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Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Reread: The Player of Games

I started reading The Player of Games to Bowen at some point during our bike trip, because I thought he might find it interesting, since he loves board games. Midway through the book, he abandoned it because he got distracted by The Jungle Book instead. But I was already on a roll, so I just plowed on and kept going.

On a re-read, this is clearly one of the lesser Culture Novels that Iain M. Banks wrote. The setup is fairly simple and straight-forward, and who the drone narrator was is set up as a mystery but in retrospect seemed really obvious. The obvious implications of a machine intelligence based civilization are glossed over, though unlike say, Accelerando, it posits a much more positive view of post-scarcity civilization than most contemporary science fiction authors. It assumes that the organic civilization (which in later novels are explained to not be humans) has successfully transited to machine intelligence in such a way that the Minds running everything still consider human autonomy to be desirable and worth utilizing, if only to provide a sense of purpose to said organic beings.

It's a gateway to more challenging Iain M. Banks' novels because of it's simple nature, but it's not one of his more interesting works. Nevertheless, it's worth reading. Recommended.

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