23 June 2015

Transition; Iain M. Banks

TransitionTransition by Iain M. Banks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first of the Iain M. Banks books I've read, having exhausted all the Iain Banks books (and, obviously, no more are forthcoming). Apparently this is a one-off, not connected with his Culture series so obviously I'll have to explore that next.

We open with an unreliable narrator - he? she? admits that up front - and move on to several different narrators and worlds and points-of-view. The idea is that there are many worlds and people (some, specially capable people) can flit between them, inhabiting people so as to influence events or just "visiting". One of our narrators is just such a flitter, while another two are bigwigs (or traitors?) in the organization that oversees this sort of thing. There's also a philosopher, who is really a torturer. And a few random others. Any one of these could be our original narrator.

The sense that it's not clear to whom we're listening, not clear whose motivations are real and not clear where exactly we are (and at times, not clear which timeframe we're in) is part of the appeal of this book. In the hands of an author less skilled, this could have been a mess. In Banks' hands? Read and decide for yourself.

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