Throwback Thursday – The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks
Throwback Thursday / August 1, 2019

Throwback Thursday is a weekly feature to highlight books from the past. It can honestly be anything as long as its not a book that is a current release. Maybe its a book that I read and reviewed and just want to highlight, maybe its a book I read before I started reviewing or maybe its a book that has a sequel coming out soon or maybe its a backlist book from my TBR that I just want to revisit and decide if I will make the time to read. Pretty much, anything goes.  This week’s choice is The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks. This book is one that I read as as a Backlist Burndown book, and I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I keep meaning to read more by Banks, and one of these days I will make the time. I found the concept of social standing being directly related to skill and success of playing games intriguing (and kind of fun). They also punish people for crimes by shunning them socially, supposedly this is motive enough to keep people in line (I have my doubts that it could actually work in real life). But regardless, I enjoyed the way this book made me think,…

Backlist Burndown Review: The Player of Games by Iain Banks
4 Stars , Reviews / May 29, 2015

First, I want to address the fact that this is marked #2 in a series. It is the second Culture book, but I was assured that not only could I start with this one, but that it was also an excellent introduction the The Culture novels. This is the first and only book I’ve read in the series, and from what I can tell, I can agree with that. Gurgeh is the ultimate player of games on his planet. He lives in The Culture, in which humans and technology have come together to offer what sounds like a type of utopian society. People generally don’t have to work, as technology handles everything for them. There seems to be no crime, and when there is it is punishable by having a companion droid tag along with you forever as punishment. Now I did wonder, after you get one of these, what prevents you from committing more crimes? Evidently it makes you a social pariah, which in this society is viewed as worse than death. What then? What do they have to lose? This was one minor nitpick I couldn’t help but think about. Perhaps that was addressed in the book somehow…