Consider Phlebas by Iain M Banks

(8.0/10) An interesting introduction to Iain M Banks world of The Culture

The war raged across the Galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed.

Consider Phlebas tells the story of Horza Gobuchul, a changer, and his crew of mercenaries, both human and machine. There is a war between the Indirians, who fight for their faith and religion, and The Culture, a society run by machines. Within The Culture the humans have become soft and lovers of a lifestyle where their every need is catered to. The Culture, as a result is learning hard lessons quickly, and is losing this galaxy spanning war. Horza is despatched by the Indirians to recover a Culture Mind, which has become trapped on Schar’s World. Schar’s World is a forbidden planet of the dead, and both the Indirians and The Culture are not allowed to land on this planet. Horza is from a race that has the ability to change their appearance.....

This is the first of the Culture novels. When Iain Banks writes science fiction novels he inserts the M into his writing name. This is a well written first science fiction novel although it requires a lot of concentration due the depth of Bank’s fertile imagination and the technical nature of the novel. It is an interesting journey though by no means an easy ride. The characterisation is detailed and Horza, our lead character, has an edge of reality to him. The interaction between the characters works well and they are developed well enough that you begin to sympathise with most of them. The creation of The Culture galaxy is also vivid and innovative. It is a galaxy of robots, drones, cannibals, changers, enormous spaceships and minds of startling intelligence.

In conclusion, it is an interesting tale of space opera and introduction to Iain M Banks’ world of The Culture. It requires full engagement from the reader to fully enjoy it and promises great things for the future novels. This book was written in 1987 and as I already own the Iain M Banks novels I intend to read them all again and review them in the future on this site.

Review by

1 positive reader review(s) for Consider Phlebas


Consider Phlebas reader reviews

from India

It's really a fantastic Culture novel by Iain M. Banks. I had a grand pleasure while reading this novel. It's not at all easy to create such an imaginative galactic world. Great curiosity goes on mounting as you go on reading the novel ahead. Everyone must go through this galactic worlds of Banks.

9/10 from 2 reviews

Write a reader review

Your rating out of 10

All reviews for Iain M Banks's A Culture Novel series

Surface Detail

A Culture Novel written by Iain M Banks

It begins in the realm of the Real, where matter still matters. It begins with a murder. And it will not end until the Culture has gone to war with death itself. Lededje Y& [...]

Published: 2010

Our rating: 9.5 | positive reader reviews


Consider Phlebas

A Culture Novel written by Iain M Banks

The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse [...]

Published: 1988

Our rating: 8.0 | positive reader reviews


The Player of Games

A Culture Novel written by Iain M Banks

The Culture – a human/machine symbiotic society – has thrown up many great players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. The Player of Games. Master of every boar [...]

Published: 1989

Our rating: 8.6 | positive reader reviews


Books you may also enjoy

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

by Becky Chambers

When Rosemary Harper joins the crew of the Wayfarer, she isn't expecting much. The Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that's seen better days, offers her everything she co [...]

Series: Wayfarers #1
Published: 2014

Score: 99

Our rating: 9.8 | 1 positive reader reviews


Lear's Daughters

by Marjorie B Kellogg

Set in the future on a distant world, Lear’s Daughters tackles the issues of global warming, pollution, exploitation of resources, and disastrous climate change. Long [...]

Series: NA
Published: 1986

Score: 96

Our rating: 9.6 | 0 positive reader reviews


Pushing Ice

by Alastair Reynolds

The burgeoning new economies in near-Earth space are fuelled by a steady stream of comets, steered back home by huge nuclear-powered mining ships like Bella Lind’s Ro [...]

Series: NA
Published: 2005

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews


Brightness Reef

by David Brin

On the distant planet of Jijo, six exiled races live side by side. Only ancient relics from their home planets, fragments of half-forgotten stories and the crumbling ruins [...]

Series: The Uplift Saga
Published: 1995

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews