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April 11th, 2008, 10:02
Originally Posted by Zakhary View Post
Whoa. Seems like I got some reading to doo

I once read the first book in the Banks' culture universe.
"Consider Phlebas" I think it is in english.

I thought it was extremely weak. The aliens were laughable and
the whole thing just felt so silly somehow.
I don't like Banks's aliens much either — well, most of 'em, anyway; they're just Englishmen in funny costumes. Perhaps that's one reason I liked _Use of Weapons_ so much — it doesn't have any aliens.

It's a bit like Stephen King and his supernatural critters — IMO he sort of falls on his face whenever he trots out his possessed cars or zombie kittens or time-eaters or vampires; his stuff works (for me) much better without them.

But Banks isn't for everybody, I'm sure. I'm fairly certain that he writes with his tongue firmly in his cheek, with the "never blow up a warehouse if you can blow up a planet" maxim; if you're not willing to cheerfully ignore what he cheerfully ignores, you won't like it.

Are the later ones somehow significantly better? Cause I've heard
many people praise the "player of games" and "use of weapons" but I've
been unable to pick them up due to my horrible phlebas experiences
Those two are my favorites in the Culture series, with the latter better than the former. You might also like _Inversions_.

There are several short-story collections by Asimov claiming to collect most of the robot stories in one book. Any experiences with these? Thinking of getting one of those.
I've got _The Complete Robot_ and _I, Robot_. They have most of 'em.

Personally, I don't care much for Asimov's robot yarns, though. IMO they haven't aged well: Asimov's robot stories are to sci-fi what The Castle Otranto is to the supernatural horror story — significant because they were (among) the first of their kind, but not really that exciting anymore.
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