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Matter has a couple of sequences that just define, for me, the charm of Banks as a writer. Banks likes to remind us that he’s chosen as the settings for these novels a galaxy-spanning civilization and so, when it comes down to it, really what does that life of the characters we’ve become so involved in really matter? Or, if that sounds a little nihilistic, maybe just that he likes to write plots that don’t function like movie plots, all tidied up with a bow, but rather as messy as real life.

SPOILERS, I guess, so I’ll put the rest after the jump:

So there’s an entire sub-plot of a researcher on a world far from where the main action is taking place who has stumbled across evidence of the plot that is driving our main action. He races across that world to try and get off world and contact the authorities with what he knows, having adventure after adventure along the way. And in the end, he fails, and dies before leaving the world. (Sad trombone.)

And really, that main plot, is sort of disposed of in the last few pages of the book with a bit of deus ex machina and Bob’s Your Uncle and what was the problem again?

FuzzyCo grade: A