Inversions is a Culture series novel by the noted British author Iain M Banks.
If I had to sum up Inversions with one word it would probably be "Different". It's released under Iain M. Banks which usually means that it's a Science Fiction story. You have to look really closely to find anything that by any stretch of definition can be called Science Fiction. I'm not saying that it isn't just that you have to look closely. There are some small references to The Culture, but calling it a culture novel is probably stretching it a bit.
If I had to sum up Inversions with two words it would probably be "Damn good". Banks does some of his best writing on par with Crow Road and Use of Weapons. Inversions is about these two characters called "The Doctor" and "The Bodyguard", each of their stories are told in alternating chapters. They both live in the same medieval type world, but serve different masters, in different empires, in different capacities (I guess that their titles kind of gave that one away). There's no contact between the two – calling the link between them weak would be wrong, it's more a subtle kind of thing, with no real consequences for the surface story.
Inversions can be read as a standalone novel, but I wouldn't recommend it – you would simply miss too much of the underlying story. It would still be a damn good read, but if you read a few other Culture novels first reading Inversions will be so much more rewarding.
Written on 2nd May 1999 by TC.
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