Wednesday, 1 May 2002

Treason’s harbour & The player of games

Listening to:

Beethoven, Fidelio.

Just read:

Patrick O'Brian, Treason’s harbour.

This is the ninth book of the series, and it’s a definite improvement on the eighth. I liked it. There’s not a lot of naval action to it, but there are a couple of interesting engagements. The last one is sufficiently complicated that there’s even an accompanying map, giving you the lie of the land. The bulk of the “action” turns around intrigues and espionage, which suits me fine. The book doesn’t really finish properly; it’s clearly just a chapter in the ongoing story.

Iain M. Banks, The player of games.

This is the best Culture novel of the three I’ve now read. Just about every aspect of the book is interesting and intriguing. The premise of an empire that determines who occupies positions in its hierarchies (including the position of emperor itself) on the basis of how well someone plays a particular game is a bit too cute, but it’s all worked out very well. There's a savage criticism of repressive political systems in here too: it’s slightly over the top, but done well, even if it is preaching to the choir somewhat.

Still reading:

Roald Dahl's Complete tales of the unexpected.

I was away in Paris over the weekend, which is why I interposed two light paperbacks into my reading schedule.