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Silly question.

Discussion in 'Iain M Banks' started by cgsmith, Jul 12, 2016.

  1.  
    cgsmith

    cgsmith Well-Known Member

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    So I read Consider Phlebas the other year and brilliant. I then got the Hydrogen Sonata at the book shop, after determining it might be the next one that was written based on its listed position inside the cover of another copy of Consider Phlebas that I looked at in the book shop. But I just googled it and its the final book written.

    I know that the books aren't all connected and they don't have to be read in order. I just wanted to know if there was a lot of self referential stuff I might be missing out on by reading the book out of order. Plus it is a good excuse to shoot right down to the book shop and pick up The Player of Games.

    Am I just being stupid

    Thanks.
     
  2.  
    Coast

    Coast Well-Known Member

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    If you're looking for an excuse, then yes, you definitely need to read in published order. ;)

    I read in published order mostly, and I think that there are a few references to earlier books as they go on, but certainly nothing crucial or that will leave you scratching your head. Also, i don't think published order was chronological order, so story-line wise, there's no crossover.

    Having said that, there are some books that you don't want to read too early - I'm thinking Excession (which is my favorite but you'll want to be familiar with the culture first).
     
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  3.  
    The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

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    I've read a number of them now, in no particular order, and I've not felt handicapped by reading them haphazardly, save that as I came to it early on (it was the first or second of his I read), I didn't pick up several clues in Inversions which point to its also being a Culture book. I think there may be one character who appears in two books, and if I've understood it correctly he's disguised under another name in one of them but the ending reveals who he is.

    Having said that, the books I've read I've picked up here and there in second hand or discount shops, so I read what I got, hence out of order. If I'd been planning a Banks readathon and buying new, I would have started with his first and worked my way through in date of writing/publication order, to get the most out of them.
     
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  4.  
    Coast

    Coast Well-Known Member

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    Great minds think... and post alike, Judge ;)
     
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  5.  
    cgsmith

    cgsmith Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I'd planned on that but chose the wrong one because it in the front cover of the first book The Hydrogen Sonata was right at the top and I assumed incorrectly that it was next - damned broken phones.

    Thanks for the tips tho.
     
  6.  
    S Blake-Smy

    S Blake-Smy Well-Known Member

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    I would agree with the general consensus here; you don't need to read them in any specific order, but it does help if you do. I feel there is more of an ordered 'revealing' to the aspects and structure of the Culture universe if you do. There is enough in each book to be self contained but the subtleties will be missed without "more-or-less" reading in published order.
     
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  7.  
    cgsmith

    cgsmith Well-Known Member

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    This is exactly what I want to avoid missing out on, the ordered revealing of stuff. Might as well just get the other book though because I keep picking it up and putting it down.
     
  8.  
    clovis-man

    clovis-man Prehistoric Irish Cynic

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    Oddly, Excession was the very first Banks book I read. And I never looked back. A precise order is not necessary. However, I would recommend reading Player of Games fairly early in the traversal because it provides a lot of clues to the real nature of the Culture.
     
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  9.  
    Secher_Nbiw

    Secher_Nbiw Member

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    I don't think it matters what order you read them, but I would recommend leaving Inversions until after you've read a couple of others. Reading it as your first Culture novel leaves you very confused...
     
  10.  
    Pwaa

    Pwaa Well-Known Member

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    Player of Games was the first one I read and I was hooked. But since then I've read nearly all of them but in almost no order what-so-ever and I've absolutely loved the series.
     
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