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4.0 out of 5 stars
Excession
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Showing 1-6 of 6 reviews(2 star)show all reviews
Ok take an enthusiastic diplomat, a wacked-out interstellar government, a fleet of smart-alek ships, a spoiled girl and... GO!!!!
There were times in this book where I got the feeling that something was amiss. I found myself asking "is he serious or just trying to make a joke?" or "umm, what are they talking about?" and even "hey, are you making fun of me?" Yes, I was just that confused in some parts.
It starts off promisingly enough. The ambassador Genar-Hoefen is visitng the Affront, a race like psychotic Klingons. Then he is called away to investigate a mystery in the fabric of space-time, the Excession. What is this Excession? Well the book is pretty vague about that (the nonsensical epilogue only serves to muddle things more) and I was left wondering just what happened.
Some of the book was just plain silly. The idea that you could change sex by just thinking about it was odd. I won't even go into the idea that a pregnant woman's zygote is stored in his/her testicle when transformation is complete. Apparently ships have artificial minds that make them sarcasitc and wise guys and they have their own rights (or something). Oh yeah, and there was a talking birds too. However, along with the silliness come surprising creativity and even some cool ideas (the best of which are not well developed). I just wanted a little more explanation.
If you like wierd stuff and don't confuse easily, try this one out. However you have been warned.
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on September 21, 1999
As I waded through Banks' story I wondered why I didn't like it more. I never got engaged or really found a character about whom I cared deeply. Compared to Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep which I read straight through, Excession is a complete misfire. It has galactic travel, ship minds, suspended animation, time shifting, exotic xenobiology, and more but the story is related in episodic sections jumping around so much among points of view that a sense of plot or character is lost in the riffing on the certainly fascinating concepts Banks envisions. So this is more a book of ideas and concepts many of which are well realized than it is a novel or even a compelling story.
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on June 2, 1998
There are whole pages in this book containing sentence fragments burried in random computer gibberish like this: //8367309//!2384#@459003000. I got the point the first time Mr. Banks--YES THESE ARE COMPUTERS TALKING TO EACH OTHER! I get it already, so drop the silly gimmick. Unfortutely, the author seems to have forgotten his audience is...HUMAN. The only reason I didn't give "Excession" a 1 is because it contained some cool ideas about dual hyperspace planes I havn't encountered before. Forget "Excession" and read Peter F. Hamilton's "The Reality Dysfunction" series. It delivers.
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on March 20, 1998
I found Excession a disappointing, if entertaining, read. I've read two of his other Culture novels -- Player of Games and Consider Phelbas -- and found them both intriguing and thought-provoking. Excession, however, has no real main plot but a thousand sub-plots that lead nowhere, serve no clear purpose, and end with a colossally boring anticlimax. All I got from this book was a renewed sense of loathing for the Culture (I've loved to hate them since the dungeon scene on the Planet of the Gerontocrats in Consider Phelbas) and a sneaking regard for the "bad guys", the gasbag Affront.
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on January 3, 1998
Don't believe the puerile rubbish you read in other reviews ; this story (I will not credit it with the description "novel") wheezes along like the pot-boiler it is, in order that Banks can continue to lead his champagne socialist lifestyle, and bore everyone else rigid in doing so. If you're looking for imagination, you'll be better off with the Lion King video.
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on November 20, 1998
This book had many interesting concepts but there was too much not relevant to the story and it is somewhat confusing trying to keep all the players in their proper place. It would have been a much better book if it were a few hundred pages shorter.
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