BANKS/USE OF WEAPONS
Banks is a phenomenon: the wildly successful, fearlessly creative author of brilliant and disturbing non-genre novels, hes equally at home writing pure science fiction of a peculiarly gnarly energy and elegance WILLIAM GIBSON
There is now no British SF writer to whose work I look forward to with greater keenness THE TIMES
Few of us have been exposed to a talent so manifest and of such extraordinary breadth THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF SCIENCE FICTION
Poetic, humorous, baffling, terrifying, sexy - the books of Iain M. Banks are all these things and more NME
Also by Iain M. Banks
Consider Phlebas The Player of Games The State of the Art Against a Dark Background Feersum Endjinn Excession Inversions Look to Windward
This novel (and all other Iain (M) Banks books) is still in print in the UK. If you've read his in-print stuff and can't get ahold of this, mosey over to amazon.co.uk.
Now, my two cents: This, along with Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly and Orwell's 1984, is the grestest SF book ever written (my opinion, of course, but I trust it, so you should too). You could call it anti-space-opera; as an earlier reviewer said, it is the flip side to airy Star Wars style spaceship shoot-em-ups--Use of Weapons is to The Lensman Series what Apocolypse Now is to The Green Barrets.
You can't miss with Banks (except perhaps with Excession, where he's dissapeared somewhere up the Culture's Mind's arses and can't find his way out--though in the end, even that is a worthwhile read). He is a truly talented author who creates mainstream and SF masterpieces in alternating years, and you'll be doing yourself a favour by buying a book of his.
And Look to Windward, out in the UK for a year now, gets its US release in August--sign up your pre-order now!