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The Algebraist

Written by: Iain M. Banks
Narrated by: Geoff Annis
Length: 24 hrs and 3 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (21 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For short-lived 'quick' races like humans, space is dominated by the complicated, grandiose Mercatoria, whose rule is both military and religious. To the Dwellers who may live billions of years, the galaxy consists of their gas-giant planets - the rest is debris.

Our human hero, Fassin Taak, is a Slow Seer privileged to work with the Dwellers of the gas-giant Nasqueron in his home system Ulubis. His work consists of rummaging for data in their vast, disorganised memories and libraries. Unfortunately, without knowing it, he's come close to an ancient secret of unimaginable importance....

©2004 Iain M. Banks (P)2005 W.F. Howes Ltd

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

New universe for Iain M Banks

This is a great story from one of the masters of science fiction. It set in a non-Culture universe and is a fully fleshed and rounded out story.

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Wonderful trip, many surprises

Take a race of incredibly ancient beings who dwell in gas giant planets, curious humans, and mix well. The results are ... surprisingly neat!

This book explores consciousness, monetary systems, rogue power, and the dangers of AI. Worth the read!

#Audible1

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • M. Lambert
  • 2018-08-16

A masterpiece.

Extremely imaginative yet very real. Excellent characters who feel real. A distant future on a galactic scale. The tech is fascinating but not fantasy. A fast moving story well told. The narrator is perfect. Neither overly dramatic nor attempting to blow your mind, just extremely well done.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-06-24

okay after you get into it

Abit difficult to get started with. Characters are somewhat wooden. I had expected a little more from Iain Banks

4 people found this helpful

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  • Emainiak
  • 2019-07-07

Whimsical Fun

Ian Banks departs from his Human-centric Culture novels to explore a twist in his post-scarcity society theme. The Agebraist explores how humanity might interact woth a civilization so old, with individuals living as ling as billions of years if they can avoid accidents, that scarcity and all conception of the seriousness of trivial life has been lost. The Quick, the general term for species who live lifespan in the order of decades or centuries, or even millenia, seem to buzz about them in so much tumult and chaotic intensity.

Banks's Dwellers are humerous, their society a lampoons of civilization's foibles and vanity, and the story manages to be exciting while frequently relying heavily on dialog. Very much worth a listen.

With regards to the presentation, it is solid but starts out with an odd "pause for commas" approach that takes some time to adjust to. By the 20% mark either I or the reader had fully adapted to the rhythm and made for an enjoyable British accented presentation.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Kevin
  • 2019-01-22

Wonderful story.

It kept me riveted until the end. It has a lot of science fiction ideas that I haven't seen before. Great read and quality narration.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Rob
  • 2018-12-02

Excellent characters and world building

Another classic from Banks. Captivating story and interesting characters, especially the enigmatic Dwellers. A bit tough to follow in the beginning due to the amount of characters with weird names. In addition, the narration jumps between characters very abruptly at times, so listeners have to stay on their toes.

Reasonably realistic physics despite there being a galaxy-spanning civilization and FTL travel through wormholes.

Warning: some description of horrific torture. Thankfully it doesn't last that long.

Overall an excellent book.

2 people found this helpful

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  • jhanken
  • 2018-08-20

I love Iain M. Banks, so sad to have lost him

The Algebraist captured in one book what I so loved about the Culture series-Banks' ability to weave both a great story and a grand universe as a backdrop.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Roberto Ruiz
  • 2018-08-06

Space Opera//Mcguffin

This is one of Banks' best works, not as grand in scope as the Culture series but maybe even better for it as it doesn't take itself too seriously. The alien races in this book are phenomenal, Dwellers may be my favorite aliens. Geoff Annis' narration is spot-on, you will not be disappointed.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Raj
  • 2017-11-20

Finally! The unabridged version!

I listened to this 12 years ago on cassette tape from my library and I really enjoyed the story and the narration by Geoffrey Annis is perfect. I wanted to listen to it again but I could never find a version to buy on CD or a digital version to download. Thank you Audible for making the unabridged version available for download. I can't wait to listen to this story again! A master SF work by Iain M. Banks.

11 people found this helpful

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  • resruprl
  • 2020-03-03

Boring and tiresome

Boring, struggled to get as far as i did. Second book from this author does not get a third chance.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-12-03

World building does not a story make.

Excellent world building. Half baked characters with banal and pointless character arcs. As a result the whole affair feels sterile, and leaves one with little emotional investment and instead resigned to a boring trudge through the far reaches of the galaxy, even if that galaxy is well imagined.