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[The Culture] Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism

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  • PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    htm wrote: »
    Polaritie wrote: »
    Korror wrote: »
    htm wrote: »
    I don't see a way you could ever make an semi-accurate copy of Azad because the game complexity massively overwhelms the ability to PLAY the game. It sounds like basically a large-scale tabletop miniatures game with semi-organic pieces that can have multiple roles (some randomized, some predetermined but hidden), plus are influenced by terrain heights and elemental factors. The pieces have varying interactions in singles and groups and in opposing the enemy, AND there's an element of resource cards involved. Basically, the number of any available moves in a given situation is effectively infinite.

    Maybe I'm mis-remembering, but didn't Gurgeh basically have to cuddle with the pieces to win their love in order to learn the game?

    Nope, if I'm recalling correctly, that was part of the training that Gurgeh had on the trip over where it was one of the ship's suggestions that he follow the practice of some of the other Azad players in holding the pieces while sleeping in order to better understand them.

    One of the things I liked about Player of Games is that for all Gurgeh's advantages, he actually sucks at Azad at first. He's a game playing prodigy with access to a mind's computational resources between sessions, he utter destroys the other players in the non-azad side games that he's never played before but he starts out losing badly in the actual main event when he's pitted against actual strong players. It's only later in the book where he somewhat unrealistically becomes a master of Azad but that's more to show the superiority of the Culture's philosophy over the degenerate Empire of Azad.

    He's doing badly at first iirc because:
    A) It's fucking rigged, because it's a multiplayer game and people come in with the intent to gang up on undesirables
    B) I think he was also sandbagging a little

    He also doesnt really understand Azad as a game reflecting a worldview and just plays it as a complicated board game until later when he grows to really loathe Azad.
    his azad play doesnt represent The Culture's niceness and humanitarian beliefs, but its implacability and brutality in the face of a percieved moral abomination, which is what SC wanted as part of their plot to scare the Emperor into collapsing his own government

    I recall...
    ...that his ultimate play style evolved into expressing the Culture's communitarian worldview through Azad. At some point, his drone handler who's name I forget forces him to speak solely in Marain for a while in order to shift the paradigm of his play from emulating the natives to reflecting the values of the Culture.

    I'm not sure (at that point in his career) that Banks meant for Gurgeh's final play style to represent the "implacability and brutality" of the Culture so much so as to express that Space Communism is better than monarchical totalitarianism. I might be mis-remembering again, but during the final Azad match between Gurgeh and the emperor, Gurgeh wanted the game to last forever rather than winning it outright because he thought it had developed into something beautiful.
    That's what I recall of his playstyle too - having all his pieces deployed with a focus on how they supported each other. And yeah, he was very pissed when he found out the stuff SC had pulled at the end because he was genuinely enjoying playing the emperor there.

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  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. normal (not weird)Registered User regular
    his play after he's shown what life is like in Azad is described as vicious

    Idk I think trying to make an actual game out of Azad is kind of silly.

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  • PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    edited May 17
    his play after he's shown what life is like in Azad is described as vicious

    Idk I think trying to make an actual game out of Azad is kind of silly.
    Oh, there's that too. He has respect for the game as a game on one hand, and disgust for how it's played in practice. I think the former has something of a lead going into the finals on the fire flower planet, because he finds beauty in gameplay and strategy.

    Edit: Also, the other advantage he went in with was experience in multiplayer politics to make up the gap in the initial rounds

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  • Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against the Irish) Registered User regular
    his play after he's shown what life is like in Azad is described as vicious

    Idk I think trying to make an actual game out of Azad is kind of silly.

    Conceptionally, it's cool, but it'd be an effort that would require a level of abstraction to the point it's a completely different game. An 'accurate' representation when you don't have days to play and your station in life isn't on the line isn't going to have much draw.

  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    his play after he's shown what life is like in Azad is described as vicious

    Idk I think trying to make an actual game out of Azad is kind of silly.

    iirc, that scene specifically
    when the drone shows him the torture channel, the drone is motivating him to not let his conscience get the better of him over the fact that by beating these people he could be ruining their lives.

    So in a sense, yes, he's being goaded into drawing on the obstinance of the Culture in the face of an moral affront, but I would say what makes him win overall is drawing on all aspects of what give the Culture an edge over the Empire in the end.

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  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    Also I just want to play an Azad-themed game, alright!

    Maybe make it into a video game if it makes some of the concepts more feasible.

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  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    I mean, the game is posited like the apocryphal story that kings used to play chess instead of fight wars as a less wastely way to decide conflicts, blown up to a ridiculous scale, right? The players who have time to really learn and excel at the game have that time because the society is using the game as an analog for the slightly more complex sociopolitical sphere that runs the civilization its all based on.

    Ending of the book/Gurgeh's playstyle stuff
    I understood it to be that he was basically forced to watch the torture porn stuff, to A) motivate him because he wasn't doing well, and also resulted in the viscous playstyle, as well as B) show him that SC was ultimately right in wanting to disrupt the ruling status quo, which led to the later morph into the more harmonic playstyle that better emulates Culture beliefs.

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  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    edited May 17
    But yeah, the bit at the end when
    Gurgeh regards the Emperor fondly because he feels what they just did was some sort of beautiful dance, and the Emperor just absolutely loathes him back with every fiber of his being, is so great

    Winky on
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  • BrodyBrody The Watch The First ShoreRegistered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    Also I just want to play an Azad-themed game, alright!

    Maybe make it into a video game if it makes some of the concepts more feasible.

    I feel this way with Cones of Dunshire. I know I'd never actually get it onto a table, but I still want it.

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  • MonwynMonwyn Apathy's a tragedy, and boredom is a crime. A little bit of everything, all of the time.Registered User regular
    Brody wrote: »
    I mean, the game is posited like the apocryphal story that kings used to play chess instead of fight wars as a less wastely way to decide conflicts, blown up to a ridiculous scale, right? The players who have time to really learn and excel at the game have that time because the society is using the game as an analog for the slightly more complex sociopolitical sphere that runs the civilization its all based on.

    Ending of the book/Gurgeh's playstyle stuff
    I understood it to be that he was basically forced to watch the torture porn stuff, to A) motivate him because he wasn't doing well, and also resulted in the viscous playstyle, as well as B) show him that SC was ultimately right in wanting to disrupt the ruling status quo, which led to the later morph into the more harmonic playstyle that better emulates Culture beliefs.
    My assumption on the "this is what the Empire is actually like" stuff was also to get him to stop respecting the other people playing so much, and consequentially to stop respecting their play. He was being too cautious; as soon as he found the culture contemptible, he could treat his opponents' moves with disdain as well, which he should have.

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  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    edited May 18
    Monwyn wrote: »
    Brody wrote: »
    I mean, the game is posited like the apocryphal story that kings used to play chess instead of fight wars as a less wastely way to decide conflicts, blown up to a ridiculous scale, right? The players who have time to really learn and excel at the game have that time because the society is using the game as an analog for the slightly more complex sociopolitical sphere that runs the civilization its all based on.

    Ending of the book/Gurgeh's playstyle stuff
    I understood it to be that he was basically forced to watch the torture porn stuff, to A) motivate him because he wasn't doing well, and also resulted in the viscous playstyle, as well as B) show him that SC was ultimately right in wanting to disrupt the ruling status quo, which led to the later morph into the more harmonic playstyle that better emulates Culture beliefs.
    My assumption on the "this is what the Empire is actually like" stuff was also to get him to stop respecting the other people playing so much, and consequentially to stop respecting their play. He was being too cautious; as soon as he found the culture contemptible, he could treat his opponents' moves with disdain as well, which he should have.
    I actually cracked the book back open, the drone showed Gurgeh all the nasty stuff before he had to finish his game with the venerable apex judge who was playing against Gurgeh with a wager of castration. So it was very much so that Gurgeh would feel enough contempt for the opponent and the system they supported that he would be willing to go all the way and play hard enough to finish them off even knowing what it meant for his opponent.

    Actually this sums it up pretty well:
    The male looked round at him, as though seeing him for the first time. Bermoiya felt himself stop. He gazed into the alien eyes.

    And saw nothing. No pity, no compassion, no spirit of kindness or sorrow. He looked into those eyes, and at first he thought of the look criminals had sometimes, when they'd been sentenced to a quick death. It was a look of indifference; not despair, not hatred, but something flatter and more terrifying than either; a look of resignation, of all-hope-gone; a flag hoisted by a soul that no longer cared.

    Yet although, in that instant of recognition, the doomed convict was the first image Bermoiya clutched at, he knew immediately it was not the fit one. He did not know what the fit one was. Perhaps it was unknowable.

    Then he knew. And suddenly, for the first time in his life, he understood what it was for the condemned to look into his eyes.

    Winky on
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  • Atlas in ChainsAtlas in Chains Registered User regular
    I can't imagine wanting to play an Azad game. The details of play are super thin, so the only way to maintain immersion would to make it a horribly repressive. I don't want to cosplay as an asshole on game night, that's just going to happen naturally when I take things too seriously. I'd rather focus on the other game with the beads from the beginning of the book. That sounds more interesting, fleshed out, and a neat feature is that you can play a "perfect" game. That's an appealing feature, to always have something extra to strive towards. It's the only part of the book i don't really get or care for, though.
    I don't understand why the drone needed to compromise Gurgeh. Talking him into cheating felt like it should have led to something during the climax. Instead it seemed to resolve a soon as his arm was done being twisted.

  • LucedesLucedes keeps happening for some reason Registered User regular
    the greatest part of Player of Games was that low-key
    the Culture sent some of their best game-players in each sentience category (human, drone, Mind).

  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. normal (not weird)Registered User regular
    For anyone who's listened to the audiobook for Player of Games
    "Maybe, but if they fuck with the Culture they're going to find out what mean really is" delivered in the squeeky drone voice is so good

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  • Ninja Snarl PNinja Snarl P My helmet is my burden. Ninja Snarl: Gone, but not forgotten.Registered User regular
    Korror wrote: »
    One of the things I liked about Player of Games is that for all Gurgeh's advantages, he actually sucks at Azad at first. He's a game playing prodigy with access to a mind's computational resources between sessions, he utter destroys the other players in the non-azad side games that he's never played before but he starts out losing badly in the actual main event when he's pitted against actual strong players. It's only later in the book where he somewhat unrealistically becomes a master of Azad but that's more to show the superiority of the Culture's philosophy over the degenerate Empire of Azad.

    See, I think it's completely realistic that he starts out rough but soon figures out how to just lay waste to the other Azad players. First he has to figure out how things are done, and then he can employ his enormous library of experience on a huge variety of strategy games, all of which he plays at a top level in the Culture against top-level Culture geniuses. For the other Azad players, they only ever play each other, the government is rigged such that only the wealthy get training in how to play well, and those taught to play well don't actually play each other that much; the resulting skill ceiling for most would be pretty low, even among the elites. Oh, and Azad is also basically the only game in the empire, so the depth of strategic thinking available empire-wide is pretty thin.

    So even when they stack the deck against him, they stack the deck in ways only they would think of. Then he can figure a way out because he's got immensely more experience, coming up with solutions they never would've thought of. Then after they stick him with impossible situations, the actual games are something of a disappointment to him because a fair game of Azad is, for him, pretty easy at that point.

  • daveNYCdaveNYC Why universe hate Waspinator? Registered User regular
    The thing with Azad is that it isn't just a game, it's the empire. They share the same name and I believe early on in the novel Banks makes it clear that Azad is so complex that it allows the players to express their governing philosophy and demonstrate their ability to implement that policy. As goes Azad, so goes the Empire. That's why Gurgeh's playstyle is so important in the novel.
    Once he's shown the torture porn and goes ham on the judge, he starts playing Azad as an Azadian. Forcefully, brutally. Driving his enemies before him and hearing the lamentations of their women and all that. He wins those games because he's just that good a game player. When he gets to the Emperor though, he is losing because the Emperor is just that good at the game and because Gurgeh can't out-Azad (as in the current brutal governing philosophy of the empire) the Emperor. More importantly I think, Special Circumstances' shenanigans won't work if Gurgeh beats the Emperor while playing as an Azadian. They need him to win, obviously, but more importantly, they need him to win while playing as The Culture. Basically proxy war via board game. That's why the drone starts forcing conversations to take place in Marian, in order to get Gurgeh back into The Culture mindset so that he can express The Culture's superior... culture... in the game.

    And that's why the Emperor is upset at the end of the game. Gurgeh still thinks of Azad as a game. A wonderfully complex and engaging game that determines your place in life and the running of an entire interstellar empire, but still just a game. The Emperor though, he knows that it's not just a game. It is the empire and the empire, in all it's brutality had just gotten it's ass whupped by fully automated luxury gay space communism. It's not just that he lost, or that Flere-Imsaho made a 'side bet', so to speak, on the outcome of the game. It's that his governing philosophy, and by extension that of the entire empire had been found wanting.

    Shut up, Mr. Burton! You were not brought upon this world to get it!
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  • That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    I finished book 3, Use of Weapons yesterday. It was pretty good but as someone who puts down and picks up books it was a bit difficult to follow with the chapters jumbled as they were. Overall a good book. The depiction of war was probably the most British thing I have ever read but I really liked it. It was fascinatingly anachronistic. Most of the depictions of battles could have been from WW2 of not for the occasional hovertank, plasma rifle or spaceship.

    For all the talk of the Use of Weapons, there's surprisingly little use of them in the book. Especially not the big heavy weapons of The Culture. Zakalwe lugs around this massive plasma rifle for half the book and gets to use it twice before it's rendered useless. The biggest boom in the whole book was just a low yield nuke going off. I'd have liked it if they explored more of the sheer overwhelming use of force The Culture is capable of bringing to bare.

    So, Audible doesn't have the next 4 books. However, they do have Matter, Surface Detail and, The Hydrogen Sonata. Should bother picking up a print digital copy of Books 4-7 or can I just skip to Book 8?

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  • autono-wally, erotibot300autono-wally, erotibot300 love machine Registered User regular
    The Weapons
    are the people

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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Not certain what they're counting but that seems to include Excession and Look to Windward which are both stellar books.

    To be a bit vague, they both directly talk about the Culture and their ability and use of force.

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  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. normal (not weird)Registered User regular
    Keep reading, you'll get The Culture bringing overhelming and ludicrous force.

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  • daveNYCdaveNYC Why universe hate Waspinator? Registered User regular
    The Weapons
    are the people
    And furniture.

    Shut up, Mr. Burton! You were not brought upon this world to get it!
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  • That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    edited June 2
    daveNYC wrote: »
    The Weapons
    are the people
    And furniture.

    Man, I did not see that twist coming.

    Edit: The real weapons were the friends we made along the way.

    That_Guy on
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  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited June 2
    There isn't any full-force-culture-decimating in Hydrogen Sonata, but just how effectively the ship in that book toys with and outmaneuvers the Gzilt, who are by all accounts at the same level of technology, was really fun to read

    not as great as Falling Outside The Normal Moral Constraints in Surface Detail though, who probably demonstrates why the Culture is so fucking scary better than any other single ship in the books

    Edit:

    By the way, who else really wants the "Sport" in that book to be real? Not actually putting people's lives in danger, but a "Battle Bots" equivalent of building tiny (like 9 foot long) warships and battling them by putting them in lakes with lots of terrain to hide behind, giving them small grenade launchers with the appropriate pyrotechnics to make firing the cannons look impressive, and engaging in naval warfare at each other, I would watch the shit out of that

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  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. normal (not weird)Registered User regular
    There isn't any full-force-culture-decimating in Hydrogen Sonata, but just how effectively the ship in that book toys with and outmaneuvers the Gzilt, who are by all accounts at the same level of technology, was really fun to read

    not as great as Falling Outside The Normal Moral Constraints in Surface Detail though, who probably demonstrates why the Culture is so fucking scary better than any other single ship in the books

    Edit:

    By the way, who else really wants the "Sport" in that book to be real? Not actually putting people's lives in danger, but a "Battle Bots" equivalent of building tiny (like 9 foot long) warships and battling them by putting them in lakes with lots of terrain to hide behind, giving them small grenade launchers with the appropriate pyrotechnics to make firing the cannons look impressive, and engaging in naval warfare at each other, I would watch the shit out of that

    There was an amusement park nearish where I grew up that had a thing where youd man two person enclosed boats and shoot softballs at targets on other boats.

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  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    By the way, who else really wants the "Sport" in that book to be real? Not actually putting people's lives in danger, but a "Battle Bots" equivalent of building tiny (like 9 foot long) warships and battling them by putting them in lakes with lots of terrain to hide behind, giving them small grenade launchers with the appropriate pyrotechnics to make firing the cannons look impressive, and engaging in naval warfare at each other, I would watch the shit out of that

    It definitely sounds like a thing that could be done. Probably do it with largely off the shelf components too.
    Remote control boats are a thing, and you can just look at what the battlebots does in the most recent seasons, it'd be easy enough to rig up remote firing rigs for grenades or other ammunition.
    The problem I see isn't doing it, but doing it safely, once you bring live ammunition into it. I suppose it'd be easy enough to rig up a virtual remote control board for a ship and have the battles either safely enclosed in a bullet proof glass box like Battlebots, or distant enough to minimize the risk of collateral damage.

  • hlprmnkyhlprmnky Registered User regular
    You mean something like this, but with more explody explosions?

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  • ZibblsnrtZibblsnrt Registered User regular
    Not certain what they're counting but that seems to include Excession and Look to Windward which are both stellar books.

    To be a bit vague, they both directly talk about the Culture and their ability and use of force.

    Player of Games was the book that made me think, "okay, I want to read all the Culture books."

    Look to Windward was the book that made me think, "okay, I need to read all the Culture books."

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  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    That_Guy wrote: »
    I finished book 3, Use of Weapons yesterday. It was pretty good but as someone who puts down and picks up books it was a bit difficult to follow with the chapters jumbled as they were. Overall a good book. The depiction of war was probably the most British thing I have ever read but I really liked it. It was fascinatingly anachronistic. Most of the depictions of battles could have been from WW2 of not for the occasional hovertank, plasma rifle or spaceship.

    For all the talk of the Use of Weapons, there's surprisingly little use of them in the book. Especially not the big heavy weapons of The Culture. Zakalwe lugs around this massive plasma rifle for half the book and gets to use it twice before it's rendered useless. The biggest boom in the whole book was just a low yield nuke going off. I'd have liked it if they explored more of the sheer overwhelming use of force The Culture is capable of bringing to bare.

    So, Audible doesn't have the next 4 books. However, they do have Matter, Surface Detail and, The Hydrogen Sonata. Should bother picking up a print digital copy of Books 4-7 or can I just skip to Book 8?

    It's extremely worth it to read Excession and Look to Windward, which are two of the best books in the series imo. Inversions is also really good but it's a very different kind of book as the whole thing takes place in a medieval setting with very little explicit scifi going on. That said, you are at the point in the series where you can comfortably read them in any order, though I might still hold off on Hydrogen Sonata until you've read a bit more about sublimation.

    Iirc the only books in which you get to see a Culture ship go all-out are in Excession and Surface Detail.

    tynic
  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    Oh and State of the Art is fun and has some really good bits but is almost entirely skippable (and you may find that its addition to the canon stretches credulity while making some pretty on-the-nose points).

  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited June 3
    Winky wrote: »
    That_Guy wrote: »
    I finished book 3, Use of Weapons yesterday. It was pretty good but as someone who puts down and picks up books it was a bit difficult to follow with the chapters jumbled as they were. Overall a good book. The depiction of war was probably the most British thing I have ever read but I really liked it. It was fascinatingly anachronistic. Most of the depictions of battles could have been from WW2 of not for the occasional hovertank, plasma rifle or spaceship.

    For all the talk of the Use of Weapons, there's surprisingly little use of them in the book. Especially not the big heavy weapons of The Culture. Zakalwe lugs around this massive plasma rifle for half the book and gets to use it twice before it's rendered useless. The biggest boom in the whole book was just a low yield nuke going off. I'd have liked it if they explored more of the sheer overwhelming use of force The Culture is capable of bringing to bare.

    So, Audible doesn't have the next 4 books. However, they do have Matter, Surface Detail and, The Hydrogen Sonata. Should bother picking up a print digital copy of Books 4-7 or can I just skip to Book 8?

    It's extremely worth it to read Excession and Look to Windward, which are two of the best books in the series imo. Inversions is also really good but it's a very different kind of book as the whole thing takes place in a medieval setting with very little explicit scifi going on. That said, you are at the point in the series where you can comfortably read them in any order, though I might still hold off on Hydrogen Sonata until you've read a bit more about sublimation.

    Iirc the only books in which you get to see a Culture ship go all-out are in Excession and Surface Detail.

    I don't know, the Mistake Not... is definitely terrifying in a whole new way...
    Mainly because it does speak to the effectiveness The Culture's R&D - my impression was the 4D cutting tool was essentially a brand new thing, probably built in response to the loss of a Ship in the shellworld incident.

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  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    Mistake Not...

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  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    edited June 3
    Oh, I was confused for a second, you mean
    Mistake Not My Current State Of Joshing Gentle Peevishness For The Awesome And Terrible Majesty Of The Towering Seas Of Ire That Are Themselves The Mere Milquetoast Shallows Fringing My Vast Oceans Of Wrath

    Winky on
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  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    Maybe keep that under a spoiler since it's a big reveal in one of the books?

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  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    edited June 3
    yeah

    redx on
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  • WinkyWinky rRegistered User regular
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    Maybe keep that under a spoiler since it's a big reveal in one of the books?

    I didn't recall it being a big reveal but then I remember it pretty poorly so I guess better safe than sorry

  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Winky wrote: »
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    Maybe keep that under a spoiler since it's a big reveal in one of the books?

    I didn't recall it being a big reveal but then I remember it pretty poorly so I guess better safe than sorry

    It really is.
    It is Chekov Gun'd throughout the book. It is ultimately what pushed the Glitz cruiser to stand down rather than escalate into a shooting war. It is a helluva payoff moment at the climax of the story. It is even unlikely to have been just a bald faced bluff.

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  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited June 3
    Winky wrote: »
    That_Guy wrote: »
    I finished book 3, Use of Weapons yesterday. It was pretty good but as someone who puts down and picks up books it was a bit difficult to follow with the chapters jumbled as they were. Overall a good book. The depiction of war was probably the most British thing I have ever read but I really liked it. It was fascinatingly anachronistic. Most of the depictions of battles could have been from WW2 of not for the occasional hovertank, plasma rifle or spaceship.

    For all the talk of the Use of Weapons, there's surprisingly little use of them in the book. Especially not the big heavy weapons of The Culture. Zakalwe lugs around this massive plasma rifle for half the book and gets to use it twice before it's rendered useless. The biggest boom in the whole book was just a low yield nuke going off. I'd have liked it if they explored more of the sheer overwhelming use of force The Culture is capable of bringing to bare.

    So, Audible doesn't have the next 4 books. However, they do have Matter, Surface Detail and, The Hydrogen Sonata. Should bother picking up a print digital copy of Books 4-7 or can I just skip to Book 8?

    It's extremely worth it to read Excession and Look to Windward, which are two of the best books in the series imo. Inversions is also really good but it's a very different kind of book as the whole thing takes place in a medieval setting with very little explicit scifi going on. That said, you are at the point in the series where you can comfortably read them in any order, though I might still hold off on Hydrogen Sonata until you've read a bit more about sublimation.

    Iirc the only books in which you get to see a Culture ship go all-out are in Excession and Surface Detail.

    I don't know, the Mistake Not... is definitely terrifying in a whole new way...
    Mainly because it does speak to the effectiveness The Culture's R&D - my impression was the 4D cutting tool was essentially a brand new thing, probably built in response to the loss of a Ship in the shellworld incident.

    The whole final exchange was wonderful, and clearly earned with how thoroughly it had outplayed them
    ~I never did tell you my whole name, did I?

    ~You did not. Many have remarked that your name would appear to be part of a longer one, and yet, unusually, even uniquely, nobody has heard the whole of it.

    ~May I tell you it now?

    ~Please do.

    ~My full name is the Mistake Not My Current State Of Joshing Gentle Peevishness For The Awesome And Terrible Majesty Of The Towering Seas Of Ire That Are Themselves The Mere Milquetoast Shallows Fringing My Vast Oceans Of Wrath. Cool, eh?

    ~Such braggadocio. That smacks of smokescreen, not power.

    ~Take it as you will, chum. But how many Culture ships do you know of that exaggerate their puissance?

    ~None till now. You may be the first.

    ~Oh, adjust yourself. You people have spent ten millennia playing at soldiers while becoming ever more dedicated civilians. We’ve spent the last thousand years trying hard to stay civilian while refining the legacy of a won galactic war. Who do you think has the real martial provenance here? In a fight, you’d have no choice but to try to destroy me immediately. You’d fail. I’d have a choice of just how humiliatingly to cripple you. This is the truth

    ~So you say. We might beg—

    ~Enough. I think I know what happened out at Ablate. I owe you no respect. If you are experiencing a craving to die honourably, feel free to try to stop me when I instigate kick-away, in one millisecond from now. Otherwise, stand aside. Also? I retract my suggestion that you ought to depart. The place down here is a wreck. I’m leaving various drone teams and bits of medical gear behind, but I do intend to leave, and the locals could do with some disaster control. Stepping into that breach would be substantially more constructive than placing yourself across the cannon’s mouth. Your choice. Goodbye, one way or the other.

    The Mistake Not … slipped out from under the Real. It left behind a silvery ellipsoid just to the rear of the drained ruin that was the airship Equatorial 353. The silvery ellipsoid shrank to nothing and winked out over the course of several seconds in a gentle, orderly fashion, producing no more than moderate breezes as the air flowed in to replace the volume of the departed ship.

    The ship itself fell beneath the planet, where the world’s gravity distorted the skein of space into a shallow bowl shape. Then it turned, twisted, aimed and powered away, unmolested.

    A quirky culture ship is the most dangerous thing in the cultureverse that isn't a Sublimed precursor race

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  • The Zombie PenguinThe Zombie Penguin Eternal Hungry Corpse Registered User regular
    Zibblsnrt wrote: »
    Not certain what they're counting but that seems to include Excession and Look to Windward which are both stellar books.

    To be a bit vague, they both directly talk about the Culture and their ability and use of force.

    Player of Games was the book that made me think, "okay, I want to read all the Culture books."

    Look to Windward was the book that made me think, "okay, I need to read all the Culture books."

    Look to Windward spoilers:
    Probably the happiest ending ever written that actually involves a double-suicide. Mutual suicide/ suicide pact? There's suicide and it's a happy ending overall and it's just real weird.

    But also it's a book that's really good at letting you see just how luxirious without being... obnoxious Culture life can be, and some of the background hilarity, like the mind carefully rigging lotteries so the composer's biggest fans get to go or people re-inventing currency because actual physical space at a concert is something that post-scarity cant solve and people value this. It's just fun!

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  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    Well, most dangerous thing in the context of the culture, sure.

    This machine kills threads.
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  • Atlas in ChainsAtlas in Chains Registered User regular
    hlprmnky wrote: »
    You mean something like this, but with more explody explosions?

    That guy narrating at the start sounds so familiar.

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