The Player of Games by Iain M Banks

Culture Series

a review by TC, in the genre(s) Science Fiction, Space Opera . Book published by Orbit in August 1989

The Player of games is a Culture series novel by the noted author Iain M Banks.

I've been looking for Player of Games (PoG) for quite some time now (it has been out of print for some years) but finally I got lucky and found it in Gatwick Airport - So the big question for me was whether or not it would live up to my expectations. It did - almost.

PoG isn't as strong a book as Use of Weapons and it isn't as funny and fast paced as Against A Dark Background, but it's very interesting in its own way. Jernau Morat Gurgeh (how do you pronounce that?) is one of the best all-around game players in The Culture and finding too little opposition, he slowly becomes bored with games and his life. So, you would think that he would be thrilled when he gets a chance to play not only a game that he hasn't tried before but also the most complex game known to the Culture. But he isn't because Gurgeh likes to play it safe, he likes his safe little world and he wants to stay there. But he ends up going and has one year to learn a game that it normally takes a lifetime to master.

PoG is as can be expected from Banks, very well written and hard to put away once you have picked it up, but I still missed something. I'm not quit sure what that "thing" is, but I think it's the humour that's missing. The dark, evil, not-haha kind of humour that you can find in some of his other books. Maybe if the weather had been bad while I was reading it...

Written on Saturday 1st May 1999 by .

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The Player of Games, a novel by Iain M Banks

Book Details

  • The Player of Games
  • Publisher: Orbit
  • ISBN:
  • Published:
  • Pages: 320
  • Format reviewed: Paperback
  • Review date: May, 1999
  • Language: English
  • Age Range: