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What’s the matter?

I knew there was a reason I went to Manchester yesterday. One of my first ports of call was Waterstone’s. I wasn’t expecting to buy anything, just – out of habit, if nothing else – interested in wasting some time looking at books. What did I see almost as soon as I walked through the door? Iain M Banks’s new novel, Matter.

Not only did I not know that this book existed, I wasn’t even expecting him to put one out until much later this year – based on the pattern of one book every two years he’s set in recent times. Not that I’m complaining, of course; Iain Banks is one of three authors whose back catalogue I own in its entirety (in other words, I quite like his work). This new book is one of his science fiction efforts – which, let’s face it, are better than his literary fiction works. Better still, it’s a Culture novel – and, let’s also face this, tales of the Culture are better than his non-Culture sf novels (although The Algebraist was non-Culture and very good).

The icing on the metaphorical cake was that Waterstone’s were selling Matter for half price – £9.50 (which actually makes it 50.026% price rather than half price).

The other good thing to come of yesterday is that I don’t have to make the arbitrary and tricky (because of its arbitrariness) decision as to what I’m going to read next; Iain Banks has made it for me.

While I was in Waterstone’s I picked up a C J Cherryh book with a similar title to the one I’m reading now. The first sentence of the blurb mentioned a character in the current book who’s evidently moved onwards and upwards. I hastily put the volume back on its shelf. I hate blurbs, the way they tell you half the plot. I do read them, but I try to read them well in advance of reading the novel itself, so that I’ve more or less forgotten what it said.

Categories: Literature
  1. Drew
    30 January 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Who are the other two authors who’s back catalog you have obsessively collected?

  2. 31 January 2008 at 2:26 am

    They would be Stephen Donaldson and Robert Rankin.

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