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Monday, October 7, 2013

Excession Quasi-review


For those who are unfamiliar with Mr Reynolds' works, I can say you can start reading Pushing Ice and Terminal World. I strongly recommend these both. The tone of these two works is very different. Pushing Ice is more towards a TV-drama with super-episodes which it narrates how life is hard for humans on Janus, a fleeting moon from Saturn. But Terminal World, wow. Steampunk. Meaning there isn't any room for spaceships and fantastic physics. The exile of a doctor and his journey back looks more like a pilgrimage to me. His noble acts make me think of Merlin. (If you do not know who Merlin is, I suggest you to wiki it. No offence.)

Excession, written by the late Iain M. Banks, was (no longer 'is') my first attempt to keep off my addiction to Alastair Reynolds' space operas. Yes, in case you wondered, I am indeed addicted to Alastair Reynolds' works and I am waiting for his latest novel On the Steel Breeze and I will definitely grab it from the bookstores and burn it with my eyes and heart.


OK, see how much I flood (and flirt) myself with Reynolds' works?

Back to topic.

Excession is bought, mainly for the reason that... erm... I love blue colour. Notice the book cover and you know what I mean. It's the same reason how I broke my novel virginity with Reynolds. Yeah, I know I am stupid. And, yes, there is another reason. I love BDO.

You may ask what BDO is. It's a literary device meaning "Big Dumb Object". It means a huge object appear in the arc of the story but plays little or no significance to the story. Like the yellow brick road in Wizard of Oz, the brick road serves no purpose.

In Pushing Ice, the BDO is Janus, the huge (tiny) moon from Saturn. And in Terminal World, a relatively significant BDO is Spearpoint, a megastructure.

For Excession, we have - no prize for guessing right - a perfect black-body sphere that does absolutely nothing except protecting itself for no reasons (till the end is a different story, though, it even bid me farewell).

So, this novel is a very different novel. So different that my brain stops functioning for days before continuing. Reason? OK, so usually a story is written in any person's point of view. Like Snow White's story, you can get what Snow White did but never know what the Queen is doing due to the view is focused on Snow White.

In Excession, man, the point-of-view of characters are not living things at all! Gosh, you can see ships talking to each other, AI speaking and scolding a human etc. My mind suddenly requires additional time to settle things down. It's like listening two tables having a chitchat over a tiny table with a glass of weird coffee.

But all in all, the story is fun. You get to see a huge narrative on different subplots that makes you slowly sinks into the couch before continuing. The late author gives you time to set in, that's a huge plus otherwise I think your mind will go bluescreen and open in safemode.

If you wonder whether I will recommend this book, I say, three-and-a-half out of five yes! Try reading things in a weirder perspective! You can have more surprises than before!

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