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Canal Dreams


I've just finished Iain Banks' Canal Dreams. I've not read that much Banks in recent years. I read one of his Culture SciFi books a while ago (I'm trying to remember which one now - the one with the mind trapped on the planet - someone will remind me) and his Raw Spirit, which is nominally a tour around the distilleries of Scotland but is more of a road trip book formed an excellent guide book for a trip we made up there in 2008.

Anyway it's been a while since I read any of his ordinary fiction. But then for Banks "ordinary" is a relative term. Some of his stuff I love. Complicity for example I read in one sitting, not even stopping to cook as I was too busy devouring the novel over a day. Others, like A Song of Stone left me cold and I never even got started on Feersum Endjinn with its strange language. As the Amazon page for the book says:

B 4worned, 1 oph Banx' carrokters theenx en funetic inglish, which makes for some tough reading but also some innovative prose.


So that brings me back to Canal Dreams and it was a good, if brutal read. When he's in the mood Banks has a way of turning his characters into emotionless killing machines when it suits him and that's definitely one of those books. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Anyway I'll be seeing him in the flesh next month at the Ullapool Book Festival ... although I doubt he'll be interested in questions about a novel from almost twenty years ago.

Tags: books Written 04/04/10

Previous comments about this article:

On 08/04/10 at 11:14pm Graham Denison wrote:

Descendant, about an astronaut stuck on a planet in his intelligent space suit?

On 08/04/10 at 11:19pm Paul wrote:

I'm not sure if you were trying to answer my question but someone reminded me on Facebook that the novel I was thinking of was Consider Phlebas.

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