All reality is a game.
Rating: 3/5 – Decent plot, but not much else.
This one disappointed me. I’ve heard a lot of great things about Ian M. Banks vast Culture corpus and so was expecting a novel of great depth and idea, like one gets when reading Clarke or Asimov. Instead, what I found was a book that seemed to be all setting and plot but no substance.
Which isn’t to say that the plot and setting aren’t interesting and well done. I just want my sci fi books to be about something greater. Dune, Ender’s Game, and Speaker for the Dead (my favorite science fiction) all carry great ideas and theses about humanity and our nature. The Player of Games is just a story about a guy who plays a game, with some clever world building thrown in.
That being said, the writing is quite good and the plot is itself captivating in its own way. If you’re looking for a light and fun read, this is worth checking out. Just don’t expect to come away with any great questions or insights about humanity.