Posts in category 'books'

  • Review: The Player of Games

    Review of The Player of Games (The Culture #1.0) by Iain M. Banks (9780061053566)★★★★ #books (

    Curgeh is the best, the champion. In the ancient, all-embracing Culture in which there is no disease or disaster, only the endless games, he has beaten them all. But an empire's challenge will teach him what the Game is really all about."Striking for its breadth of vision, its ability to suggest the sprawling facets of an old, far-flung culture." -- "Publishers Weekly" "A genuine and original talent." -- "The Detroit News" No serious science fiction fan can resist this seminal novel in Banks' renowned series about the universe of the Culture.

    Well, as evidenced by my slow progress, you can tell this book didn’t catch me immediately (and it also coincided with the latest Binding of Isaac DLC coming out, which promptly trumped any extracurricular activities besides groping for achievements). It’s definitely a slow burner, but once Gurgeh makes his decision and the story really starts moving, it quickly becomes a solid, fast-paced read, with many excellent twists and turns along the way.

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  • Review: Night Watch

    Review of Night Watch (Discworld #29.0) by Terry Pratchett (9781472537232)★★★★★

    This review is a re-post of my 2015 Goodreads review of this book. #books (

    This morning, Commander Vimes of the City Watch had it all. He was a Duke. He was rich. He was respected. He had a silver cigar case. He was about to become a father.

    This morning he thought longingly about the good old days.

    Tonight, he's in them.

    Flung back in time by a mysterious accident, Sam Vimes has to start all over again. He must get a new name and a job, and there's only one job he's good at: cop in the Watch. He must track down a brutal murderer. He must find his younger self and teach him everything he knows. He must whip the cowardly, despised Night Watch into a crack fighting force -- fast. Because Sam Vimes knows what's going to happen. He remembers it. He was there. It's part of history. And you can't change history . . .

    But Sam is going to. He has no choice. Otherwise, a bloody revolution will start, and good men will die. Sam saw their names on old headstones just this morning -- but tonight they're young men who think they have a future. And rather than let them die, Sam will do anything -- turn traitor, burn buildings, take over a revolt, anything -- to snatch them from the jaws of history. He will do it even if victory will mean giving up the only future he knows.

    For if he succeeds, he's got no wife, no child, no riches, no fame -- all that will simply vanish. But if he doesn't try, he wouldn't be Sam Vimes.

    And so the battle is on. He knows how it's going to end; after all, he was there. His name is on one of those headstones. But that's just a minor detail . . .

    This, right here, is a Discworld novel for Discworld fans. The Watch have always been my favourite characters, and Vimes is certainly my favourite of the bunch. So obviously an origin story about the man is going to go over well. But this isn’t lazy fan service, and is replete with Pratchett’s beautifully incisive writing, teaching us about what it means to be a “copper” when the world is falling to pieces.

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