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Excession

Culture Series, Book 5
Written by: Iain M. Banks
Narrated by: Peter Kenny
Series: Culture, Book 5
Length: 15 hrs and 55 mins
5 out of 5 stars (36 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Two and a half millennia ago, the artifact appeared in a remote corner of space, beside a trillion-year-old dying sun from a different universe. It was a perfect black-body sphere, and it did nothing. Then it disappeared. Now it is back.

©1996 Iain M. Banks (P)2013 Hachette Digital

What the critics say

"Gripping, touching and funny." ( TLS)
"A dizzying adventure." ( Daily Mail)
"Explosive but tender." ( Sunday Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great fun.

Less cerebral than some of his other works but also funnier. The Culture is a paradise but humans (and machine minds) easily tilt towards militarism when the unknown presents itself in the form of an « Excession ». The grand overall scale mixed with personal viewpoints render the whole experience very entertaining and interesting. Highly recommended. The Narrator does a very good job.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun Culture Tale, Great Narration

Peter Kenny is a great narrator and really brings the Culture to life.

This was a fun story, which involved so many more Culture ships, Minds, and their interactions compared to previous entries. You get a much better picture of what the Culture is, and how unimportant humans are, although they still can be.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Peter
  • 2013-12-01

A perfect team(?) at the top of their game

Peter Kenny has brought a whole new experience to my understanding the writing of Iain Banks. Mr Kenny seems to have a number of uncanny knacks of what I believe a true storyteller should have, an ancient art form that went out of favour with the invention of the printing press and now, thanks to audio books, is making a comeback.
A little too dissimilar to how Messrs. Kubrick and Clarke created the universe of 2001 apart but together to be comparable, Mr Kenny was not a co-creator yet he is a collaborator. His obvious skill, talent and intelligence as an actor, most essentially I believe with radio-play experience, has given him a gift permitting him to join Mr Banks in 'The Culture' in a way I think few others could hope to achieve.
I would encourage any fan of story telling, whether written word or film or stage play or photojournalism etc., who don't mind a bit of the ol' spec-fic to give this a go. While I believe there are other readings by Mr Kenny as powerful as this, none are better and this will forever remain a performance not to be missed.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Deborah Morgan
  • 2015-03-30

My favourite Culture series book

Complex, witty and thought-provoking. Ian Banks at his very best. Sleeper Service is surely one the best heroic characters of all his books. I must add that Peter Kenny does the most superb job as narrator. His range of accents and nuanced delivery is delightful I wish he'd get to work on Terry Pratchett's body of work next!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Eszter
  • 2015-01-23

One of the best Culture books

Such a good story - the wit of the Minds is fantastic to listen to. Peter Kenny's narration is absolutely flawless.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jim
  • 2013-05-16

Mr Banks on top form

Would you consider the audio edition of Excession to be better than the print version?

Mr Kenny is a superb complement to this excellent book. I had to smile as he subtly changes the voice of a character as they moved between sexes. Very slick!

What other book might you compare Excession to and why?

Its up there with "Consider Phlebas" in terms of breadth of story, large ideas and character detail. Compulsive reading for Culture addicts.

What about Peter Kenny’s performance did you like?

See above, but I also liked the conceit of giving the ship minds british regional ( and occasional colonial :-) ) accents that really rather suited their personalities. Really a very impressive rendition.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Hard to imagine it being a film, but I bet it is "the way many people want the future to be", which is the function of good sci-fi; to inspire.

Any additional comments?

Great writer at the top of his game. If we lose him it will be a big loss to our collective imagination, so my best wishes to the man.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Brendan
  • 2018-07-22

Great story and great narration.

I have listened to the culture series 4 times now and am impressed every time. After having listened to several very good sci-fi books and series in between my last reading and this I wasn't sure whether this book would still hold strong to my original wonder at the story and performance. But after getting just part way in I was reminded why I love this book so much.
Peter Kenny never fails to impress me even after hearing new, wonderful narrators. I am amazed at his diversity of characters (male and female) and how well he portrays the emotions of the characters and story, far beyond what I would have interpreted by just reading the book myself.
I will certainly listen to it many more times!
The only sad part is that we will never have any more new wonderful stories from Iain M Banks.
R.I.P

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  • peter
  • 2018-04-15

What was that about...?

I last turned this off yesterday and now cant recall enough about the plot to write a sensible review. I just remember becoming more and more disenchanted listening to it and asking myself 'Why did this guy bother to write this long and windy novel? And 'Why did this get such rave reviews?'' I know I would not be able to even aspire to his physical and mental accomplishment so I am loathe to criticize, but wow after all the rave reviews it is so disappointing to find the novel is as dull and as unentertaining as it is. I am sure he had more fun writing it than I had reading it. I hope so.

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  • AKB
  • 2017-06-28

Mundane

Kenny is a superb narrator, with an excellent range of voices, and I have been a big fan of Iain M Banks, but this story did little for me.

Excession is more a story about relationships than anything else, and when you care little for the parties involved​, their struggles are not particularly moving.

Outside relationships, the revelations were not particularly clever, and while the build up was interesting enough, in the end, this was just a mundane story with no real power or insight, for me.

Disappointed, given the quality of most other Banks I've read.

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  • Aaron
  • 2016-10-15

My Favorite Culture Novel!!

I first read this novel 20 years ago and just re-read it a second time (as an audiobook) - quite frankly - a little bit skeptical of why I recalled enjoying it so much. What a treat it was to read it again for the first time!

This unique and ground breaking space opera!! The ships themselves are the main characters and the humans are the supporting cast. A really fun read...

The drone action sequence in the opening chapter is one of my favorites... Also Peter Kenny's portrayal of "The Killing Time" is quite perfect!

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  • Legendary Teeth
  • 2016-09-08

Interesting premise ruined by a lame side plot

Not really about "the excession", just a vessel to tell a dumb story about a mopey hermit lady.

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  • N
  • 2016-08-18

Good, solid Culture novel.

Different from other Culture novels, but in a refreshing way. The Culture Minds have always been fascinating and this novel focuses on how they interact with humanity - but more importantly - each other, when addressing galaxy-wide matters of importance. It's cool, I enjoyed it.