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Book Title: The State of the Art|
The author of the book: Iain M. Banks
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 953 KB
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Edition: Little, Brown Book Group
Date of issue: March 4th 2010
ISBN: No data
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Reader ratings: 4.5
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There are some authors whose short fiction I enjoy much more than their novels. Iain Banks is not one of them. A couple of these are great, but I think for the most part that he really excels when he has maximum literary space to explore a story and develop his characters. 'A Gift from the Culture' and 'The State of the Art' are definite high points in the collection.
Road of Skulls: 2/5
Nothing particularly special.
A Gift From the Culture: 4/5
I dug this one a lot. It had a noir quality to it. Told from the perspective of someone who opted to leave the culture for a pre-scarcity society. My favorite in the book.
Odd Attachment: 4/5
Pretty humorous encounter with a plant life form.
Another culture story. I didn't particularly like this one that much.
Cleaning Up: 3/5
A story about trash disposal gone wrong. One man's trash...
The State of the Art: 4/5
This novella, book 4 of The Culture series, takes up about half of the collection. It fell slightly short of brilliant when it focused too much on Earth things, and not enough on Contact things. Still a solid entry in the series, and it was good to see Sma and Skaffen-Amtiskaw again.
Was this some sort of experiment in making unintelligible poetry from newspaper clippings or something? I think it may be a joke written solely to entertain the Author, which is worth a star in and of itself.
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Read information about the authorIain M. Banks is a pseudonym of Iain Banks which he used to publish his Science Fiction.
Banks's father was an officer in the Admiralty and his mother was once a professional ice skater. Iain Banks was educated at the University of Stirling where he studied English Literature, Philosophy and Psychology. He moved to London and lived in the south of England until 1988 when he returned to Scotland, living in Edinburgh and then Fife.
Banks met his wife Annie in London, before the release of his first book. They married in Hawaii in 1992. However, he announced in early 2007 that, after 25 years together, they had separated. He lived most recently in North Queensferry, a town on the north side of the Firth of Forth near the Forth Bridge and the Forth Road Bridge.
As with his friend Ken MacLeod (another Scottish writer of technical and social science fiction) a strong awareness of left-wing history shows in his writings. The argument that an economy of abundance renders anarchy and adhocracy viable (or even inevitable) attracts many as an interesting potential experiment, were it ever to become testable. He was a signatory to the Declaration of Calton Hill, which calls for Scottish independence.
In late 2004, Banks was a prominent member of a group of British politicians and media figures who campaigned to have Prime Minister Tony Blair impeached following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In protest he cut up his passport and posted it to 10 Downing Street. In an interview in Socialist Review he claimed he did this after he "abandoned the idea of crashing my Land Rover through the gates of Fife dockyard, after spotting the guys armed with machine guns." He related his concerns about the invasion of Iraq in his book Raw Spirit, and the principal protagonist (Alban McGill) in the novel The Steep Approach to Garbadale confronts another character with arguments in a similar vein.
Interviewed on Mark Lawson's BBC Four series, first broadcast in the UK on 14 November 2006, Banks explained why his novels are published under two different names. His parents wished to name him Iain Menzies Banks but his father made a mistake when registering the birth and he was officially registered as Iain Banks. Despite this he continued to use his unofficial middle name and it was as Iain M. Banks that he submitted The Wasp Factory for publication. However, his editor asked if he would mind dropping the 'M' as it appeared "too fussy". The editor was also concerned about possible confusion with Rosie M. Banks, a minor character in some of P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves novels who is a romantic novelist. After his first three mainstream novels his publishers agreed to publish his first SF novel, Consider Phlebas. To distinguish between the mainstream and SF novels, Banks suggested the return of the 'M', although at one stage he considered John B. Macallan as his SF pseudonym, the name deriving from his favourite whiskies: Johnnie Walker Black Label and The Macallan single malt.
His latest book was a science fiction (SF) novel in the Culture series, called The Hydrogen Sonata, published in 2012.
Author Iain M. Banks revealed in April 2013 that he had late-stage cancer. He died the following June.
The Scottish writer posted a message on his official website saying his next novel The Quarry, due to be published later this year*, would be his last.
*The Quarry was published in June 2013.
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