Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A war in hell, for the fate of hell?
What? Is this a Culture novel, one of huge Space Operatic dimensions, Ship Mega-Minds, nearly ascendant alien cultures and encroaching afterlifes?
Wait. Afterlife? Sure! Virtual hells made for elephantine aliens with enormous virtual wars to take up their attention so it doesn't have to spill over into the real.
It's civilized, don't you know?
Of course, you can't say that for the people being TORTURED FOR ETERNITY within them. *sigh*
This one happens to be my absolute favorite of all the Culture Novels. I haven't read the 10th yet, but it's going to have to work double-time to beat this one.
I love all the characters, from the Eccentric Drones to the debt-enslaved victim of hell and her lover of oh so tragic fate. (Learning how to become a demon to escape the victim's-fate is pretty tragic, after all.)
And through this, the Culture sits and watches and makes noises that they'll never get involved in other species's conflicts unless ordered by Culture, proper, and yet they always seem to find ways to stick their noses in and make epic struggles and full-blown wars out of molehills.
Got to love it. :)
War For Hell! And as always, the ironic humor of the ships, their names, and the situations is all sheer delight. :) I mean, after all, the setting is, in fact, in an Elephant's Graveyard. :)
Lol. Great stuff!
View all my reviews