The Hydrogen Sonata - Iain M Banks latest *spoilers*

Anyone else read this one yet and what did you think?

I found Banks previous book Surface Detail a good read but a bit disturbing so I was glad to see he was back to the fun aspect of The Culture with this one and as Subliming is one of the more intruiging parts of his story universe I was interested to see where he went with it.

To cut a long review short (can’t recall what I was going to say when I started this thread) I found it a fun read if overly formulaic, I do think Banks should now wind up The Culture in a suitably spectacular fashion, I think he’s run out of stories to set in it to be honest.

I did think the main character Cossont was a likeably ordinary individual as opposed to the usual superconfident and capable female characters Banks usually writes, you imagine her going through the story with a somewhat confused “Huh?” expression on her face as titanic civilisation-spanning events take place around her and she somehow finds herself in the middle of them . :smiley:

I would have liked to have seen the wider Ronte civilisations reaction to the Beats Working sacrificing itself on their behalf though, its positive cachet was already through the roof even before that point.

I did wonder if Banks was hinting that Sublimination is an explanation for some of the supernatural events in history, although its usually done on a civilisation wide basis there’s nothing stopping a suitably enlightened individual achieving it on their own, and its unusual for the superintelligent Minds to have something they can’t understand, nor even really describe.

I liked the android who was positive he was in a sim. Both for the character itself, and in the hope that the character was Banks poking fun at himself for his fondness for the trope that the Universe may be a sim.

Yes, Surface Detail was quite disturbing, but an excellent novel nonetheless.

I look forward to his non-Culture SF novels more than his Culture ones. The Algebraist, for example, is exceptional and one of the handful of books (less than 20) that I re-read from time to time.

In any case, I will buckle and buy The Hydrogen Sonata.