Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Iain M Banks - Raging Scot in Space!


AGAINST A DARK BACKGROUND by Iain M. Banks

On the surface, Banks' fourth SF novel seems very similar to a certain Lucas/Spielberg silver screen blockbuster: a charming rougue-ish hero is pursued through exotic locales by dangerous fanatics, each engaged in a desperate search for a lost ancient powerful artifact. However, that is where the similarity ends. Banks is way too talented, creative and innovative to create just a mere cheap knockoff. Plus, he is definitely too dark and twisted compared to the watered-down pablum that George and Steven tend to serve up. This is fast and action-packed, but also intelligent and moody. If you want real adventure--this is it!





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I'm not entirely sure when I originally wrote this review (slightly rewritten for posting here), but I do know that it has been way too long since I embarked on one of Mr. Banks' completely brilliant and totally different Space Operas. When I first discovered him back in the '90's, for whatever reason, I decided to read his SF books in the order they were published and take my time about it. Unlike many other SFF authors who just crank out book after mediocre book, Banks takes his sweet time and the results are well worth the wait. That and the fact that he alternates his writing between Science Fiction and "normal" Fiction (published under just Iain Banks, sans the 'M'), leaves a fan like me with a semi-limited supply of his works.

Anyway, I recently went on a trip to San Francisco and as is my usual wont, I grabbed a good mass market size paperback to bring with me on the plane. I decided to /finally/catch up with Mr. Banks and brought FEERSUM ENDJINN. Within the span of the first chapter, I quickly remembered why I love Iain M. Banks and wondered what the hell took me so long to read another one of his excellent books.

However, my blog review of FEERSUM ENDJINN will have to wait until another day. Must. Stay. On topic. Besides the fact that I wanted to gush about AGAINST A DARK BACKGROUND, I also wanted to use this opportunity to announce the official opening of the Fantastic Planet Books online store! You can now peruse and browse our inventory and purchase books directly from us! The store website is pretty darn cool and one of the nice features is that we can highlight notable and recommended titles that we stock. Consider it the "staff picks" section of our virtual store! You may even see a great title by a certain talented Scotsman basking in the spotlight...

So while you're out wandering the wilds of the internet, be sure to stop by the Fantastic Planet Books Online Store and pay us a visit! We look forward to seeing you soon! And don't forget to visit our Fantastic Planet Books mothership as long as you're in the neighborhood.

1 comment:

melissa said...

Congrats on your online store!! And I guess it says something if your non-SF sister gets a kick out of your blog ... ;-)