The Algebraist by Iain Banks

The Algebraist

Ilium meets Connie Willis?

StarsFour out of five.

Review format: Review no links.
Summary: sorry, go find it yourself.
Provenance: Borrowed from the local library.

The Algebraist by Iain Banks is a wide-scale science fiction tome.  The characters are scattered across time and space, with varying motivation.

Very good story, but I’ve made a terrible summary following, so please don’t judge it by the hash I’ve written here.  This is the first book I’ve read by Banks, and he’s now on my list of authors to follow!

In scope, it’s almost as big as Dune, or certainly as wide as one of David Brin’s Uplift books.

In some ways, The Algebraist reminded me a bit of Dan Simmons’ Ilium, with a touch of Connie Willis thrown in to make it slightly quirky and importance-of-being earnest.

The main character is a researcher who slows down his life functions so that he can communicate with cryptic inhabitants of the gas giant planets throughout the known universe.

One of his discoveries is a potential key to the location of a mythical network of worm holes that would far increase the connections between areas of the universe beyond the limited network of wormholes that exist at that point.  This of course would be a huge military or commercial advantage, so battle fleets set sail for his home system.

The book  covers his further search for the actual information about the network of wormholes, as well as the lives of some of his friends from his youth. One is now commanding a ship coming to his planet’s rescue, while another is the owner of a manufacturing empire.

That’s it. No links for you, sorry.

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