The Hydrogen Sonata

Iain M Banks

The Hydrogen Sonata

An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they've made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence. Amid preparations, though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted - dead, not alive. Aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command. She must find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago. 4.0 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
The Hydrogen Sonata

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Format Hardcover
Pages 528
RRP
Date of Publication October 2012
ISBN 978-0356501505
Publisher Orbit
 

An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they've made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence. Amid preparations, though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted - dead, not alive. Aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command. She must find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago.

Stonewall by Iain Banks

Reviews

The Guardian

Stuart Kelly

Over eight novels and one short story collection, Banks has created one of the most enduring and endearing visions of the future, and the publication of the ninth Culture novel, The Hydrogen Sonata, confirms his pre-eminence in the field.

10/10/2012

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The Independent

Roz Kaveney

The fun lies in process: tracking down the oldest man in the galaxy and finding out what he has chosen to forget, or watching the most complicated orgy in history try to break all sexual records. Banks has a taste for the absurd. He will never be sublime but because his gift is, like the Culture's, for having so much fun, he is never bored or boring.

06/10/2012

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The Scotsman

Andrew J Wilson

His science fiction novels can do things that his mainstream work can’t. For instance, in spite of all its high adventure and philosophical speculation, The Hydrogen Sonata can quite easily be read as a satire on the Scottish independence debate worthy of Jonathan Swift.

13/10/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

David Langford

Compulsive reading.

08/10/2012

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The Sunday Times

Alison Flood

It sounds complicated but it’s not, just tons of fun, because 25 years after Banks’s first Culture novel he is as exuberant, slyly funny and mind-stretchingly imaginative as ever.

18/11/2012

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