/ BLOG / Matter by Iain M. Banks

Last week I finished my freshly Amazon delivered hardback copy of Matter, by Iain M. Banks. I’m a long time lover of Mr Bank’s Culture novels, since I first read Excession in my early teenage years, so I had high hopes for the latest. I have to say that I was not disappointed. Either I’m just very used to his writing style these days (I recently re-read all the Culture novels), or this latest outing is much more accessible for people not familiar with his style. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not I’m right, and whether or not it’s a good thing.

It was another of those books I found myself unable to put down; It’s a fantastically written novel, and very much like Player of Games, in the way in which Iain zooms in from a galactic to a personal scale. Iain also introduces some newer concepts in his universe, such as Shellworlds which you can consider a very large faux-planet with multiple civilisations leaving in distinct sections (or levels). It seems to have worked nicely. One thing you won’t get much of is the Culture itself, despite one of the characters being from Special Circumstances.

If you’re at all into your SciFi, I highly recommend this book. Although I would wait until it comes out in paperback. This was my first hardback for quite some time, and I’d simply forgotten just how much of a pain they were to store or hold, when sat in certain locations.

I’d also suggest keeping an eye out for the epilogue, which is hidden away, behind the appendix in my copy. Whilst it seems almost as an after thought, although most likely isn’t, it makes a vast improvement on what I felt was a little bit of a clichéd end to the story.