Posts Tagged ‘The Hydrogen Sonata’

The wonder of Iain M. Banks’s books, as described by you

Last October we published what has since become Iain M. Banks‘s final Culture novel, The Hydrogen Sonata. We asked Iain’s readers at that time how they would describe his work, and the image below is a reflection of the many, many responses we received.

Today we are thrilled to publish The Hydrogen Sonata in paperback, bringing the Sunday Times bestseller and the brilliance of Iain Banks’s imagination to an even wider audience.

Iain M Banks word cloud

First Looks: Fall 2013 – Winter 2014 US Covers

Winter 2013/Fall 2014

A new season of books is inbound, and it sure looks like it’s going to be an exciting one! Here’s the first crop of covers from the Fall 2013 – Winter 2014 season. We’re still putting the finishing touches on a few more, but you’ll be seeing them soon.

Because the smaller scale doesn’t do any of these fantastic covers justice, click on the images below to see a larger version. So pin, tweet, and comment to your heart’s content and tell us which books are already on your “Must have!” lists!


An interview with Iain M. Banks & 25 years of Culture!

Today we’re celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Culture series by bestselling author Iain M. Banks! For decades, the Culture series has engaged our imaginations and taken us to new, exotic alien worlds. Check out the interview below to find out more about Iains most recent novel, THE HYDROGEN SONATA (UK | US | AUS) as well his reflections regarding the past and future of the Culture.

But that’s not all…since we can’t very well pass out these delicious Culture cupcakes digitally, there will be a full day of fun and prizes elsewhere on the internet.  Head on over to Twitter for more Culture-related activity by searching for the hashtag #25YearsofCulture.

With the 25th anniversary of the Culture series now upon us (Consider Phlebas was published in 1987), have you come to regard the series as your life’s work? Do you think you’ll ever ‘complete’ the series, or do you still have a long list of ideas that you want to explore?

I suppose the Culture series will form the largest part of my life’s work; it’s unlikely I’ll come up with another over-arching structure on the same scale now.  I’m perfectly happy with that.  I’ll keep writing about the Culture for as long as I still feel there are new things to say, new avenues to explore.  It’s important that I feel able to write SF outside the Culture, but even within it the restrictions are minimal; most of the action in most of the Culture books takes place well outside the Culture itself, and it’s been that way since the beginning, with Phlebas.

I don’t intend ever to complete it; I decided right from the start to resist the temptation to tear it all down at any point, and this has become sort of indicative and symbolic of the nature and demeanour of the Culture itself, now:  it means to resist completion and put off Subliming, so that it can keep on going, sticking around in the Real and trying to do good (as it sees it), for as long as it can, and it’s already envisaging that when it does finally fade away, it’ll be when its going will hardly be noticed, because being something like the Culture – behaving like it – will be pretty much the default state for all galactic civilisations.  (Though, in this, it could, of course, be completely wrong.)

I’ve more than enough material and ideas for another full-on Culture novel, and that has been the case for at least the last decade or so, no matter where I’ve been in the Culture-novel-writing cycle, as new ideas keep on coming along at a slow but steady rate.  At the moment I’m tempted to try something a bit more oblique next time, though I’m also tempted to go with something tighter and more wildly kinetic, too…  Who can say?  We’ll see.

Click to read more.


Introducing THE HYDROGEN SONATA by Iain M. Banks

This doesn’t seem possible to me, but Iain M. Banks’ first Culture novel, CONSIDER PHLEBAS (UK | US | AUS), was published 25 years ago – making this year, according to our calculations, the 25th anniversary of the Culture. For anyone who has experienced the ridiculous awesomeness of the Culture novels, this is of course a rather special occasion demanding a hearty cheer at the very least – and a large statue at most. Or something in between, such as these cupcakes we made to celebrate in our own way.

But what better way to celebrate than with a brand new Culture novel? None! Conveniently released this month around the world, THE HYDROGEN SONATA (UK | US | AUS)  is a science fiction-shaped marvel that is already grabbing the attention of reviewers. Look at these for starters:

“This rich, sweeping panorama of heroism and folly celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Culture, Banks’s far-future semi-utopian society…. The action tumbles along at a dizzying pace, bouncing among a fascinating array of characters and locales. It’s easy to see why Banks’s fertile, cheerfully nihilistic imagination and vivid prose have made the Culture space operas bestsellers and award favorites.” — Publishers Weekly

“Banks’ Culture yarns … brim with wit and wisdom, providing incomparable entertainment, with fascinating and highly original characters, challenging ideas and extrapolations, and dazzling action seamlessly embedded in a satirical-comedy matrix.” — Kirkus Reviews

“One of Banks’ best Culture novels to date.” — Booklist

A supremely enjoyable read … Banks’ charming prose and the scale of his imagination continue to delight Culture vultures” – SFX

“It’s fantastically good fun” — SciFi Now

To help celebrate the release of THE HYDROGEN SONATA and the 25th anniversary of the Culture, you have three basic options:

  1. Say, “Hip, hip, hurrah for the Culture!”
  2. Read the first chapter of THE HYDROGEN SONATA here.
  3. Try to make Culture cupcakes better than ours.

Choose wisely.


The Orbit UK team celebrates 25 years of the Culture series with Iain M. Banks!