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Old 06-05-2009, 02:13 PM   #1
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Iain M. Banks vs. Alastair Reynolds

How does Alastair Reynolds' stuff compare to Iain M. Banks' Culture novels, in terms of intrigue and readability?

- Ahi

Last edited by ahi; 06-05-2009 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 06-05-2009, 06:45 PM   #2
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Can I just ask - why would you request such a comparison?
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Old 06-05-2009, 07:46 PM   #3
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Can I just ask - why would you request such a comparison?
Literature-Map made me do it!!!
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Old 06-06-2009, 08:22 AM   #4
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I read several books from Banks and almost all from Reynolds.
My views:
Banks is more action oriented, while Reynolds is more realistic.
Readibility: Reynolds has a simpler, more accessible style.

I prefer Reynolds over Banks, it is more accessible, more realistic and has a larger scope in general. Banks is too much like a Hollywood action flick for me.
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Old 06-06-2009, 08:49 AM   #5
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I read several books from Banks and almost all from Reynolds.
My views:
Banks is more action oriented, while Reynolds is more realistic.
Readibility: Reynolds has a simpler, more accessible style.

I prefer Reynolds over Banks, it is more accessible, more realistic and has a larger scope in general. Banks is too much like a Hollywood action flick for me.
Can I ask what you mean by Reynolds having a larger scope? (I've read literally nothing of his to date.)

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Old 06-06-2009, 10:53 AM   #6
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In the Revelation Space series and also in the standalone House of Suns the story takes up several decades / centuries and the fate of the whole Galaxy is in question.

I do not like to write spoilers, so its best if you read this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alastair_Reynolds

There are links to more information.

Alternatively check out the reviews on Amazon.
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Old 06-18-2009, 11:02 PM   #7
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Unfortunately I'm 100% biased in favor of Reynolds as I've read several of his books, but none of by Banks yet. I keep meaning to get to Banks and it just hasn't happened yet.

I finished "House of Suns" a couple days ago and really enjoyed it. When people talk about Reynolds generally having a larger scope or scale to his books I'd say "House of Suns" is a great example. Without going into any real details at all (spoilers are EVIL) I can easily say the book deals with something on the scale of 6 million years of human advancement out into the galaxy, not counting what happened before that time and not counting what may or may not happen in neighboring galaxies. The key to it all is that as ridiculously huge as all that sounds, Reynolds presents it in a very plausible and accessible manner.

I can't say which I'd like better, but you certainly can't go wrong with Reynolds.
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Old 06-19-2009, 12:19 PM   #8
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I finished "House of Suns" a couple days ago and really enjoyed it. [...] I can easily say the book deals with something on the scale of 6 million years of human advancement out into the galaxy, not counting what happened before that time and not counting what may or may not happen in neighboring galaxies. The key to it all is that as ridiculously huge as all that sounds, Reynolds presents it in a very plausible and accessible manner.
The scope of this sounds similar to that of Asimov's Foundation series. Is that a fair comparison?

I haven't read anything by Reynolds yet and I'm intrigued, so I added House of Suns to my TBR list. Thanks for the suggestion!
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Old 06-19-2009, 12:56 PM   #9
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The scope of this sounds similar to that of Asimov's Foundation series. Is that a fair comparison?

I haven't read anything by Reynolds yet and I'm intrigued, so I added House of Suns to my TBR list. Thanks for the suggestion!
I think Reynolds does characters better than Asimov, but hey that's just me.

EDIT: I'm not saying Reynolds is necessarily better overall than Asimov, just that I like his characters better. Felt I should clarify before getting obliterated.
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Old 06-19-2009, 01:20 PM   #10
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I think Reynolds does characters better than Asimov, but hey that's just me.

EDIT: I'm not saying Reynolds is necessarily better overall than Asimov, just that I like his characters better. Felt I should clarify before getting obliterated.
It's all about personal preference. I was just curious if the series/book were comparable in scope, because I loved that about Foundation.
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Old 06-19-2009, 01:30 PM   #11
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It's all about personal preference. I was just curious if the series/book were comparable in scope, because I loved that about Foundation.
If that sort of scope appeals to you then you should love anything by Reynolds. I'd say go for the "House of Suns" as that's his newest work and was a great single novel. If you like that then go back and read his trilogy - Revelation Space, Chasm City and Redemption Ark. The first book by him I read was "Pushing Ice" which is good, but not as good as the others I listed IMO.
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Old 06-20-2009, 11:17 AM   #12
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The Revelation Space universe is not just a trilogy but the base of 6 novels and many short stories. Unfortunately the last book is not so good, but it is still a great series. 2 of the novels only losely relate to the main plot, these 2 are : Chasm City and The Prefect.

It compares well to Asimov in scope, yes.

I also agree that House of Suns is a good place to start, but Revelation Space (the first book) is also enjoyable stand-alone.
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Old 06-20-2009, 12:08 PM   #13
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What he said. I still think of it as a trilogy with other books set within the same time/universe. You're definitely right that the 3rd book is weak - no argument from me there.

Because of this very conversation I've just started Iain M. Banks' Culture books, beginning with "Consider Phlebas". Once again - I love this site and end up reading so many great books thanks to the people here.
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Old 06-20-2009, 01:02 PM   #14
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I think Reynolds does characters better than Asimov, but hey that's just me.

EDIT: I'm not saying Reynolds is necessarily better overall than Asimov, just that I like his characters better. Felt I should clarify before getting obliterated.
EVERYBODY does characters better than Asimov. I would say that Asimov's characters were "two dimensional" if that wasn't an insult to two-dimensional objects . I love Asimov as an author, but "character" writing was not his strength.
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:19 AM   #15
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I love the books of Raynolds. Are there other authors with the same stlye you can suggest?
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