoing at all.
 

Allegra

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I have mixed feelings about the book. The ideas are truly amazing and the writing is brilliant - different style from his Culture books, but I wished there could have been more to the plot to make the whole thing fuller and greater. It's definitely a book worth savouring and re-reading.
 

Allegra

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I've only just started reading this so I'll skip the reviews for now. I'd say the style was typically Banks with the multiple story-lines running together and the asides (some of which I thought reminiscent of Douglas Adams.) There is a lot of humour.
I agree the structure is typical Banks, but I felt the way it's written is more...contemporary and earthy - understandably. The Adrian's part had me laughed out a few times. Now I feel like to read more of his no 'M' books.
 

Vertigo

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I have just finished this book and it has definitely taken it's place as one of my favourite Banks books. I have put up not so much a review as some of my thoughts on the book here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/506994915

As stated there, a year or two back and I might not have liked this book so much, but now, with all of two of his 'mainstream' (non M) books under my belt, I was much more prepared for the style of this book that definitely has a foot in both of Banks' genres.
 

Vertigo

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Just be a little cautious Bowler: I put this footnote to my post in the January reading thread:

Do not go into this book expecting classic Banks Culture style space opera; you won't get it. Style-wise It is closer to a mix between Use of Weapons and Walking on Glass (an Iain Banks book without the 'M') and the sf content (the actual transitioning between multiple universes) is almost incidental despite being the subject of the book!
 

Spacer

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I am not a great fan of Iain banks but love Iain m banks but I thought Transition was superb. Like the culture books it left wanting more and hoping he would do a sequel. He won't of course.
 
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