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Thread: Matter

  1. #11
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    I really enjoyed it, but I have so many questions about it. I don't know if TMH intended for certain things to be unresolved or if I'm being dim. I was going to start a thread up in the hope folks might enlighten me.

  2. #12
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    I'm a relative new comer to Iain Banks' sci-fi novels so I guess I can maintain my momemtum of interest in them no matter how recent or old they are without burning out.

  3. #13

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    I wrote a review of Matter on my blog early last year - see here.

  4. #14
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    Nice one, though personally I prefered The Algebraist.
    "Just have fun"

  5. #15
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    iansales, I don't think there have been revisions to Culture that are genuinely harmful and contradictory, since why would an AI run civilization not have a cyberspace? And in Consider Phlebas the trapped Mind could easily have had nano-machines if it could deploy drones or fix machinery.

  6. #16

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    It's not how they fit within the universe of the Culture, it's the way they're introduced to the universe as a fictional construct. If nano-tech is not mentioned in Consider Phlebas, then it never existed. To pretend it did is "retconning". Some sf authors prder a degree of flexibility in their world-building. John Varley and Alastair Reynolds spring to mind as examples - both have said they see no need to stick slavishly to aspects of the universe they built for earlier novels. If they have a better idea, they'll use that. That was the point I was making in my review.

  7. #17
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    If nano-tech is not mentioned in Consider Phlebas, then it never existed. To pretend it did is "retconning".
    That's overly simplistic. 'Infinite Fun Space' isn't mentioned in CP either, but there is nothing to contradict its existence in the Culture universe either. IFS being discussed in Excession is not retconning.

    A 'hierarchy' of civs isn't exactly new anyway. It's been hinted at since CP and PoG with the Idirans being proteges of the Homomda and Homomdan interference in Azad. It's true we suddenly see a lot more of other involveds in Matter, but there's a big Universe out there to write about. I don't see any retconning. In fact TMH has acknowledged that Culture novels tend to focus on a very thin slice of the Culture itself because Contact and SC are interesting, whereas most of the rest is just content people living out happy and fulfilled lives (yawn). Just because he hasn't written about that doesn't mean it isn't there.

  8. #18
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    Consider Phlebas occurred several centuries before Matter, so there is no real surprise that the Culture has made technological advances and refinements, but nothing that really leaps up at me, and it has always been implied the Culture is not the most prominmant power in the known Universe if there is the Homomda (likely similar in standing to the Morthanveld) and the Dra'Azon (a Sublimed race who can do almost anything, with one Dra'Azon individual who held off an entire Idiran armada) introduced in the first Culture novel.

    What puts me off is the Culture's arrogance in believing the Morthanveld Commonwealth is not as advanced as them, despite the fact the Morthanveld attained FTL travel nearly half a million years ago and firmly govern half the Milky Way.

  9. #19
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    But the damn fools don't rely on AIs.

    Maybe the Morthanveld know something that the "human" culture members don't about the future of AI lead societies?
    "Just have fun"

  10. #20
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    With a chill, Horza recalled the insect which had settled momentarily on his wrist in the smallbay outside, just before he had boarded the CAT. The Culture, he knew, had machines - artificial bugs - that size.
    I'm assuming that some form of nano-tech is used to build such things.

    Also, the description of the repairs and constructs by the drone Sisela Ytheleus in Excession, as well as the audit of "two hundred and forty one-millimetre-long nanomissiles" leads me to think that the tech was available long before Look To Windward.
    Lurker at the threshold

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