Jeffrey Bluhm, November 17, 2013 (view all comments by Jeffrey Bluhm)
This is a clever sci-fi novel with a particularly interesting element of game-playing, initially on a personal level for the somewhat enigmatic main character Jernau Gurgeh, then on a societal level as our hero is sent to represent the Culture in its encounter with a militarily powerful but morally suspect Empire. The science fiction elements are strong and the descriptions of both the games and the game-play are interesting, with good action and a plot that moves along at a steady pace. Throughout, the idea of the Culture and the reader's understanding of what it represents and how it works grows - I anticipate subsequent novels will continue to expand on this understanding.
Levi Goodman, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Levi Goodman)
The second in the series of "The Culture" novels, Scottish author Iain M. Banks delivers a fantastic and chilling look at a galactic empire held together by the power of a game and the outsider sent to play it. Banks begins to develop the characteristics of The Culture seen in his later books and grapples with the dilemma that will echo through this series as long as they are written - how far are you willing to go in order to change that which you feel is wrong?
The Culture sometimes has trouble with introductions. So they send the foremost expert game-player to act as their agent to a very different culture, where a vast series of games determines the fate of their citizens. The Player of Games is definitely one of the best Culture novels!
by Burnside Genre Team
by Library Journal,
"Supple prose and subtle manipulations of plot produce a thought-provoking story."
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.