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Book Review: Surface Detail, Iain M Banks

May 16, 2012

I’ve read most of Iain Banks books over the years. His contemporary fiction and sci-fi books are in very different genres, but there is some cross over. Surface Detail is his latest sci-fi novel. Like many of his previous sci-fi books, it is quite a weighty tome. It is over 600 pages and heavy with the words as well; with quite a complex interwoven plot.

I read the book over a weekend when I wasn’t feeling too great. So for me to race through it confirms that the book had an excellent plot that meant it was difficult to put down. The story started out with several different threads but they came gradually together over the first half of the book and were tightly intertwined in the second half. I enjoy Banks’ style with the sci-fi language. He has great ideas – plenty in common with the likes of Azimov and Clarke there – which are also just about believable. Whilst he invents lots of terms and technology, there is enough to explain what it is or what it does, but not so much to interrupt the flow of the narrative. He is a rare talent to pull that off so well.

Whilst the book is loosely part of a series, they are not so interlinked that they have to be read in order. I like that because there are often large gaps between when I pick one up. I don’t have to remember characters or planets to be immersed in the latest chapter.

I think I’ll look them all up though and read through them. This latest book was good enough to encourage me to do that now.


From → Stuff I've Read

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