Consider Phlebas

Iain M. Banks

Futura 1988
A book review by Danny Yee © 1992
Consider Phlebas is the first of Iain M. Banks' Culture novels. It is space opera on the grand scale, set in the middle of an immense war between the Culture and the Idirans, but its plot revolves around a personal story. A Culture Mind has escaped an ambush and hidden itself on Schar's World, one of the forbidden Planets of the Dead; the Idirans send the Changer Horza, who has friends on a scientific station on the planet, to capture it. Among other adventures, Horza's journey involves him in battles with a mercenary band, an encounter with cannibalism, and participation in a high-stakes game of Damage on an Orbital about to be destroyed, before a final confrontation in the tunnels of Schar's World.

The plot of Consider Phlebas sprawls in sometimes disconnected fashion and it is not the best of the Culture novels. As always, however, Banks offers an abundance of original and appealing ideas and tells a rattling good yarn.

March 1992

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%T Consider Phlebas
%A Banks, Iain M.
%I Futura
%D 1988
%O paperback
%G ISBN 0708837077
%P 471pp