Help! Is Culture series ok for 9 yr old?

NewbieH

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Hi
Hoping someone can help. My 9 year old is avid SF fan, he's just picked up Consider Phlebas, which I've not read. Is it ok for someone of his age? Ive read Iain Banks books and know some are definitely not appropriate. He's already loving it.
Thank in advance!
 

NewbieH

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Thanks...bit worried now... Star Wars type violence is ok. Might need to prise it out of his hands until he's a bit older!
 

Nick B

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Yeah, I wouldn't worry about my 11 year old reading it, she's pretty mature. Doubt I'd let my 9 year old
boy read it to be honest. I just recall in one about a rather promiscuous lady, don't think there was actually sex, but can't remember too much tbh.
 

NewbieH

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Yeah, I wouldn't worry about my 11 year old reading it, she's pretty mature. Doubt I'd let my 9 year old
boy read it to be honest. I just recall in one about a rather promiscuous lady, don't think there was actually sex, but can't remember too much tbh.
Thank you. He's a mature reader, hard to vet his reading when he is capable of reading adult fiction / non-fiction. One old thread mentioned that violence was a bit hardcore. He reads a lot of history as well, and real life violence is more horrifying than fiction. Although he understands difference between Star Wars type violence and real life, Banks could be rather graphic and mess with the brain when he wanted to! I don't want to curtail his enthusiasm for reading, or slow him down if I try to read it first, but don't want him exposed to anything too much so young.
Thank you for reply, appreciated.
 

Vertigo

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As I said in the other thread I'd push him towards Player of Games which I think a nine-year-old would love.

That said if he's already started on it it could be more damaging to take it away from him. Maybe have a chat with him and warn him that it might get unpleasant and maybe offering a substitute.

Difficult one...
 

Toby Frost

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I'd say no. There's a chunk in the middle of Phlebas involving some cannibals which is just straight-up horror, and which I gather Banks himself later came to dislike. Oddly, the book would lose nothing by cutting it. The overall background of the Culture is probably best appreciated when you're old enough to get the ideas under it, too, which I doubt a nine-year-old would be.
 

zaltys13

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I think there is also a rather graphic description of a party where the people like to modify their bodies to have gaping wounds and horrendous injuries, Toby Frost is right, the cannibal section is very unpleasant and lasts a fair few pages. The game Damage, played on the doomed orbital also has a graphic description of a player and his harem as well, I seem to recall. In most respects though it's a rollicking space opera and an ideal introduction to the Culture. I think it's difficult to judge what is acceptable for children, I was reading James Herbert and Stephen King at nine, but neither of those authors really played with structure and themes the way Banks did, he wrote very grown up stories.

I've just realized that two of those three authors are now dead, which makes me sad.
 

Rodders

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I think it might be a little too graphic for a nine year old. Best for him to wait until he's a teenager.
 

Jo Zebedee

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I think it might be a little too graphic for a nine year old. Best for him to wait until he's a teenager.
The trouble then is, what to do. He already has the book...

I think, as a parent, there are four main options:

1. Read the book with him, or in tandem. Ask him to wait for you to catch up. That way, you can discuss upsetting things and put them in context
2. Ask him to come to you with any parts he finds difficult - this gives trust to the child, and maturity, so isn't a bad thing.
3. Let him read it, assuming it will either pass him by - the bits that are beyond comprehension and experience - or he'll naturally get bored.
4. Refuse to allow him to read it, thus opening the door to forbidden fruit and making it a bigger issue than it actually is.

For me, I'd go with one or, if I didn't have the time, two. Kids are smart.
 

zaltys13

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The trouble then is, what to do. He already has the book...

I think, as a parent, there are four main options:

1. Read the book with him, or in tandem. Ask him to wait for you to catch up. That way, you can discuss upsetting things and put them in context
2. Ask him to come to you with any parts he finds difficult - this gives trust to the child, and maturity, so isn't a bad thing.
3. Let him read it, assuming it will either pass him by - the bits that are beyond comprehension and experience - or he'll naturally get bored.
4. Refuse to allow him to read it, thus opening the door to forbidden fruit and making it a bigger issue than it actually is.

For me, I'd go with one or, if I didn't have the time, two. Kids are smart.
Number one is a great idea. The horse has bolted. He's got the book, he's reading it, taking it away from him could, I believe cause more problems in the long run. I remember being scared witless by the film A Nightmare on Elm Street when I was about twelve/thirteen years old, but if a parent had stopped the video and taken it away from me my resentment would have been higher than my fear factor. I realise that there is a big difference between a book and a film but the principal remains the same. Reading a book in tandem can be a wonderful thing, the impetus is there to communicate, to analyse, to censor if you have to and to guide children through difficult concepts, ideas, and yes graphic imagery, and on top of all that, your doing it together.

Not sure about number two. If you haven't got the time to guide your child through their early reading your asking for trouble, in my opinion of course.

Three and four, well, you really are asking for trouble, as Jo Zebedee has said, kids are smart.
 

Brian G Turner

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I didn't really understand the sex and violence I read as a kid - I simply didn't have the frame of reference to imagine it, which is required in a novel.
 

DZara

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I remember being scared witless by the film A Nightmare on Elm Street when I was about twelve/thirteen years old, but if a parent had stopped the video and taken it away from me my resentment would have been higher than my fear factor.
That also depends on the kid - whether or not they're particularly sensitive to that kind of thing and they might be traumatized.

I would have appreciated a gentle warning about Nightmare on Elm Street as a child - burned out about three nightlights after that movie. But I'm very sensitive to graphic horror.

My youngest girl, on the other hand, could take a lot more than I could, at a much younger age. Her sensitivities are way different than mine.

I like Jo's #2 with a caveat - offer the warning before child runs across those parts, and then offer to talk if he'd like to. Every child is different.
 

Bick

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I'd say no. There's a chunk in the middle of Phlebas involving some cannibals which is just straight-up horror, and which I gather Banks himself later came to dislike. Oddly, the book would lose nothing by cutting it. The overall background of the Culture is probably best appreciated when you're old enough to get the ideas under it, too, which I doubt a nine-year-old would be.
What he said - it turned my stomach when I was in my thirties, some of the most disturbing imagery I've ever read. Definitely don't let your 9 year old read Banks.
 

Dave Barsby

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Phlebas also has plenty of swearing and a fairly strong sex scene in addition to gore and violence. If it was a film or video game it would be at minimum a 15 / R rating. Banks's books are definitely for grown-ups
 
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