Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks

April 2006

As a science fiction writer, Banks is most well known for his “Culture” novels, set in a universe largely dominated by a utopian society known as the Culture. So after reading and enjoying The Algebraist (which was not a Culture novel), I decided to give some of Banks’ other works a go.

I started with Consider Phlebas, which I felt had some similarities to The Algebraist in that it’s another galaxy-spanning space opera that moves along full-throttle from one adventure to the next. Though Jeremy enjoyed Consider Phlebas slightly more than The Algebraist, I enjoyed it slightly less. But that may have been merely because my expectations with The Algebraist were lower. Consider Phlebas is not bad by any stretch. It’s a science fiction romp, pure and simple, with lots of action, an interesting portrayal of the Culture (in that the story is told from a non-Culture point of view), and that trademark Iain M. Banks darkness. It’s a breezy diversion from real life - and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Further reading…