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I started filling in my reading gaps in the Culture novels last year and actually (despite the lateness of this post) finished all of them before I knew that Iain Banks was ill. And now he’s gone. And so there won’t be any more. By all accounts, he was an excellent fellow and is mourned by his friends and family, but since I didn’t know him is it wrong to mourn the loss of new works?

In any case, Excession is a very space-opera-y Culture novel, with Ships and Minds flitting all over the place. My one problem with the novel is all the conversations between Ships. Now, I love the convention that Culture Ships name themselves with long complicated names that reflect their nature or some in-joke or something, but I found it really hard, for some reasons, to keep them all straight as distinct characters during long stretches of, basically, quoted email conversations. Probably just a problem with my brain.

FuzzyCo grade: A