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Transition av Iain Banks
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Transition (utgåvan 2009)

av Iain Banks

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1,680657,630 (3.61)55
Sharing nothing in common except links to an organization committed to protecting the world from itself, an assembly of dubious characters including a torturer, a reluctant assassin, and an amnesiac patient confront challenges beyond their imagining.
Medlem:abigailb
Titel:Transition
Författare:Iain Banks
Info:London : Little, Brown, 2009.
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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Transition av Iain M. Banks

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engelska (62)  franska (1)  Alla språk (63)
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I guess this was a work in progress but he ran out of time. I could have done without all the copulating but the basic idea of the multiverse was tackled really well. So thanks for a last book.
Ah - I later realise this wasn't his last book, so theoretically he could have done some editing......

Tried re-reading but didn't hold my attention so only got a few chapters in. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jan 23, 2021 |
What is up with all the books that can't keep to a straight timeline? Eventually it's nice to be surprised, but this is one of many books I've read recently that jumps around randomly in time.

So this book, imagine a world where some people can move then consciousness between humans and it being full of internal fighting. That is the back story to this book and in jumps through time we're presented with a story mostly narrated by one of the main characters.

The book feels disconnected with many stories that don't quite come to their conclusion. This is probably intentional to leave a bit for the reader as well but I was not up for it so I cannot give this book a good grade or recommend it. ( )
  bratell | Dec 25, 2020 |
Really slow and even after finishing it I'm not quite sure what or if anything at all has happened. ( )
  Paul_S | Dec 23, 2020 |
In this exploration of the 'many worlds' theory, Iain (M.) Banks hearks back to two of his earlier works that pre-date his science fictional explorations, 'Walking on Glass' and 'The Bridge'. This caused his publishers some confusion; it was published in the UK as an Iain Banks novel, presumably because of one character, a venal City wide boy in the early 2000s giving it a contemporary fiction vibe; whilst in the USA, it was published as an Iain M. Banks novel because of a lot of hopping between parallel universes. I think the Americans have it right on this one.

We also have a set of intertwining plotlines with a number of different characters, and a non-linear structure. Those who are comfortable with 'Use of Weapons' will find no problems with this. Mostly, we follow a character named Temujin Oh, who hails from a parallel Earth where the pre-eminent culture is Mongolian; but we never see that. We do visit a lot of alternative Earths as the story plunges us into the Concern, a trans-dimensional organisation ostensibly devoted to the betterment of humankind, everywhere. It's another vast, shadowy organisation of the sort that Banks enjoyed exploring in books like 'The Business', or the family firms in 'The Crow Road' or 'The Steep Approach to Garbadale', or even the Culture's Special Circumstances division. We also get some of Iain's trademark politics, though there's also a political joke towards the end that feels as though it has been injected by his friend Ken Macleod. (You will have to share Macleod's wide knowledge of Leftist politics to spot it, but it is a laugh-out-loud example.)

There is a certain amount of politicking, a lot of travel and considerable helpings of hedonism. For someone like me, who revels in world-building, this is a treat, and there are some set-piece scenes which allow for plenty of action. Those who do not like violence will probably find this book not to their taste, however; there is a lot of discussion about the practice of torture and some instances of it in the plot.

I recently had the opportunity to read an extract from an earlier draft of this novel, a fragment privately published as 'The Spheres'. It revealed some things about Temujin Oh that did not make it into the final novel, and indeed it would have set the book travelling along a completely different path; in that early draft, Oh was a very different sort of person, and the parallel Earth we are introduced to rather different. The final book did not go down that path; it might have made an even more interesting novel, with a range of very alien Earths, but reconciling that with a story of human extremes was probably too big an ask within the confines of one novel. ( )
1 rösta RobertDay | Sep 17, 2020 |
Banks has a number of themes that appear repeatedly across his now quite large output of fiction and they ALL get stuffed into this one. That makes for quite a rich book but some of it is just so unsubtle that it's irritating - take Adrian, the 100% cliche drug/financial dealer whose role is very minor as compared to the space he's given. Adrian is given that much space so that Banks can have another go at Capitalism, without any subtlety involved and giving a girl in a bar a walk-on part as Banks' mouthpiece for what is wrong with modern business; Public Limited Companies, apparently. All of this was done much better in The Business.

We have another take on Interventionism, as if the Culture novels hadn't discussed it to death by the end of Excession (the fourth one).

Solipsism rears it head again, intertwined with, "What is Reality?" Look in Against a Dark Background and The Bridge for earlier occurences.

Religion/terrorism/Islamophobia/the state of Britain these days, over-reliance on swearing, too much sex, yep, all the trademarks are here.

What has been absent lately but makes a very welcome return here, is an imaginative, well told, coherent, compelling story, although it does open really badly, with Banks being far too clever for his own good. He needs some new philosophical/political ideas to examine in his books, though. ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
Visa 1-5 av 63 (nästa | visa alla)
In the end, for better or worse, this is a novel held together by its author’s moral vision. Transition may boast a postmodern plethora of worlds, but it offers a single old-fashioned world-view which all this random rattling about paradoxically reveals... This is a thriller with a conscience, decent and timely, even if, amid all the blood and thunder, it sounds what can seem an incongruously still small voice.
 
Despite being published without the M in the author’s name - except in the US - this Iain Banks novel features parallel worlds, and flitting between them, and has as a plot point the existence or not of alien intelligences somewhere out there. As such it can scarcely be described as mainstream. But then early Iain “no M” Banks offerings (Walking On Glass, The Bridge, Canal Dreams) were suffused with SFness and/or sensibility (The Wasp Factory.)

Transition does, though, signal its literariness from the outset – its strapline is “based on a false story” and the first words of its prologue are, “Apparently I am what is known as an unreliable narrator.” There is, too, a high degree of characterisation throughout even though, with the aid of a drug known as septus, most of its main characters can flit from one body to another. In typical Banksian fashion there is a shadowy organisation - here known as l’Expédience, or the Concern (which last is a pun) based on a world unusually known as Calbefraques rather than Earth - in charge of the use and distribution of septus and of recruitment to and training for the transition process.

I did notice that while at one point it is said that there has to be a recipient body for transitioning to take place - the one left behind has only rudimentary function as a husk - later transitions to uninhabited worlds do take place without added explanation.

The narrative is divided between various viewpoint personalities, Patient 8262, who is in hiding in a hospital in a country where the local language is not his own, The Transitionary, who may be an earlier incarnation of Patient 8262, Adrian, a former drug dealer turned hedge fund manager, Madame d’Ortolan, foremost member of the Concern’s ruling council, The Philosopher, a legal torturer, and occasional others. The Transitionary’s is a first person present tense narrative, others are past tense, sometimes first, sometimes third person. The most intriguing character is the rather prosaically named Mrs Mulverhill – who is not married, merely likes the name.

In the sort of inversion beloved of SF authors one of the parallel worlds has a set of Christian fanatics pitted against the state and indulging in suicide bombings and the like. The scenario gives Banks the opportunity to riff on how proportionate a response society ought to have to terrorism and on the (in)efficacy of torture. One of his characters also skewers “the invisible hand.”

Devotees of Iain M Banks will probably find this a treat. Followers of his M-less namesake ought also to find enough in it to satisfy them.
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For Alastair and Emily, and in memory of Bec
With thanks to Adèle, Mic, Richard, Les, Gary and Zoe
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Apparently I am what is known as an Unreliable Narrator, though of course if you believe everything you're told you deserve whatever you get. (Prologue)
I think I have been very clever in doing what I have done, in landing myself where I am.
This is how it ends: he comes into my room. (Epilogue)
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But of course she was not a racist. To the contrary, as she could point out, in appropriate company (that would be to say, highly limited and avowedly discreet company), had she not tasted of what she thought of as the Dark Pleasures, with blacks, on more than one occasion? The epitome of such enjoyment was, for her, to be taken anally by such a Nubian brute. Privately, she thought of this act as "going to Sèvres-Babylone," as this was the deepest, darkest, and most excitingly, enticingly dangerous Métro station that she knew of.
Paris has changed once more. There is a canal through the breadth of the Ile St Louis, the street is full of gaily dressed hussars on clopping, head-tossing horses being politely applauded by a few passers-by who have stopped to watch and everything smells of steam. I look up, hoping for airships. I always like it when there are airships, but I can't see any.
And don't forget Goldman's Law: nobody knows anything. Nobody knows what will work. That's why they make so many remakes and Part Twos; what looks like lack of imagination is really down to too much, as execs visualise all the things that could go wrong with a brand new, untested idea. Going with something containing elements that definitely worked in the past removes some of the terrifying uncertainty.
We live in an infinity of infinities, and we reshape our lives with every passing thought and each unconscious action, threading an ever-changing course through the myriad possibilities of existence.
Libertarianism. A simple-minded right-wing ideology ideally suited to those unable or unwilling to see past their own sociopathic self-regard.
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Sharing nothing in common except links to an organization committed to protecting the world from itself, an assembly of dubious characters including a torturer, a reluctant assassin, and an amnesiac patient confront challenges beyond their imagining.

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