George V. Reilly

Review: The Algebraist

The Algebraist
Title: The Algebraist
Author: Iain M. Banks
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Copyright: 2004
Pages: 434
Keywords: science fiction
Reading period: 13-20 March, 2007

The Algebraist is Iain M. Banks‘ most recent science-fiction novel. Most of his SF novels are set in the universe of the Culture. This one is assuredly not. Artificial In­tel­li­gences are hated and persecuted.

Fassin Taak is a human Slow Seer, a sort of an­thro­pol­o­gist who studies the Dwellers, an extremely long-lived race who live on gas-giant planets scattered across the galaxy. He is recruited by his government to in­ves­ti­gate rumors of a secret list of wormholes, which would yield new, high-speed routes across the galaxy. At the same time, news arrives of the invading fleet of the Starveling Cult, led by the Archi­man­drite Luseferous.

The Dwellers operate from fun­da­men­tal­ly different principles than the ‘Quick’ races like humans. In­di­vid­u­als live millions, oc­ca­sion­al­ly billions, of years. They are supreme dilet­tantes, with boastful but un­be­liev­able claims of superior technology. Taak comes to realize that there’s more to the Dwellers than was previously known.

Exciting and en­ter­tain­ing. This book was nominated for a Hugo in 2005.

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