The Player of Games PDF ✓ The Player PDF/EPUB or ☆ ePUB

The Culture a humanoidmachine symbiotic society has thrown up many great Game Players One of the best is Jernau Morat Gurgeh Player of Games master of every board computer and strategy Bored with success Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad cruel incredibly wealthy to try their fabulous game a game so complex so like life itself that the winner becomes emperor Mocked blackmailed almost murdered Gurgeh accepts the game and with it the challenge of his life and very possibly his death

10 thoughts on “The Player of Games

  1. says:

    That´s nothing than one of the best allegories on human culture ever written described from the point of view of an objective observer of a far higher developed civilizationI had the luck to read this probably his best novel as one of the first out of Banks´ amazing universe and in contrast to the other often very complex eclectic and multi plotted novels it stays focused on the main premise to show us how freaking average and dull we are I guess Banks did it on purpose as a stylistic element to say much with less and because it might have seemed inappropriate and weird to mix present history with the lighter space opera elements and humor of his other novelsTo integrate The game as an element of selection in an authoritarian government is a marvelous plot vehicle looking at you Hunger Games Battle Royale The Long Walk etc but mixing it with higher superior entities that could wipe the floor with the dictators while optimizing uantum gravity time dilation multiverse theoretical physics stuff with the other and doing whatever with as many hands tentacles I know what some of you are thinking now shame on you as they wish to have and create gripping devices by telekinetic manifesting them with greygreen goo nanotech in nanoseconds nano nano nano makes it both entertaining and insightfulAlthough it might be unrealistic that any evil despots might take the risk of participating in unfaked unmanipulated competitions instead of letting the suppressed population kill each other in epic battles to keep them calm Roman emperor style Except the tech is so highly advanced and secure and the probability of black swans so unlikely that they come down from their throne from time to time to slay their own people directly and under frenetic applause instead of conventionally killing them with secret police and incompetent agriculture politicsJust this moment I am realizing for the first time that Banks could be compared to Stanislaw Lem another author that dived so marvelous and smooth into the depts of human nature Of course Lems´ complexity is unreached and the space opera focus makes the comparison difficult in some regard but the authors' main intentions seem similar to meTropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres uniue

  2. says:

    A good book is entertaining tells an interesting story and occupies your mind while you’re reading it A great book does those things but also changes you changes the way you think about things changes the things you think about When you finish it you’re not the same person you were at the start The Player of Games had this kind of effect on me This book is a Trojan horseWhen I’m heavily invested in a book I tend to fit in a chapter everywhere I can often alternating between the physical book and audiobook depending on the situation I find myself in I remember reading The Player of Games for the first time amid a period of domestic responsibility with not much uninterrupted time to sit down with a book I particularly remember listening to the audiobook while walking rows of blueberries on a small farm in Tontitown Arkansas hoping to pick a gallon’s worth of berries early in the morning before the glaring sun had a chance to bake my skin I don’t remember how picked over the rows were that year or how the blueberries tasted that season I was too enraptured with that angry sneaky little drone; heavily intrigued by the ins and outs of life on this Culture orbital; trying to figure out who the narrator was what game they were playing at and with whom If I had a gun to my head and were forced to pick a favorite novel it would be this one I adore The Player of Games and reread it every few years Each time it feels ripe with new detail and interpretive possibility but it’s also just a great story

  3. says:

    UPDATED REVIEW 2nd read in 2015even ingenious the second time around The Player of Games is taken to the Empire of Azad to play the greatest of games the game is Azad is the Empire of Azad is the US and the UK and all such toxic empires in a civilized culture all empires must fall the game is feints and surprises and moves within moves; the game is the past that must be broken on the wheel of the future Banks brings all of his customary elegance intelligence humor and angry frustration at the stupidity and short sightedness of humanity he understands the allure but still seethes at the very thought of brutality let alone brutality as an ingrained governmental program or system or as a way of life for any so called human much like Banks I am on the side of the AIsUGLY OLD REVIEW 1st read in 2010view spoileran often brilliant allegory it is interesting to compare the rather spare uality of this novel with the luxurious expansiveness of the rest of the Culture novels almost as if it is Iain without the M Banks writing about the Culture this time and the themes are very much in line with banks' non science fiction suspense novels banks' wit and imagination are still in play as are the wonderful drones well one drone in particularmea culpa so i have been recommending that folks start the Culture series from the beginning perhaps this is entirely due to reading Consider Phlebas recently and seeing how much sense it makes as the first novel of an incredible series well Player of Games was actually my own first Culture novel and it worked out fine for me in the long run so whatever choose whichever Culture novel you want to start off withthe challenge that i had with Player was its feeling of sparseness when compared to the often over stuffed feeling i get with traditional space operasand that nearly too rich feeling is exactly what i'm usually looking for i want that swarming of detail and incident i want to be plunged into some richly imagined world building Player did not have that for me i recognized its brilliance but that brilliance was in a intellectual mode not one that i responded to emotionally or viscerally or as a means of escape into a completely realized yet often rather standardized universe this is far from a critiue how could a person ever promote the rote and predictable? never but it also did not exactly inspire me to keep reading Culture novels after Player it took some time for me to get back into the series perhaps the escapist in me longed for a less rigorously intellectual pastime or perhaps something that was less about aliens written like humans and about actual aliensstill great book hide spoiler

  4. says:

    Tis OfficialIain Banks can write his flesh cushion off Okay so for many of you that is not exactly breaking news scrolling across the ticker but I still thought it was worth repeating I had previously read and loved The Wasp Factory Banks' classic first novel which was a fascinating glimpse into the psychology of a very disturbed young man in serious need of a hug I also really enjoyed Consider Phlebas which is the first of the Culture novels With Banks having two big wins under his belt I went into this second installment of the Culture series with fairly high expectations and that always makes me nervous and twitchy It seems that whenever I go into a book hoping for mega I often than not crawl away from it feeling likelike umkinda like uh Yeahjust like THAT Well I'm a pleased as punch happy camper to report that there was no nut crushing disappointment encountered during this read and Iain came through in fine fashion in this sopho Culture novel BACKGROUNDBriefly the Culture is an extremely advanced post scarcity inter galactic utopian civilization It is a symbiotic union between humans and god like AI machines with the AIs performing the administrative and governing functions ie basically ruling while humans live a leisurely existence enjoying the benefits of UNLIMITED RESOURCES There are no laws little reason for internal conflict and force is rarely needed and used only when necessary to protect people from harm It is basically a giant all expenses paid never ending vacation in the most amazing high tech resort you can imagine where the citizens of the culture get to eatdrink sex it upbe pampered like royaltyand explore all manner of hedonistic entertainment In fact because of the utopian nature of the Culture everyone is pretty “kumbaya” and there is little to zero tension within the Culture itself I know I knowDUH Therefore the Culture novels mainly deal with either individuals outside of the Culture or with the Culture's efforts to expand its influence over a non Culture society Despite the many positive ualities of the Culture they will definitely cut “ethical corners” and take a very “ends justify the means” approach to bringing other societies civilizations under their benevolent rule PLOT SUMMARYThe Player of Games deals with just such a situation The main character is Jernau Morat Gurgeh who is among the greatest “game players” in all of the Culture Through his numerous bio enhancements another perk of the Culture he has mastered 1000s and 1000s of games and can absorb and master new ones incredibly fast Well this is just the kind of skill that the Culture’s “Special Circumstances” needs at the moment I would describe Special Circumstances SC as a cross between the CIA and the State Department because they both investigate and establish ties with other cultures in order to learn their customs so they can then determine how best to manipulate them into joining the Culture It is seriously sweet Well SC wants Gurgeh to employ his talents to learn a new game There is a massive civilization called the Empire of Azad that derives its name from an incredibly complex game calleduh Azad This game is central to the entire structure of the Empire's society and is so incredibly complex and nuanced that it takes a lifetime to be able to play However SC hopes that Gurgeh’s special aptitude will allow him to learn the game in just over two years the travel time to the Empire That should be enough background and I will stop there so that I don’t spoil any of the central plot for you Banks’ writing is top notch and his imagination is exceptional as he provides a ton of details about life in and out of the Culture without allowing the pacing to get bogged down in a whole lot of exposition He controls his story very well and you can be confidant that you are in capable hands This is space opera done very well by someone who has the writing chops to actually convey the wonder of his imagination to those of us who can only envy his talents 40 to 45 stars HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

  5. says:

    In 1938 Yasunari Kawabata a future Nobel Prize winner was assigned by the Mainichi newspaper to cover a Go match between Honinbo Shusai the top player and his challenger Kitani Minoru Go has an importance in Japanese culture that is hard for a Westerner to understand and was one of the four traditional arts that a Samurai had to excel in The match was very even until Kitani played an unexpected move just before an adjournment; its only purpose was to force a response giving him extra time to think about his next play This is completely standard practice in chess but although permitted by the rules of Go was contrary to the complicated etiuette of the game The rest of this review is available elsewhere the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons

  6. says:

    This was my first book in Iain M Banks sprawling Culture series I have been reading a lot of sci fi and fantasy lately because for some reason that's all that sounds interesting to me but I have to admit it is very annoying knowing that every book I pick up is the first in a Usually that blank is trilogy except when it isn't or it really isn't And while there may be lots and lots of Culture books they are all standalone stories with a beginning and an end You can read one published in 1987 and one published in 2010 and it won't make a difference This is very soothing to my nerves So anyway the Culture I wanted to read this series because of a Goodreads review I came across for Excession which noted that half the book is smartass back and forth between two sentient artificial intelligences I love stories about wiseacre supercomputers; in my book HAL 9000 is the hero of 2001 A Space Odyssey and all the humans just get in the way of the computer in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress My favorite episode of Futurama is the one where the ship voiced by Signouney Weaver natch falls for Fry You're just jealous Nobody loves you because you're tiny and made of meatThe Culture is a society ruled by these machines which instead of going the violent Skynet route has decided that hey humans aren't so bad after all In the Culture the machines take care of everything; no human goes hungry disease and famine are a thing of the past Sci fi nerds call this a post scarcity society but basically it means that people don't have to actually do anything to survive They don't even need to work because no one needs money in a society with no wants So basically because you are still going to need to do something with your existence the human citizens of the Culture devote themselves to creative pursuits like art or repeatedly undergoing sex changes or like Gurgeh playing gamesGurgeh is in fact the best Player of Games in the entire Culture Board games we're talking Not sports For this he is super famous anyway and freuently hosts parties writes papers and speaks at symposiums This would be like if the nerds who play Magic The Gathering were as idolized as Magic The Johnson But Gurgeh is so good at all the existing games that he jumps at the chance to travel to a newly discovered alien society known as The Empire subtle and play the game known as Azad which is so complex and revered that it has come to form the basis of the Empire's power structure Meaning it would probably piss some people off if a foreigner came by and casually won thus destroying the foundation of their entire society and such symbolism that I totally missed is revealed in Manny's reviewThat's a pretty good setup right there I think I like stories about games the obvious parallel is of course Ender's Game and this is a good one even though Banks doesn't really explain Azad to us this is just as well; it takes Gurgeh over a year of dedicated study to begin to understand the rules; reading them would be confusingboringunderwhelmingall three We don't have any idea what is going on but the loosely sketched matches still make for exciting reading as do the sometimes heavy handed comparisons between the refined politeness of the Culture and the raw barbarism of the Empire as well as the musings on the morality of state building ie intervening in a less advanced society because you know better ie the Prime Directive ParadigmBut what really made the book fun for me were the trappings of the Culture itself The idea of a post scarcity society is really interesting to me and Banks has fashioned a good one with a lot of fun examples of the ways humanity so to speak has dealt with its status as a largely extraneous life form in the grand scheme of galaxy spanning sentient worldships The AIs themselves are collectively my favorite characters from the massive spaceships so big they are controlled by robotic hive minds to the small drones that follow humans around and make fun of them And swear I imagined them like this but sassierI always liked that movie I bet if I watched it again I would discover it really isn't very good Jessica Tandy aside Tandy powerDespite my series stress I am definitely going to read Culture novels Facebook 30 Day Book Challenge Day 5 Book you wish you could live in

  7. says:

    My third Culture book a series of epic space opera about a post scarcity human society in the far future If you are not familiar with this series you may want to read this Wikipedia entry first and come back or not as you prefer I love Consider Phlebas but I followed that up with fan favorite Use of Weapons and it nearly put me off the entire series I don't want to go into why I do not like that book if you are curious you can always find my review Still I love Consider Phlebas so much Use of Weapons could not completely eradicate the goodwill I still have for Mr Banks and the Culture series The Player of Games then is the book that will make or break the rest of series for me Make it isThe Player of Games is complex intelligent yet easy enough to follow none of that mucking about with multiple timelines or switching to and fro between the present and flashbacks in some weird reverse order seuence The story simply revolves around a single protagonist Jernau Gurgeh possibly The Culture's greatest games players That is saying something given how important games are to the indolent citizens of The Culture who are supplied with every material thing they can possibly want Gurgeh is approached by the Special Circumstances the Culture's secret service black ops type organisation to take part in an Azad game tournament at The Azad Empire a rival civilization just a few light years away This game is so important that it is the cornerstone of The Azad Empire The winner is elevated to the Emperor status As to why the Special Circumstances want Gurgeh to take part in this tournament you will have to find out for yourself by reading the book You can thank me laterThe most fascinating feature of this book for me is the Azad game it seems like a hyper chess game with various card games and philosophy thrown in Its is so complex it makes uidditch look like Snakes Ladders Though the author does not describe the game in so much detail that it would be playable if you had the mega board the pieces the cards and other things to hand the description is done so well that you can imagine such a game existing As with the other Culture books I have read Banks has populated the novel with uite a few well developed characters though most of them tend to be AI or wee robots droids The central character Jernau Gurgeh is complex and interesting though not particularly likable a typical trait of Banks' protagonists it seems Still at least he is not a tough as nails anti hero which is getting a bit old for me his extreme focus and obsession makes him uite vivid I also love the humorous moments interspersed throughout the book these are mainly based around an indignant droid in a clunky disguise The grand finale which takes place on a planet regularly burned by a perpetual wave of fire is wonderfully exciting though little plot twist at the end is not particularly surprising Iain Banks' prose style is as literary as ever and is a pleasure to readThis book has made me re commit myself to reading The Culture series I look forward to reading many volumes

  8. says:

    If you're into stuff like this you can read the full reviewGaming All Nighters The Player of Games by Iain M Banks All reality is a game Physics at its most fundamental the very fabric of our universe results directly from the interaction of certain fairly simple rules and chance; the same description may be applied to the best most elegant and both intellectually and aesthetically satisfying games By being unknowable by resulting from events which at the sub atomic level cannot be fully predicted the future remains make able and retains the possibility of change the hope of coming to prevail; victory to use an unfashionable word In this the future is a game; time is one of the rules Generally all the best mechanistic games those which can be played in any sense perfectly such as a grid Prallian scope 'nkraytle chess Farnic dimensions can be traced to civilisations lacking a realistic view of the universe let alone the reality They are also I might add invariably pre machine sentience societies”  In “The Player of Games” by Iain M Banks   “I exult when I win It’s better than love it’s better than sex or any glanding; it’s the only instant when I feel real”  In “The Player of Games” by Iain M Banks   Some of the imagery in Bank’s novel concerning gaming strategies closely remind me of my own “In all the games he’d played the fight had always come to Gurgeh initially He’d thought of the period before as preparing for battle but now he saw that if he had been alone on the board he’d have done roughly the same spreading slowly across the territories consolidating gradually calmly economically of course it had never happened; he always was attacked and once the battle was joined he developed that conflict as assiduously and totally as before he’d tried to develop the patterns and potential of unthreatened pieces and undisputed territory” This means you know you’ll get a biased sort of review Just so you’re warned  If you're into SF read on

  9. says:

    If I had to pick a favorite of Iain Bankswell I haven't read them all yet and anyway I couldn't pick because each one I read becomes a favorite for a different reason This one is a fascinating study of a complex character set in an insanely well drawn world If you're a gamer you will definitely appreciate this book on another level so pick it up

  10. says:

    This was the second Culture novel I'd read after Consider Phlebas I’m trying to read them in order Well publication order in any caseSo I’ll come right out and say it if you are a fan of Space Opera you should be reading the Culture novels They vary a lot stylistically and thematically but they’re all pretty damn cool and very very clever Banks managed to juggle sense of wonder elements with intrigue almost effortlessly Not to mention some gnarly political commentaryI read somewhere someplace sometime that people have likened The Player Of Games to Ender's Game but I'm not sure I agree There is a 'game' element in both books obviously even the titles suggest that but that was where the similarities ended for me I have also learned possibly from this same vague indeterminate source that there are those who look down their noses at Consider Phlebas stating that The Player Of Games is by far the better of the two and that you might as well start your Culture journey right here Who can tell? This kind of thing is too darn relative but I will say that Consider Phlebas was for me fun to read And in fact I’ve rated it higher than Player Of Games So there I’ve said it It can’t be unsaid They’re actually two very different beasts I just warmed better to the protagonist in Phlebas possibly because I perceived The Game Player to be somewhat aloof and detached No doubt an important aspect of his identity so it isn’t really a criticism Nitpicking aside how the hell did I get onto that tangent? this is still a great book Because less than optimal Banks is still better than most stuff out there and this is Banks in fairly close to optimal mode The Player Of Games introduces us to one Jernau Morat Gurgeh He plays games He's very very good at it too We’re not talking about chess or checkers or even your favourite RPG MMORPG FPS or LARP or any other of a million other acronyms but complicated and lengthy affairs from a variety of different spacefaring cultures Fascinating albeit complex stuff all round Gurgeh is therefore known as ‘The Game Player’All is well until he is invited to a very distant empire to play the game of Azad At first glance this doesn't seem like so big a deal but it soon becomes apparent that Azad and Empire politics are intertwined and inseparable to a disturbing degree Without giving the game away so to speak I will only say that Gurgeh at last seems to have bitten off than he can chew On second thought contrary to my statement above this is possibly where the Ender comparisons originated The whole “playing for keeps” thing But Mum’s the wordThat is or less the gist of it Don’t worry it’s much exciting than I’m making it sound Being Banks it’s a lot of fun There is a lot of intrigue and maneuvering and the game seuences are proficiently portrayed Why not five stars? Well it doesn’t have the same sprawling feel that Phlebas had which is something I appreciate in my Sy Fy This one is contained hush hush connivingAt this stage it seems safe to say that the Culture books are stand alone so there is no pressing need to read Consider Phlebas before this But you might as well because this is the good stuff when it comes to big league Space OperaRecommendedupdateAs of 2018 there appears to be a TV series in development for Consider Phlebas specifically One can hope they don’t muck it up and if they manage to get it right one can hope they expand it to include the other Culture novels such as this one as well