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So why is Iain Banks impossible to find in the U.S.?

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--- Quote from: Matt on May 15, 2006, 08:48:04 PM ---So why is Iain Banks impossible to find in the U.S.?

--- End quote ---

Not impossible, just not popular.  And I know Dead Air was banned for awhile because -- gasp -- it was set with 9/11 as the backdrop.

The Banks fiction is highly intelligent, in my opinion, and hard to grasp for American readers.  His sci-fi is even more high brow, and loosely linked into one long running series.  Banks suffers from the same thing Murakami does -- you have to dedicate yourself to really settling into a book and exploring what goes on within the pages and yourself as you read it. 

Murakami's starting to catch on, but still sort of fringe.  Banks has never really been pushed in the US...which is a shame.  He's my favorite sci-fi writer, and his fiction is loads of fun.

For the Sci-Fi, start with Against a Dark Background, one of his few non-Culture novels.  Then launch into the Culture with the space opera Consider Phlebas.  It's sort of a bookend for the unofficial first phase of the Culture universe (the latest Culture book, Look to Windward, is set with the far-future after-effects of the action in Consider Phlebas).

Banks suggests an order for the Culture books on his site --  (note that Against a Dark Background, State of the Art -- except for a few stories -- Feersum Endjinn and The Algebraist are not Culture novels).

Of them all, Feersum Endjinn is the hardest to read... It's mostly in a phonetic dialect.  Fascinating and absorbing, really.  Inversions is only nominally a Culture novel.  Besides Look to Windward, it's the only Culture novel that has a connection to a previous novel (there are small, unimportant to the plot hints that suggest one of the characters, and perhaps the setting, might possibly be from Player of Games). 

State of the Art contains a wonderful non-sci-fi story about the Lockerbie crash, since we were just talking about that in the Newsday forum.  It also contained the most Mind-centered Culture story in the series up until Excession.

A wonderful little intro to the Culture that Banks wrote in 94 is right here:

He's evolved the Culture quite a bit since then.

For the Banks fiction, my favorite is Complicity, hands down:

Much hated by his fans, my second fav is Walking on Glass:

This is tied with his spectacular and disturbing debut, The Wasp Factory:

I think The Bridge is, spiritually, a Culture novel.  If you read the Culture novels (and, especially, see how it's handled in Inversions), then you'll know what I mean.

I really enjoyed Dead Air, thanks to the drifting life after 9/11 sort of feel.  YEs, everything's the same.  But it isn't.

The rest of his fiction leaves me warm, but not really excited.  It's all worth your time, though.

hit me up with some Banks, please?  I see what you mean about them not being readily available in the US.  I will supplement whatever you can buy new (or loan to me) with used mid 90s books.

If you take care of paperbacks, my collection will be on the shelf.  Though it's currently scattered through all these boxes, and I think I might have taken most of them to storage.  But I'll be pulling those out again so the mice don't get 'em!

Complicity and Feersum Endjinn, and maybe a couple others, I loaned out and never got back...because that's what people do these days, apparently.  I must have missed the addendum to Miss Manners.

"It's a gift. Books aren't meant to be lent out."`


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