Culture Books In Publication Order
- Consider Phlebas (1987)
- The Player of Games (1988)
- The State of the Art (1989)
- Use of Weapons (1990)
- Excession (1996)
- Inversions (1998)
- Look to Windward (2000)
- Matter (2008)
- Surface Detail (2010)
- The Hydrogen Sonata (2012)
Standalone Novels In Publication Order
- The Wasp Factory (1984)
- Walking on Glass (1985)
- The Bridge (1986)
- Espedair Street (1987)
- Canal Dreams (1989)
- The Crow Road (1992)
- Complicity (1993)
- Against a Dark Background (1993)
- Feersum Endjinn (1994)
- Whit (1995)
- A Song of Stone (1997)
- The Business (1999)
- Dead Air (2002)
- The Algebraist (2004)
- The Steep Approach To Garbadale (2005)
- Transition (2009)
- Stonemouth (2012)
- The Quarry (2013)
Non-Fiction Books In Publication Order
- Raw Spirit (2003)
Poetry Collections In Publication Order
- Poems (With: Ken MacLeod) (2015)
Anthologies In Publication Order
- Arrows Of Eros (1989)
- The Space Opera Renaissance (2006)
- Burning Brightly: 50 Years of Novacon (2021)
Culture Book Covers
Standalone Novels Book Covers
Non-Fiction Book Covers
Poetry Collections Book Covers
Anthologies Book Covers
Iain M. Banks Books Overview
The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender. Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction. Consider Phlebas a space opera of stunning power and awesome imagination.
The Culture a human/machine symbiotic society has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. The Player of Games. Master of every board, computer and strategy. Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game…
a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the challenge of his life and very possibly his death. Praise for Iain M. Banks:’Poetic, humorous, baffling, terrifying, sexy the books of Iain M. Banks are all these things and more’ NME’An exquisitely riotous tour de force of the imagination which writes its own rules simply for the pleasure of breaking them.’ Time Out
The first ever collection of Iain Banks’s short fiction, this volume includes the acclaimed novella, The State of the Art. This is a striking addition to the growing body of Culture lore, and adds definition and scale to the previous works by using the Earth of 1977 as contrast. The other stories in the collection range from science fiction to horror, dark coated fantasy to morality tale. All bear the indefinable stamp of Iain Banks’s staggering talent.
The man known as Cheradenine Zakalwe was one of Special Circumstances’ foremost agents, changing the destiny of planets to suit the Culture through intrigue, dirty tricks and military action. The woman known as Diziet Sma had plucked him from obscurity and pushed him towards his present eminence, but despite all their dealings she did not know him as well as she thought. The drone known as Skaffen Amtiskaw knew both of these people. It had once saved the woman’s life by massacring her attackers in a particularly bloody manner. It believed the man to be a lost cause. But not even its machine could see the horrors in his past. Ferociously intelligent, both witty and horrific, Use of Weapons is a masterpiece of science fiction.
Iain M. Banks is a true original, an author whose brilliant speculative fiction has transported us into worlds of unbounded imagination and inimitable revelatory power. Now he takes us on the ultimate trip: to the edge of possibility and to the heart of a cosmic puzzle…
. Diplomat Byr Genar Hofoen has been selected by the Culture to undertake a delicate and dangerous mission. The Department of Special Circumstances the Culture’s espionage and dirty tricks section has sent him off to investigate a 2,500 year old mystery: the sudden disappearance of a star fifty times older than the universe itself. But in seeking the secret of the lost sun, Byr risks losing himself. There is only one way to break the silence of millennia: steal the soul of the long dead starship captain who first encountered the star, and convince her to be reborn. And in accepting this mission, Byr will be swept into a vast conspiracy that could lead the universe into an age of peace…
or to the brink of annihilation.
Iain M. Banks, the international bestselling author of ‘The Player of Games’ and ‘Consider Phlebas,’ is a true original, a literary visionary whose brilliant speculative fiction has transported us into worlds of unbounded imagination. Now, in his acclaimed new novel, Banks presents an engrossing portrait of an alien world, and of two very different people bound by a startling and mysterious secret. On a backward world with six moons, an alert spy reports on the doings of one Dr. Vosill, who has mysteriously become the personal physician to the king despite being a foreigner and, even more unthinkably, a woman. Vosill has more enemies than she first realizes. But then she also has more remedies in hand than those who wish her ill can ever guess. Elsewhere, in another palace across the mountains, a man named DeWar serves as chief bodyguard to the Protector General of Tassasen, a profession he describes as the business of ‘assassinating assassins.’ DeWar, too, has his enemies, but his foes strike more swiftly, and his means of combating them are more direct. No one trusts the doctor, and the bodyguard trusts no one, but is there a hidden commonality linking their disparate histories? Spiraling around a central core of mystery, deceit, love, and betrayal. ‘Inversions‘ is a dazzling work of science fiction from a versatile and imaginative author writing at the height of his remarkable powers.
The Twin Novae battle had been one of the last of the Idiran war, and one of the most horrific: desperate to avert their inevitable defeat, the Idirans had induced not one but two suns to explode, snuffing out worlds and biospheres teeming with sentient life. They were attacks of incredible proportion gigadeathcrimes. But the war ended, and life went on.
Now, eight hundred years later, light from the first explosion is about to reach the Masaq’ Orbital, home to the Culture’s most adventurous and decadent souls. There it will fall upon Masaq’s 50 billion inhabitants, gathered to commemorate the deaths of the innocent and to reflect, if only for a moment, on what some call the Culture’s own complicity in the terrible event.
Also journeying to Masaq’ is Major Quilan, an emissary from the war ravaged world of Chel. In the aftermath of the conflict that split his world apart, most believe he has come to Masaq’ to bring home Chel’s most brilliant star and self exiled dissident, the honored Composer Ziller.
Ziller claims he will do anything to avoid a meeting with Major Quilan, who he suspects has come to murder him. But the Major’s true assignment will have far greater consequences than the death of a mere political dissident, as part of a conspiracy more ambitious than even he can know a mission his superiors have buried so deeply in his mind that even he cannot remember it.
Hailed by SFX magazine as ‘an excellent hopping on point if you’ve never read a Banks SF novel before,’ Look to Windward is an awe inspiring immersion into the wildly original, vividly realized civilization that Banks calls the Culture.
In a world renowned even within a galaxy full of wonders, a crime within a war. For one brother it means a desperate flight, and a search for the one maybe two people who could clear his name. For his brother it means a life lived under constant threat of treachery and murder. And for their sister, even without knowing the full truth, it means returning to a place she’d thought abandoned forever. Only the sister is not what she once was; Djan Seriy Anaplian has changed almost beyond recognition to become an agent of the Culture’s Special Circumstances section, charged with high level interference in civilisations throughout the greater galaxy. Concealing her new identity and her particular set of abilities might be a dangerous strategy, however. In the world to which Anaplian returns, nothing is quite as it seems; and determining the appropriate level of interference in someone else’s war is never a simple Matter. Matter is a novel of dazzling wit and serious purpose. An extraordinary feat of storytelling and breathtaking invention on a grand scale, it is a tour de force from a writer who has turned science fiction on its head.
It begins in the realm of the Real, where matter still matters. It begins with a murder. And it will not end until the Culture has gone to war with death itself. Lededje Y’breq is one of the Intagliated, her marked body bearing witness to a family shame, her life belonging to a man whose lust for power is without limit. Prepared to risk everything for her freedom, her release, when it comes, is at a price, and to put things right she will need the help of the Culture. Benevolent, enlightened and almost infinitely resourceful thought it may be, the Culture can only do so much for any individual. With the assistance of one of its most powerful and arguably deranged warships, Lededje finds herself heading into a combat zone not even sure which side the Culture is really on. A war brutal, far reaching is already raging within the digital realms that store the souls of the dead, and it’s about to erupt into reality. It started in the realm of the Real and that is where it will end. It will touch countless lives and affect entire civilizations, but at the center of it all is a young woman whose need for revenge masks another motive altogether. Surface Detail is Iain M. Banks’ new Culture novel, a breathtaking achievement from a writer whose body of work is without parallel in the modern history of science fiction.
Frank, no ordinary sixteen year old, lives with his father outsIde a remote Scottish village. Their life is, to say the least, unconventional. Frank’s mother abandoned them years ago: his elder brother Eric is confined to a psychiatric hospital; and his father measures out his eccentricities on an imperial scale. Frank has turned to strange acts of violence to vent his frustrations. In the bizarre daily rituals there is some solace. But when news comes of Eric’s escape from the hospital Frank has to prepare the ground for his brother’s inevitable return an event that explodes the mysteries of the past and changes Frank utterly. Iain Banks’ celebrated first novel is a work of extraordinary originality, imagination and horrifying compulsion: horrifying, because it enters a mind whose realities are not our own, whose values of life and death are alien to our society; and compulsive, because the humour and compassion of that mind reach out to us all.
‘Her eyes were black, wide as though with some sustained surprise, the skin from their outer corners to her small ears taut. Her lips were pale, and nearly too full for her small mouth, like something bled but bruised. He had never seen anyone or anything quite so beautiful in his life.’ Graham Park is in love. But Sara Fitch is an enigma to him, a creature of almost perverse mystery. Steven Grout is paranoid and with justice. He knows that They are out to get him. They are. Quiss, insecure in his fabulous if ramshackle castle, is forced to play interminable impossible games. The solution to the oldest of all paradoxical riddles will release him. But he must find an answer before he knows the question. Park, Grout, Quiss no trio could be further apart. But their separate courses are set for collision.
In The Bridge, master storyteller and weaver of worlds, Iain Banks creates a mysterious structure that leads from nowhere to nowhere. Everyone lives on The Bridge, including a man named Orr, devoid of personality or memory, and haunted by dreams of war. Banks’ engaging blend of the cutting edge hypothetical and blistering reality collide in The Bridge . The Bridge is like none other: A multi layered society of incredible cities, terrible war zones, humor, horror and lust. Now that John Orr victim of a terrible car accident has reached it, the question remains of what lies on the other side.’Banks is a phenomenon. Wildly successful, fearlessly creative…
with gnarly energy and elegance!’ William Gibson, author of Neuromancer’Banks never does the same thing twice. But he always does it sublimely.’ Los Angeles Times
Daniel Weir used to be a famous not to say infamous rock star. Maybe still is. At thirty one he has been both a brilliant failure and a dull success. He’s made a lot of mistakes that have paid off and a lot of smart moves he’ll regret forever however long that turns out to be. Daniel Weir has gone from rags to riches and back, and managed to hold onto them both, though not much else. His friends all seem to be dead, fed up with him or just disgusted and who can blame them? And now Daniel Weir is all alone. As he contemplates his life, Daniel realises he only has two problems: the past and the future. He knows how bad the past has been. But the future well, the future is something else.
From its bravura opening onwards, The Crow Road is justly regarded as an outstanding contemporary novel. ‘It was the day my grandmother exploded. I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach’s Mass in B Minor, and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallanach.’ Prentice McHoan has returned to the bosom of his complex but enduring Scottish family. Full of questions about the McHoan past, present and future, he is also deeply preoccupied: mainly with death, sex, drink, God and illegal substances.
Complicity n. 1. the fact of being an accomplice, esp. in a criminal act A few spliffs, a spot of mild S&M, phone through the copy for tomorrow’s front page, catch up with the latest from your mystery source could be big, could be very big in fact, just a regular day at the office for free wheeling, substance abusing Cameron Colley, a fully paid up Gonzo hack on an Edinburgh newspaper. The source is pretty thin, but Cameron senses a scoop and checks out a series of bizarre deaths from a few years ago only to find that the police are checking out a series of bizarre deaths that are happening right now. And Cameron just might know more about it than he’d care to admit…
Involvement; connection; liability Complicity is a stunting exploration of the morality of greed, corruption and violence, venturing fearlessly into the darker recesses of human purpose.
Sharrow was once the leader of a personality attuned combat team in one of the sporadic little commercial wars in the civilisation based around the planet Golter. Now she is hunted by the Huhsz, a religious cult which believes that she is the last obstacle before the faith’s apotheosis, and her only hope of escape is to find the last of the apocalyptically powerful Lazy Guns before the Huhsz find her. Her journey through the exotic Golterian system is a destructive and savage odyssey into her past, and that of her family and of the system itself.
Count Alandre Sessine VII has already died seven times. He has only one life left one last chance to catch his killer. His only clues point to a conspiracy beyond his own murder. For a catastrophe is fast approaching the earth from which there is no escape until a loophole through apocalypse is discovered. And a chosen few will do anything to keep it a secret. Someone has betrayed Sessine, killed him before he could uncover the truth. Now he has three days before his funeral to live the way men used to live: restricted to one life where one mistake could be his last. Suddenly he finds himself an outlaw, a fugitive, a desperado. And his only hope of survival is finding others like himself. Others who hold a piece of the puzzle to an enigmatic weapon of salvation and chaos…
A little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing. Innocent in the ways of the world, an ingenue when it comes to pop and fashion, the Elect of God of a small but committed Stirlingshire religious cult: Isis Whit is no ordinary teenager. When her cousin Morag Guest of Honour at the Luskentyrian’s four yearly Festival of Love disappears after renouncing her faith, Isis is marked out to venture among the Unsaved and bring the apostate back into the fold. But the road to Babylondon as Sister Angela puts it is a treacherous one, particularly when Isis discovers that Morag appears to have embraced the ways of the Unsaved with spectacular abandon. Truth and falsehood; kinship and betrayal; ‘herbal’ cigarettes and compact discs Whit is an exploration of the techno ridden barrenness of modern Britain from a unique perspective.
A European nation not unlike Bosnia: Armed forces roam the lawless land where dark columns of smoke rise up from the surrounding farms and houses. The war is ending, perhaps ended. But for the castle and its occupants, a young lord and lady, the trouble is just beginning. Fearing an invasion of soldiers, the amorous couple take to the roads with the other refugees, disguised in rags. But the sad*istic female lieutenant of an outlaw band of guerrillas has other ideas. Just hours into their escape, the fleeing aristocrats are delivered back to the castle, where, now prisoners in their own home, they become pawns in the lieutenant’s dangerous game of desire, deceit, and death. The physical, sexual, and political tensions that ensue catapult the narrative from war story to universal morality tale. Already a number one bestseller in England, A Song of Stone demonstrates Iain Banks’s unique ability to combine gripping narrative with a soaring, voyaging imagination. As he did in his widely acclaimed novel The Wasp Factory, Banks once again addresses the timeless questions of truth, betrayal, duty, and loyalty, weaving them around a complex plot and into a seamless, spellbinding whole. Banks has been hailed by The Times of London as the most imaginative British novelist of his generation; this noir fable confirms his reputation as the master of things dark and debauched. Singular, haunting, and viciously wry, A Song of Stone is a tour de force of contemporary fiction.
Who Do You Work For? The Business, a nearly omnipotent enterprise, is so infinitely discreet that even its top executives are vague about its actual business. It predates the Christian church and counts among its vast riches dozens of Michelangelo’s po*rnographic paintings and several sets of Crown jewels. The only thing it lacks is political clout, a problem The Business plans to solve by buying a nation and joining the United Nations. Kate Telman, The Business‘s foremost expert on emerging technologies, is chosen to lead the effort. As this beautiful, ambitious American woman pursues the ultimate prize for her highly secretive transglobal employer, Iain Banks whom The Times of London calls ‘the most imaginative British novelist of his generation’ offers a portrait of today’s ubiquitous multinational corporations. Already a bestseller in England, The Business paints a picture that is at once wickedly satirical and frighteningly familiar.
Iain Banks’ daring new novel opens in a loft apartment in the East End, in a former factory due to be knocked down in a few days. Ken Nott is a devoutly contrarian vaguely left wing radio shock jock living in London. After a wedding breakfast people start dropping fruits from a balcony on to a deserted carpark ten storeys below, then they start dropping other things; an old TV that doesn’t work, a blown loudspeaker, beanbags, other unwanted furniture…
Then they get carried away and start dropping things that are still working, while wrecking the rest of the apartment. But mobile phones start ringing and they’re told to turn on a TV, because a plane has just crashed into the World Trade Centre. At ease with the volatility of modernity, Iain Banks is also our most accomplished literary writer of narrative driven adventure stories that never ignore the injustices and moral conundrums of the real world. His new novel, displays his trademark dark wit, buoyancy and momentum.
It is 4034 AD. Humanity has made it to the stars. Fassin Taak, a Slow Seer at the Court of the Nasqueron Dwellers, will be fortunate if he makes it to the end of the year. The Nasqueron Dwellers inhabit a gas giant on the outskirts of the galaxy, in a system awaiting its wormhole connection to the rest of civilisation. In the meantime, they are dismissed as decadents living in a state of highly developed barbarism, ho*arding data without order, hunting their own young and fighting pointless formal wars. Seconded to a military religious order he’s barely heard of part of the baroque hierarchy of the Mercatoria, the latest galactic hegemony Fassin Taak has to travel again amongst the Dwellers. He is in search of a secret hidden for half a billion years. But with each day that pas*ses a war draws closer a war that threatens to overwhelm everything and everyone he’s ever known. As complex, turbulent, flamboyant and spectacular as the gas giant on which it is set, the new science fiction novel from Iain M. Banks is space opera on a truly epic scale.
Dark family secrets, a long lost love affair and a multi million pound gaming business lie at the heart of Iain Banks’ fabulous new novel. The Wopuld family built its fortune on a board game called Empire! ? now a hugely successful computer game. So successful, the American Spraint Corp wants to buy the firm out. Young renegade Alban, who has been evading the family clutches for years, is run to ground and persuaded to attend the forthcoming family gathering part birthday party, part Extraordinary General Meeting convened by Win, Wopuld matriarch and most powerful member of the board, at Garbadale, the family’s highland castle. Being drawn back into the bosom of the clan brings an inevitable and disconcerting confrontation with Alban’s past. What drove his mother to take her own life? And is he yet ready to see Sophie, his beautiful, enchanting cousin and teenage love, at the EGM? Grandmother Win’s revelations will radically alter Alban’s perspective for ever.
There is a world that hangs suspended between triumph and catastrophe, between the dismantling of the Wall and the fall of the Twin Towers, frozen in the shadow of suicide terrorism and global financial collapse. Such a world requires a firm hand and a guiding light. But does it need the Concern: an all powerful organization with a malevolent presiding genius, pervasive influence and numberless invisible operatives in possession of extraordinary powers?Among those operatives are Temudjin Oh, of mysterious Mongolian origins, an un killable assassin who journeys between the peaks of Nepal, a version of Victorian London and the dark palaces of Venice under snow; Adrian Cubbish, a restlessly greedy City trader; and a nameless, faceless state sponsored torturer known only as the Philosopher, who moves between time zones with sinister ease. Then there are those who question the Concern: the bandit queen Mrs. Mulverhill, roaming the worlds recruiting rebels to her side; and Patient 8262, under sedation and feigning madness in a forgotten hospital ward, in hiding from a dirty past. There is a world that needs help; but whether it needs the Concern is a different matter.
‘Space opera’, once a derisive term for cheap pulp adventure, has come to mean something more in modern SF: compelling adventure stories told against a broad canvas, and written to the highest level of skill. Indeed, it can be argued that the ‘new space opera’ is one of the defining streams of modern SF. Now, World Fantasy Award winning anthologists David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer have compiled a definitive overview of this subgenre, both as it was in the days of the pulp magazines, and as it has become in 2005. Included are major works from genre progenitors like Jack Williamson and Leigh Brackett, stylish midcentury voices like Cordwainer Smith and Samuel R. Delany, popular favorites like David Drake, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Ursula K. Le Guin, and modern day pioneers such as Iain M. Banks, Steven Baxter, Scott Westerfeld, and Charles Stross.