I’ll read anything which Iain Banks writes, but, frankly, his recent novel Transition was rather weak. I think he was a bit low on the idea bank for this one. This is one of the novels where he sets up surprises, but unfortunately they were not surprising. The ideas which were meant to be challenging and surprising just seemed wrong. The changes to the main character were poorly motivated. The explicit sex, which worked in his novel Complicity because it expanded the characterization, here seemed irrelevant and tossed in just to avoid a talking heads problem.

In a lesser writer, I would think that the ending was setting up a sequel. I sincerely hope that is not the plan here.

Separately, I’ve been reading NESFA’s nice series of collected Zelazny stories. Zelazny has always been one of my favorite SF authors, and it’s refreshing to be reminded of just how good he was. His novels were generally good, of course (avoid the second five Amber novels), but it was in his short stories that he really shone.

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