Iain M. Banks: Feersum Endjinn



N t cyberpunk at all is post post cyberpunk a genre yet and it definitely isn t my favorite Iain Banks novel howeverIf you re a Banks completist r up for something wild something different something completely left field something so My Wishful Thinking out there I initially assumed it was written under the influencef some sort The Boy and the Blue Moon of psychotropics I d highly recommend checkingut Feersum Endjinn By looking at my star rating you might think I am not a fan f Iain M Banks non Culture novel Feersum Endjin That is not the truth though I am a fan A big fan actually but I try to stick to what the stars claim they are for and since they range from didn t like it to it was amazing and are clearly subjective ranks rather than ualitative ranks the book nly received an I liked it rating from meIf I was rating its uality however Feersum Endjin is worthy The Screwball Comedy Films: A History and Filmography, 1934-1942 of the full complimentf starsFeersum Endjin is not an entertainment But it is an impressive literary feat Banks makes us work for every page every step Father Tom Padilla: Mark of the Demon Priest of the story and he rewards us with passagesf exceptional nearly poetic prose that reveal his immense imagination and can set ne s mind spinning into an all too feasible future Earth f massive architecture virtual immortality and Sun induced ice age EncroachmentBanks finest and most challenging achievement in Feersum Endjin comes whenever he shifts his narrative to Bascule the dyslexic Teller who writes his story phonetically because he can t write it any ther way His accent which feels a little North London and a little Glasgow makes the phonetic spelling just a touch challenging for the reader particularly if the reader is from North America but if ne takes Eat Vegan on $4.00 a Day one s time and even reads it aloud the payff is worth the work it takes to read Bascule may actually be Banks most likable sci fi character and his search for the talking ant Ergates is satisfying in its future picaresueness You might not enjoy Feersum Endjin in any traditional sense but you will be glad you read it when you re throughAt least I am First f all I m a big Iain Banks fan Keep that in mind when I tell you that this book is unreadableThe number ne problem is that Pantyhose Professionals (Pantyhose Diaries Book 2) onef the main characters has some sort f disability and can nly write phonetically So you have to wade through pages and pages Masterchef Junior Cookbook: Bold Recipes and Essential Techniques to Inspire Young Cooks of garbage like thisBut am Bascule thi Rascule thass whot they call me Am yung amnli Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman on my furst life I tells her laffin Bascule thi Teller nuffink that s me no Ir II Study of Organ Inferiority and Its Psychical Compensation; A Contribution to Clinical Medicine - Scholar's Choice Edition or VIIr any Heaven Next Stop ov that nonsins 4 yoors trul Riting a revyoo as thoh I wuz Bascule seems 2 me thebveeyus cors 1 mit even say the playd cors the yoosd up an cleechayd cors But a browz uv the revyoos postd n Goodreedz indicayts uderwize I wood thot bi now sumbudy wood ritten a revyoo in the styl uv Bascule but it apeerz not 2 b the caysThayr r meny protaguniss in Feersum Endjin but Bascule iz reely the dryvin chayractr Hez the regyoolar gi we can idennify wif Hez the unliklee hero frust in2 sercumstansis beyond hiz understandin r cuntrol and givin the portoonity 2 mayk brav deesishins wif the fayt uv hyoomanity in the balans Hiz brayvry leedz him 2 perform acts uv grayt consikwens even if he cant c thos consikwensis frum hiz limitd perzpektiv Bascule playz an eesentil rol in helping the gud giz win the day and he duznt even no it until the end enwayz Hez juss dooin whot seemz ryt to himEnwayz az u now gesd Bascule ryts in an uncunvenshinol fashin Ubowt a uv the book maybee a litl mor is riten in the 1st persun by Bascule hoo hass a lerning disubiluty He can tok normuly but can nlee ryt foneticly An the Bases Loaded ofor Ean Bankz poolz thisf brilyantlyAs I sit here attempting to write like Bascule I can tell you it isn t as easy at it might sound It takes some amount Have A Good Night, Volume 1 of concentration And it takes some concentration to read Bascule s accountf events It s not for the lazy reader Banks ability to write awkwardly and unfamiliarly yet make it sound like a substantive caring and relatable person is pretty damn amazing But like many f Banks novels there s beneath the surface Underlying Bascule s phonetic writing is a point f much substance a commentary n the struggle we humans endure to communicate with ne another and with the world It ll take me several steps to get there so try to hang with me The world When You Lose Your Job of Feersum Endjin contains too many details to paint them all and the big picture itself is difficult to paint because you can t stand back far enough to take it all in Take for example the absurdlyversize castle called Serehfa in which much f the Earth s population lives We re talking a castle built to scale for people who stand hundreds f meters tall A castle with walls standing several kilometers high the tops Isabel the Queen: Life and Times obscured by haze and the shear cliff faces running to the horizonn your right and left A central tower that tickles the underbelly f uter space A structure set atop a three kilometer tall mesa in Tim Crouch one room that seen from afar looks like a chandelier lowered from the ceiling for spring cleaning Seen up close the chandelier is a cityf elaborate soaring glass paneled skyscrapers A structure is set kilometers high in the corner f ne room that seen from afar looks like a baroue decorative gargoyle Seen up close the gargoyle is a residential complex where people enjoy the view from balconies in the eyes The larger rooms have their Drawing the Human Head own weather systems One room contains a volcano Others contain lakes and rivers and hills and valleys The rooms in the higher levels each level standing a couple kilometers tall are perpetually cold andne Twin Block Functional Therapy: Applications in Dentofacial Orthopedics of them holds a year round ski resort In what would be a castle s dungeon the somber port cityf Oubliette you heard that right sits beside a black DIY Projects for the Self-Sufficient Homeowner: 25 Ways to Build a Self-Reliant Lifestyle ocean that hasn t seen sunlight in millennia Now stay with me here You can visualize partsf the castle Serehfa Your imagination has painted pictures perhaps even detailed pictures f the corner f ne room and the centerpiece in another f Dead Man Riding (Nell Bray, one small piecef the horizon spanning castle walls Your mind is busily filling in random details plucked from your memory to create a room with a volcano and a room with lakes and rivers hills and valleys You know what a ski resort looks like so your mind simply places it inside a vast interior space But visualizing the whole castle No Definitely not Just a few scattered pieces that contain sufficiently familiar elements for your mind to grab n to like a good handhold n a cliff face But pull back and urge your imagination to paint the entire monstrosity and you re hand will miss a handhold your foot slip from a niche and you go tumbling right n down Still with me Even through the mixed metaphors Good Let s take the next step What if the castle Serehfa was not just a physical setting for ur young hero Bascule s adventures It s a hell Pontius Pilate of a setting to be sure another examplef Banks penchant for conceiving breathtaking larger than life locales for his characters to roam But what if Serehfa was let s say a lens to focus the reader s thoughts and a pattern for those thoughts to follow an archetype perhaps Once you know how to picture Serehfa by which I mean you ve realized that you can t picture Serehfa you can Livin de Life only picture piecesf it you can begin to picture how you exist in and relate to Aeralis our contemporary human society You re thinking that sounds ambitious yes A tenuous connection maybe Well let s see if I can make this idea stick The society in Feersum Endjin is too massive complex and even contradic. Aving himne final shot at finding his killer His Be CentsAble: How to Cut Your Household Budget in Half only clues point to a conspiracy that reaches far beyond hiswn murder.

Posted at HeradascomEven though his work was split about fifty fifty between literary fiction and science fiction Iain Banks considered himself first and foremost a science fiction writer He cut his teeth Academic Inbreeding and Mobility in Higher Education: Global Perspectives on spacepera writing several novels in the seventies that went unpublished for decades By 1984 he had shelved his earlier work and focused his attention Radio Crackling, Radio Gone on the worldf literary fiction what he referred to lovingly as Hampstead novels hoping for better luck in the mainstream The Wasp Factory his first published novel was a breakout hit that same year He followed it with a string The Legend of Joaquin Murrieta: California's Gold Rush Bandit of successful mainstream novels in the mid to late eighties publishingne nearly every year At this point his publisher was hungry Banks was hot and readers wanted so in the late eighties he began rewriting his earlier rejected science fiction work These novels would become the first three novels set in the Culture Consider Phlebas 1987 The Player Limey Gumshoe of Games 1988 and Usef Weapons 1990 and a standalone space Maritime Academy Graduate: Memoir Of A Third Mate opera Against a Dark Background 1993 They were published pseudonymously as Iain M Banks and timed for release between his mainstream novelsIn conversation with Andrew Wilson with regards to Against a Dark Background Banks noted Against a Dark Background was the lastf the ld books to get redone so it seemed like the end f an era to me It was the end Trouble Looking for a Place to Happen of an era in ways thanne In the years since Banks was first published cyberpunk had taken the science fiction world by storm and eventually given way to post cyberpunk with Snow Crash in 1992 Neal Stephenson s deconstruction reinvention and nail in the coffin Dressed for Thrills: 100 Years of Halloween Costumes and Masquerade of the genre as it existed in the eighties By 1994 the cyberpunk literature bubble had mostly burst and wouldn t see a real resurgence for another twenty years If I may speculate a bit I think that Banks looked at cyberpunk a genre he missedut Harcourt School Publishers Collections on participating in while working in the mainstream and rewriting his earlier work and thought hmm I wonder what I could do with thatSpeaking with Andrew Wilson about what he wrote to start this new post Against a Dark Background era Banks spokef his desire at the time to write something entirely different something not related to the Culture From Paella to Porridge: A Farewell to Mallorca and a Scottish Adventure or his earlier work I had wanted to write something I could cut loosen something that wasn t the Culture I had the idea that what virtual reality would become eventually would start to resemble myth and legend Feersum Endjinn grew from this myth and legend angle and what a departure it was from his earlier space On Toby's Terms operas Computers nanotechnology virtual reality all mostly absent from his first four science fiction novels are woven into and through every aspectf the societies illustrated in Feersum Endjinn Far from a space pera the story is entirely grounded n Earth and addresses themes common to cyberpunk identity Max Lerner: Pilgrim in the Promised Land oppression etcI think the most important aspectf Banks storytelling was his tight grip n the differences between theme and setting Something that is not as common among science fiction writers as you might think Cyberpunk stories are primarily known for two things 1 Themes f isolation paranoia and self identity in an Indiscretion oppressive world grownut Indiscretion of control 2 A dirty high tech setting fullf seedy characters The themes f Feersum Endjinn are cyberpunk through and through but the setting even in the entirely virtual Crypt is much closer to that f epic fantasy After all it wouldn t be a Banks novel if genre tropes and conventions weren t completely turned Soul Dust on their side Splitting cyberpunk themes from their usual counterpart setting shows a terrific understandingf the genre and the uniue power The Dyfed Enigma: Unidentified Flying Objects in West Wales of the differing storytelling tools available to writersInsteadf the usual cyberpunk mega corporations and seedy streets filled with high tech low lifes Banks set Feersum Endjinn sometime in the far future after most 6S: The 6S Review, Issue 2 of humanity has abandoned Earth their tech becoming a somewhat mythical element tour point Blackbird of view characters themselves descendantsf those who chose an Earth bound existence A somewhat modified Feudalistic society now exists in the ruinous mega structures built by their ancestors Underlying all Midwest Maize: How Corn Shaped the U.S. Heartland of this is the Crypt a virtual reality maintaining a nearne to Surly Bonds one relationship with the real world In the dark cornersf the Crypt lurk strange digital societies monstrous chimeric beings artificial intelligences and the digitally migrated dead Sex, Lies, and Videotape of the corporeal world Some privileged corporeal characters have the ability to access the Crypt at will and some Crypt lifeforms are able to force themselves into physical reality terrorizing humanity via what is perceived as apparition and animal possessionLittle is known about the ancient human society that built the Crypt inhabited byur POV characters their history thoroughly corrupted by time into the realm The Sanford Guide to Hepatitis Therapy 2016-2017 of myth We re thrown right into the world to findur way as the characters find theirs You can tell Banks is having a blast using the cyberpunk toolbox to tell the story he wants in the way he wants toThere are four main POV characters in Feersum Endjinn including Syzygy: Reflections on the Monastery of the Seven Rays one who never properly learned to write Banks represents these first person chapters in a phonetic style Initially they were difficult for me to readr comprehend The somewhat fantastical terminology written in a phonetic Scots prose made for a difficult reading experience I ended up listening to the audiobook while reading those chapters in rder to get a better idea f how the words were supposed to be pronounced and just what the hell was going Whore Stories: A Revealing History of the World's Oldest Profession on A strategy I ve usedften for Irvine Welsh novels written in Scots After a few chapters The Paper Wife of simultaneous reading and listening I was right as rain and could continue forward with just the physical bookMy favorite moment in Feersum Endjinn is a beautifully written chapter in which a character is psychologically manipulated through a seriesf increasingly elaborate digital environments designed to make it easy and even preferable for her to divulge the information her interrogators are attempting to extract The section takes place entirely inside the virtual construct f the Crypt and n its We, the People: Of Earth Elders own makes little sense without the context provided in previous chapters The way in which these scenarios are presented to the reader is a thing to beholdEach situation is introduced in turn without resolution then each resolution is presentedne after another after another at which point the narrative curtain is lifted and the impact is demonstrated for us in the physical world The combined effect presented in series like this is breathtaking to read and speaks to the courage and singular sense Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition of purpose present in this character It s a fantastic moment She was thenly speaker in a tribe مترو of the dumb walking amongst them tall and silent while they touched her and beseeched her with their sad eyes and their deferent hesitant hands and their flowing pleading signs to talk for them sing for them be their voice Of course not allf the story works flawlessly there are a handful f plot lines brought up that never resolve the story drags somewhat through the middle chapters and the phonetic writing style is sometimes extremely difficult to read I wouldn t suggest going into this anticipating a Culture novel This is Banks in full n experimentation mode and in retrospect the book is The Windy Season odd maybe toodd It isn t my favorite SFF it isn t my favorite cyberpunk novel I m sure that several would argue it is. In a world where ne can live multiple lives Count Alandre Sessine VIII has survived seven times and is down to his last le.

Tory to pull together in a big picture that makes much sense That society encompasses the living and the dead the first lifers and the reincarnated the physical and the virtual the human basic and the chimeric Those diverse brush strokes are weaved together in a multifaceted symphony f color that defies A Month of Sundays our ability to imagine What Banks paints for us through the storiesf Bascule and Evangeline, a Master For Tonight Companion Novel other individuals are the detailed sections like the rooms in Serehfa thatur minds can conceive Beneath the Jolly Roger of But focusingn the detailed sections prevents us from seeing the whole picture So we try to step back Unfortunately stepping back causes us to lose sight Merzbook: The Pleasuredome of Noise of the comprehendable details leaving a washf generalities and worse the stepping back is in vain because we never can step back far enough to take in the whole construction Sounds like ur archetype doesn t it Yes you answer with a bored sigh It s so faaaascinating you say sarcastically as you snicker to ne another I know I know you re attention span is getting shorter as this review gets longer Don t worry there s just Pig one step I promise I maintain thatur contemporary human society is not so different from the Serehfa archetype nor from the fictional future society to which we ve already applied the archetype We may not have chimerics walking the sidewalks Scipio Rising (Scipio Africanus or sentient AI s floating aroundur internets r reincarnated people in ur living rooms but Rim of the Pit (Rogan Kincaid, our world is no less stranger diverse in its They Also Serve own way no less intricater impossibly complex We each can see and understand the detailed sections painted by Conversations From The Neighborhood Ice Cream Shop: 8 Keys To Rediscovering Lost Dreams And Finding Your Life's Calling ourwn stories and those around us but when we step back when we lose the context No Time for Sergeants of the individual we are prone to make sweeping generalitiesFine you say between yawns so what What has this all got to do with Bascule and his learning disability Okay so there sne step I m sorry about that but here s where I try to bring it all together The way Bascule writes is the way we relate to this world to ur Serehfa Our world is full f rules h so many rules for fitting in And like the rules f the English written language some make sense and some don t Some are consistent while thers are contradictory Some rules have a logical basis while thers are wholly arbitrary So how do we survive in this vast complex monstrosity Large Catechism of Martin Luther of a world where we ll never understand the whole picture but we can see little sections in detail and which imposes upon us multifarious rules that make no sense We speak to it phonetically willing people to understand us and praying people will forgive us forur lapses trying like mad to concentrate Junior Jolt on the phonetic mutterings emanating fromur friends and loved Ceux de la posie vcue ones so we can understand them And all the while we re hoping like hell that the insignificant section we paint leaves some meaning behind when we re gone This is a serious workf the imagination It doesn t really fit in the Culture novels but it s definitely some Hard SF with a beautiful vision f a far ld Earth filled with so many Big Ideas We ve got everything from allotted resurrections ghosts solving their wn murders enormous and layered virtual realities virus ridden fantasy realms and a Chaos filled with AIs If that isn t enough the Earth is going through some major changes You know like destruction Even physical Big Ideas keep flowing in and I reveled in it all But don t just think It grabbed me from the start Part f this was the simple spectacle Troublemaker:: One Man's Crusade Against China's Cruelty of it allf the brobdingnagian castle where most tireless: of the story is set in its kilometers long kilometers tall chambersf a destructive civil war between royalists and those aligned with the clan Teach Them Spanish!, Grade 1 of Engineersf the grotesue chimeric animals Toque de Veludo of sentience andf the multiple layers f reality implemented in the vast dataspace f the cryptosphere where the data chaos lurks And then there is the Kaleidoscope overwhelming concernf the Encroachment endangering the planetThe The Four Racketeers other sidef it is Banks s me I don t know what to think This ne will have to sit and be turned ver in the mental thought bank for a while the difficulties Phantoms Monsters: Mysterious Encounters of following the narrative through POV changes and the phonetically written sections made it fragment in my mind despite me reading it at my usual tremendous pace I think I liked it a lot I certainly liked the conceptf the world anyway though Smithereens on reflection I don t give much a monkey s about mostf the charactersIf phonetic spelling is going to annoy you andor be really difficult for you don t bother with this The Book of Not Knowing: Exploring the True Nature of Self, Mind, and Consciousness one It doesn t feel as fully realised to me as Banksther books that I ve read anyway do The central ideas are interesting and the choice Dark Diversions of narrative structure is experimental but it didn t work as well as I d hoped for me But if you trust Banks then try it Scottish writer Iain M Banks with his book Feersum Endjinn has given us the second science fiction novel not based uponr set within the Culture universe the first being Against a Dark BackgroundFeersum Endjinn is additionally Iain M Banks s sixth work f science fictionBanks deals in ideas The most striking feature f this book is lack Yamashita's Ghost: War Crimes, Macarthur's Justice, and Command Accountability of emotional subtlety and the story is told in four threads following four main charactersMr Banks passed awayn June 6 2013 at the age Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds of 59 Awaref his imminent demise n 3 April he announced n his website that he had inoperable gall bladder cancer giving him at most a year to live His first published novel The Wasp Factory appeared in 1984 when he was thirty years ld His first science fiction novel Consider Phlebas was published in 1987 in it he created The Culture a galaxy hopping society run by powerful but benevolent machines For the rest f his career literary novels would alternate with works Lord of The Heart: Regency Romance of science fiction the latter appearing under the name Iain M Banks the M standing for Menzies I enjoy allf Mr Banks s work both fiction and Science Fiction Mr Banks was also an expert n Scottish whisky Iain M Banks is the nly sf author I ve actively pursued in years His Culture novels have been particularly interesting their sociological framework being unusually intelligent for the genreThis i Set Love! Valour! Compassion! on an almost unrecognizable far future Earth this book is Iain M Banks second non Culture SF endevour Earth is past it s golden hour and technology has fallen into the realmf mysticism and ritual The story follows four different people living in the remains Scream of what cannly be described as an disproportionately scaled super city as they are reluctantly dragged into a plot involving a threat against the entire Earth They face a conspiracy Kumiko and the Dragon of powerful individuals with theirwn agenda not necessarily interested in averting the looming threatWhat s really special is that Probabilities on the Heisenberg Group: Limit Theorems and Brownian Motion onef the protagionist s Bascule a young Teller hacker The Purpose of Creation or less viewpoints is written almost phonetically in first person perspective which could potentially annoy some readers but adds another layerf flavor to the already very thick atmosphere f the book Here s an example f how it readsWell I no that thilly tho u r a very feerth ld hok gettin less blind l thi time I woth jutht kiddin O luke anuthi thee gull Or ith it Lookth moar like a albino cro akchooly Well i cant thtand awound hea l day chattin with u i 12 2 fly Dartlin sez hops down ff thi perch Ith ther anythin i can get u Mr BathculeBelieve it A Good Indian Wife or not this makes sense when you have actually read the book In any caser perhaps because Stage Fright of it I enjoyed it In fact this is probably in mypinion Banks s best non Culture novel. And survival lies in discovering ther fugitives who know the truth about the ultimate weapon f chaos and salvation Reprin.

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Iain Banks which he used to publish his Science FictionBanks'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 FifeBanks 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 ueensferry a town on the north side of the Firth of Forth near the Forth Bridge and the Forth Road BridgeAs 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 independenceIn 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 Ira 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 Ira 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 veinInterviewed 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 PG 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 maltHis latest book was a science fiction SF novel in the Culture series called The Hydrogen Sonata published in 2012Author Iain M Banks revealed in April 2013 that he had late stage cancer He died the following JuneThe Scottish writer posted a message on his official website saying his next novel The uarry due to be published later this year would be his last The uarry was published in June 2013