The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Jacket Blurb: They are, truly, provably, End Days for the Gzilt civilization. An ancient people, they helped set up the Culture ten thousand years
earlier & were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding
not to join only at the last moment. Now they've made the collective
decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other
civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new
& almost infinitely more rich & complex existence.
preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed.
Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been
involved, & she is now wanted--dead, not alive. Aided only by an
ancient, reconditioned android & a suspicious Culture avatar,
Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High
Command--find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over 9000 years
old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago.
Cossont must discover the truth before she's exiled from her people
& her civilization forever--or just plain killed.
June's Bookgoup book, selected after the announcement that Mr. Banks had terminal brain cancer. Finished in the month he passed.
This Culture book had me at page one and I had a very hard time putting it down. The story spans an incredible history of the Culture - predates the Culture even - while focusing on a civilization that is moving into the future via the Sublime - an act of moving one's consciousness into a collective wholeness that part of an even greater wholeness, but doesn't reside in this plane of existence.
The plot has planetary and galactic intrigue, a missing person's hunt, ships running hither and tither, and more eccentric humanoids and Minds than one can throw an asteroid at. It it wonderfully woven, the humor is both subtle and in your face, and the sarcasm witty.
The book is aptly named, tho to describe why would take far more time than I care to type and probably more than you want to read as a review.
Best to say to say, go read it! By far my favorite Culture book.
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