It is AD. Humanity has made it to the stars. Fassin Taak, a Slow Seer at the Court of the Nasqueron Dwellers, will be fortunate if he makes it to the end of. Banks (Look to Windward) pulls out all the stops in this gloriously over-the-top, state-of-the-art space opera, a Hugo nominee in its British. The Algebraist is peak Iain M. Banks. It’s also the only book he ever wrote to be nominated for the Hugo Award, a fact that seems almost.

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The novel is active and spirited. And, perversely, this very flood of specificity seems to have made this particular book less memorable, at least for me; I recognized bits here and there, but the plot as a whole and, for a long time, even the Big Reveal rather evaded me on second reading.

The setting is a universe where humanity have spread across the galaxy and coexisting with various extraterrestrial species as part of a galactic empire called Mercatoria. The novel ends with Taak, having left Ulubis and joined the Beyonders, suggesting to a lifelong friend he has just discovered is an AI, “all will be free”.

If you’ve never read the Culture series and are curious as to whether or not it would interest you, this is a good test book.

This keeps the rhumans focused on trying to catch up rather than cause more trouble, which humans normally would be prone to do. Thirty or forty years from now, people will read this book and think it’s so locked in the first decade of this century. A revenge plot that probably suffers the most for getting lost in the threads, a vast future history, rogue AIs, a quest for a lost artifact and an ironically cruel war are among the many elements at work.

S This is a new genre for me. There is a story somewhere in the depths of The Algebraistbut extracting and parsing it is not for the faint of heart.

It had so much potential, but it was simultaneously underwritten and overwritten, if that’s even possible. The wash of smart thought and the set-piece dynamics keep the reader at arm’s length. It involves the sequestration of a young gentlemen to appeal to an ancient race of “Dwellers” who inhabit varius gas giant planets for their wisdom and aid to stave off an interstellar war. The fact is, before The Algebraist, I never read the second Iain, author of lengthy space operas.


Lots of space battles, grief, and mystery keeps the novel jumping. I am marking the rest with a spoiler tag because I want to rant a little and some of it has to do with the actual progress of the book. Reminds algebralst too much of real life where people are bullied algebraisf admitting guilt even when not guilty and those who are truly innocent are made to suffer the most. Just because you can make something creative and compelling in isolation doesn’t mean it will work in context.

Iain M. Banks The Algebraist Reviewed by Rick Kleffel

Now, funny science fiction isn’t all that unusual. Seer Fassin Taak is charged with the task of finding the list. The following is about the only praise I have for The Algebraistso lap it up while the lapping is good.

There’s just so much potential in this single species. Banks Look to Windward pulls out all the stops in this gloriously over-the-top, state-of-the-art space opera, a Hugo nominee in its British edition. Nowhere is this more evident that in his SciFi, and the Algebraist flaunts his prodigious talents to the full. Wormhole networks are easily disrupted, though—one of the reasons why Ulubis is such a Galactic backwater is that its own wormhole connection to the rest of the Galaxy was destroyed a few centuries earlier, necessitating a replacement be sent from the nearest connected star system by the Mercatorian Engineers who are the only ones allowed to create and maintain these particular bits of critical infrastructure.

They accumulate knowledge is an enthusiastic but haphazard manner, building up scattered libraries that may house powerful secrets for those willing to delve deeply enough. It’s as if The Algebraist is a simmering pot of water that, about pages in, comes to a boil, and then all of the water boils away.

Visit our Beautiful Books page and find lovely books for kids, photography lovers and more. It turns out that in a previous research expedition to the Dweller-inhabited gas-giant Nasqueron, Taak inadvertently uncovered a book containing information about the legendary “Dweller List” of coordinates for their own private systems of wormholes.

Book ratings by Goodreads. The tone of the book is uneven, and one wonders whether Banks can’t decide to be Asimov or Douglas Adams.

The invasion’s mastermind, Archmandrite Luseferous, also begins the book as a credible threat. But that is the way far future science fiction should be.


Algebraist is a close comparable to Walter Jon William’s recent algebaist space-operas: And Algebraist needed some blue-pencil work to cut some of the fat Not 42, a duck egg. This loses a star because the baddy is such an obvious nasty with the name Archimandrite Lusefer ous of the Starveling Cult, happily though this is an exciting and busy storyline crammed full of Walking nanks The worldbuilding is not as complex or complete but they build on and support one another in interesting and unusual ways.

The Algebraist is my first get together with Iain M.

Seasonal Reading Challenge Fall Task 5. Works of Iain Banks.

The Algebraist

The characters, the Dwellers in alyebraist, came across as inconsistent and goofy, failed attempts to mimic the creative absurdity of Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett. Amazingly entertaining but best for the Advanced SciFi reader.

I would wager for fun, tongue firmly in cheek. Jan 04, Dan rated it liked it Recommends it for: So Banks seems to ripen with age. I suppose that everyone has gaps in their reading, authors they’d love bansk have read but banls not yet got round to. There are numerous other clever ideas such as the description of life on a gas giant, the gascraft, a personal size vehicle that enable humans to live on gas giants, the ideas are just brimming all over the place as you can expect from Banks.

May 02, Craig Dean rated it really liked it. Pretty much all of the Awesome in The Algebraist is a result, directly or indirectly of action or utterance of a Dweller or Dwellers.

Retrieved bank August algebrast Nevertheless, Dweller society isn’t very cohesive—many Dwellers are completely ignorant of matters like military capability and whether or not they have a secret wormhole network. Will the Fleet arrive in time? I remember reading a review that criticized the aliens in this book as “too anthropomorphic” I guess the reviewer is not too familiar with humans and should endeavor to get out more. And why all of this interest in what really is, on a Galactic scale, the equivalent of a sleepy little college town?