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Encyclopedia > The Algebraist
The Algebraist
Author Iain M. Banks
Country Scotland
Language English
Genre(s) Science fiction
Publisher Orbit
Released 2004
Media Type Print
Pages 368
ISBN ISBN 1-84149-155-1
Preceded by Raw Spirit
Followed by The Steep Approach to Garbadale

The Algebraist, a science fiction novel by Scottish writer Iain M. Banks, first appeared in print in 2004. Image File history File links IainMBanksTheAlgebraist. ... Iain Menzies Banks (born on February 16, 1954 in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland) writes mainstream novels as Iain Banks and science fiction as Iain M. Banks. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Raw Spirit: In Search of the Perfect Dram is a nonfiction book by Iain Banks first published in 2003. ... The Steep Approach to Garbadale is a forthcoming novel by the Scottish writer Iain Banks, to be published in 2007. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Daniel Defoes Robinson Crusoe; title page of 1719 newspaper edition A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended fictional narrative in prose. ... Motto: (Latin for No one provokes me with impunity)1 Anthem: Multiple unofficial anthems Capital Edinburgh Largest city Glasgow Official language(s) English, Gaelic, Scots2 Government Constitutional monarchy  - Queen Queen Elizabeth II  - Prime Minister Tony Blair MP  - First Minister Jack McConnell MSP Unification    - by Kenneth I 843  Area    - Total 78... Iain Menzies Banks (born on February 16, 1954 in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland) writes mainstream novels as Iain Banks and science fiction as Iain M. Banks. ...


In 2005 the novel gained a nomination for a Hugo Award for Best Novel. Winners of the Hugo Award for best novel. ...

Contents


Plot introduction

The book largely focusses on the Dwellers, a species of gas-giant inhabitants. It covers in passing their reactions to invasion, assisted and witnessed by a human xeno-ethnologist. Spoiler warning: Dwellers are a fictional species featured in The Algebraist, a science-fiction novel by Iain M. Banks. ... A gas giant is a large planet that is not composed mostly of rock or other solid matter. ...


Plot summary

The action of the novel takes place in 4034 A.D. With the assistance of other species, humans (both aHumans and rHumans, prepped and un-prepped) have spread across the galaxy. In centre-stage Banks portrays the human Fassin Taak, a Slow Seer at the Court of the Nasqueron Dwellers. The Beyonders have cut the system of Nasqueron's star (Ulubis) off from the rest of Mercatoria civilisation by destroying its portal, and the local Mercatoria adherents await the delivery of a wormhole connection from a neighbouring system via sublight travel.


The Dwellers, a hyper-advanced (and ancient) post-civilisation, lead an almost anarchic existence, based on kudos. Dweller defence against exceptional threats comes via a largely-secret defence 'club' that operates defensive machinery when attacked (reminiscent of the AI cabals described in some Culture novels such as Excession). Anarchism is a generic term describing various political philosophies and social movements that advocate the elimination of hierarchy and imposed authority. ... Look up kudos in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Excession is a science fiction novel by Iain M. Banks and the fourth published to feature The Culture. ...


The Archimandrite Luseferous of the Starveling Cult, in loose alliance with the Beyonders, sets out to invade the Ulubis system from the Cluster Epiphany Five Disconnect. The Mercatoria (a complex governing hierarchy, combining many species with semi-feudal overtones) orders Taak to trace the dweller list and the transform that they hope will reveal the Dwellers' secret interstellar portals. Meanwhile a Mercatoria fleet hurries to defend Ulubis against the starveling ships.


The Dweller society, which tries not to get involved with "Quick" species such as those of the Mercatoria, generally hides the existence of its portals. ("The Quick" designates all species of sentient beings who experience life at around the speed human beings experience it, in contrast to "Slow" species, who experience life at a much slower temporal rate. Dweller individuals live for millions of years, and the species has existed for billions.)


The story ends with Fassin working out that the dweller wormholes are located inside the gas giants themselves at the very centre where the space-time curviture is flat (which is required for a wormhole), he works this out from finding some alien algerbra hidden in an image. he finds that the answer is zero which at first makes him think it is a joke.


Meanwhile the Archimandrite Luseferous has ordered his fleet to enter the gas gaint nasqueron and to ask the dwellers for Seer Taak, the dwellers in their own way refuse, this causes him to order humans to be shot out of the ships gun ports into the gas giants saying that "unless they give him the locatian of fassin taak he will continue shooting humans into the gas giant", whereas the dwellers reply that he had better have a lot of stock to shoot out (this shows the dwellers disregard for the quick). He then orders the ship to lock down saying that he will keep the three dwellers hostage, and that he has released AM charges that will destroy the planet, whereapon three beams of energy strike the ship where the dwellers were. freeing them, then the dweller young are demanded back. The Archimandrite Luseferous agrees and pauses the deadline, untill he has left the planet, whereapon the bombs are destroyed along with the ships.


Literary significance and criticism

The Algebraist reads like a Culture novel in reverse, expressing the point of view of a civilisation lower down the path of technological and social progress. In this it resembles Inversions. It follows the interaction between different but predominantly feudal human civilisations, the Nasqueron Dwellers, and artificial intelligences. The Culture is a fictional anarchic, socialistic and utopian society created by the Scottish writer Iain M. Banks and described by him in several of his novels and shorter fictions. ... Cover of an early edition of the book Inversions is a science fiction novel by Scottish writer Iain M. Banks, first published in 1998. ... Feudalism comes from the Late Latin word feudum, itself borrowed from a Germanic root *fehu, a commonly used term in the Middle Ages which means fief, or land held under certain obligations by feodati. ... Hondas intelligent humanoid robot AI redirects here. ...


The central theme of the Culture novels - interference by 'progressive' societies in more 'primitive' societies - becomes an issue here too, as does the influence of interstellar travel mechanisms in shaping space-faring civilisations and the mutual adaptation of artificial intelligences and biological species.


The Algebraist introduces a fictional religion called "The Truth", similar to Nick Bostrom's Simulation argument. Nick Bostrom (Boström in the original Swedish) is a philosopher at the University of Oxford, and known for his work on the anthropic principle. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Bibliography

The Algebraist, Iain M. Banks, London: Orbit, 2004 ISBN 1-84149-155-1 (UK)


Night Shade Books published the novel in the U.S. in September 2005. (ISBN 1-59780-026-0) Night Shade Books is an independent publishing company, specializing in science fiction, fantasy, dark fantasy and cross-genre novels. ... For other uses, see United States (disambiguation) and US (disambiguation). ...


External links

  • Trashotron review
  • Nthposition.com review
  • The NASA image used as the basis for the book cover design
Iain M. Banks books
Consider Phlebas • The Player of Games • Use of Weapons • The State of the Art • Against a Dark Background • Feersum Endjinn • Excession • Inversions • Look to Windward • The Algebraist
Iain Banks books
The Wasp Factory • Walking on Glass • The Bridge • Espedair Street • Canal Dreams • The Crow Road • Complicity • Whit • A Song of Stone • The Business • Dead Air • Raw Spirit • The Steep Approach to Garbadale

  Results from FactBites:
 
The Algebraist - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (632 words)
The Algebraist, a science fiction novel by Scottish writer Iain M. Banks, first appeared in print in 2004.
The Algebraist reads like a Culture novel in reverse, expressing the point of view of a civilisation lower down the path of technological and social progress.
The Algebraist introduces a fictional religion called "The Truth", similar to Nick Bostrom's Simulation argument.
Baa wars | By genre | Guardian Unlimited Books (788 words)
Imagine that he is hugely enthusiastic and charming, and that his thoughtful analyses of contemporary human politics range from the individual to the mass, from theory to action, from ideology to consequence.
For those not acquainted with large-scale SF, The Algebraist is a perfect place to have your mind blown to smithereens with all that its vast canvas delivers.
The Algebraist marks a return to the happy hunting grounds of Banks's early SF, replete with all the whizzy boys' toys, wildly improbable extreme sports, damning character assassinations and good-humoured condemnation of all that's wearying about humanity.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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