Search Results: "Iain M. Banks"


BOOK REVIEW

EXCESSION by Iain M. Banks
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Feb. 1, 1997

"Not Invented Here and Shoot Them Later) don't compensate for the absence of real characters."
From versatile Scottish writer Banks, another sf yarn about the tolerant, diverse, far-future Culture (The Player of Games, 1989, etc.). Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

CANAL DREAMS by Iain M. Banks
Released: Sept. 3, 1991

"Banks (The Bridge, etc.) sets up the usual melodramatic premises of the genre but then sidesteps them for atmosphere and enigma, like the closing episodes of Twin Peaks."
"Dreams" is right, as Yukio Mishima meets Hiroshima mon amour in this spare, hallucinatory novel about a world-class Japanese cellist taken hostage in a terrorist coupHisako Onoda, whose fear of flying has forced her to take ship on a freighter for her European concert tour, has been spending the interregnum floating on a Panama lake while the canal is closed by political unrest, brooding on her earlier losses and achievements—her widowed mother's sacrifices to pay for her lessons, her growing mastery of her instrument, her obligatory affairs—and taking up with Philippe, a French officer aboard Le Cercle. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

THE WASP FACTORY by Iain M. Banks
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 24, 1984

"In sum: a nastily striking, somewhat uneven debut—at its dreadful best when not straining for symbolic shockers or cosmic resonance."
Through much of this impressive first novel, almost up until the awkward and misguided finale, young Scottish writer Banks achieves that fine British balance—between horrific content on the one hand and matter-of-fact comic delivery on the other. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

THE PLAYER OF GAMES by Iain M. Banks
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Feb. 22, 1989

"Predictable, certainly, and less imaginative than Phlebas, but technically much more solid: honorably crafted work, often engrossing despite some sluggish patches."
Following Consider Phlebas (1988), another distant-future yarn featuring the Culture—a tolerant, relaxed, moneyless civilization unobtrusively directed by superintelligent machine Minds. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

STONEMOUTH by Iain Banks
Released: Nov. 15, 2012

"Contemporary, hilarious, gritty—yes, this is genre fiction, and no, the genre doesn't get much better than this."
This novel considers the question of how to return home after a long absence, particularly when your ex-fiancee is the eldest daughter of a local crime boss. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

NON-FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

"A welcome addition that helps fill a gap in the study of African-American history and American intellectual history. (photos, not seen)"
Thorough research, lively interviews with modern artists and scholars, and thoughtful analysis combine to offer a portrait of the problems black intellectuals have faced in America and the variety of ways blacks have discussed and dealt with those problems over the last two centuries. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

THE WINTER PONY by Iain Lawrence
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 8, 2011

"A survival story so vivid readers will want to don a warm jacket and have a comforting bowl of soup within reach. (map of explorers' routes, cast of characters, author's note, acknowledgments, about the author) (Historical fiction. 9-14)"
Lawrence tells the gut-wrenching tale of Englishman Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated trek to the South Pole in the first-pony voice of a white pony named James Pigg who was actually part of the expedition. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

THE SMUGGLERS by Iain Lawrence
Released: May 1, 1999

"The storytelling is broad but the details are fine: Lawrence has packed his tale full of vivid descriptions that are swarming with historical detail, painting as honest a picture of piracy as readers are likely to encounter. (Fiction. 9-14)"
In this companion to The Wreckers (1998), Lawrence provides more adventures on the high seas. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

THE SKELETON TREE by Iain Lawrence
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 5, 2016

"Unsettling and compelling, a gripping, evocative read. (author's note) (Adventure. 8-12)"
Chris, 12, is thrilled to sail from Kodiak, Alaska, down to Vancouver, British Columbia, with Uncle Jack but surprised (and not thrilled) to discover Frank, a sullen teen, is coming, too; the boys' mutual antipathy grows even after they're shipwrecked on the wild Alaskan coast, where cooperation is a precondition for survival. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

NON-FICTION
Released: Jan. 1, 2001

"A smart, engaging history of the uses of, attitudes toward, and wars over the world's most mysterious plant. (Illustrations throughout)"
From ancient, South American, meter-long cigars (and you thought Cheech and Chong rolled big) to modern Chinese teenagers lighting up because it "looks cool," a fast-paced, comprehensive look at tobacco and its consumers. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

I'M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS by Iain Reid
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 14, 2016

"Reid's tightly crafted tale toys with the nature of identity and comes by its terror honestly, building a wall of intricately layered psychological torment so impenetrable it's impossible to escape."
A road trip in a snowstorm takes a sinister turn for a man and his girlfriend, the novel's unnamed narrator. Read full book review >

BOOK REVIEW

NON-FICTION
Released: June 6, 2003

"Small wonder that politicians, poets, and popes were after his head. McCalman opens the files on a fascinating character—a con man for the ages."
A lively bio of the once celebrated, but now little remembered, charlatan and troublemaker. Read full book review >