Iain M. Banks
Orbit Books, 2008
Last year, during a game of Diaspora, Banks’ Culture novels came up during the evening’s proceedings, and Consider Phlebas, the first of the Culture novels, has been languishing on my “to read” list ever since. Originally published in 1987, Consider Phlebas was re-released in 2008 by Orbit books when Banks revived the Culture series with Matter after an eight-year hiatus.
Consider Phlebas takes place amid a war between the alien Idiran empire, a war-like monotheistic race, and the vaguely human Culture, a post-scarcity sort of utopia-gone-wrong, an anarchic civilization driven to interfere in “lesser” cultures in order to maintain its own sense of moral purpose.