Full of Books

Transition by Iain M. Banks Review

Title: Transition

Author: Iain M. Banks

First published September 3, 2009

404 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9780316071987 (ISBN10: 0316071986)

Rating: 3.87


In a world teetering between disaster and triumph, where the collapse of economies and the rise of terrorism loom, there is a need for a strong guiding force. But is the Concern, with its malevolent leader, vast influence, and countless operatives with extraordinary abilities, the answer?

Meet Temudjin Oh, an enigmatic assassin traveling between Nepal, Victorian London, and snow-covered Venice; Adrian Cubbish, a greedy City trader; and the Philosopher, a state-sanctioned torturer who moves effortlessly through time. Yet there are those who doubt the Concern’s intentions, including the rebel recruiter Mrs.

Mulverhill and Patient 8262, hiding from a sordid past. The world needs help, but is the Concern the help it needs?

About the Author

Iain Banks, a Scottish author, wrote science fiction under the pseudonym Iain M. Banks.

Banks’ father was a naval officer and his mother was a former ice skater. He studied English Literature, Philosophy, and Psychology at the University of Stirling.

Banks lived in the south of England until 1988, when he moved back to Scotland, first to Edinburgh and then Fife. He met his wife, Annie, in London before the release of his first book, and they married in Hawaii in 1992.

However, after being together for 25 years, they separated in early 2007. Banks most recently lived in North Queensferry, a town on the north side of the Firth of Forth near the Forth Bridge and the Forth Road Bridge.

Banks’ writings were influenced by left-wing history, as with his friend Ken MacLeod, another Scottish writer of technical and social science fiction. He signed the Declaration of Calton Hill, which calls for Scottish independence.

Banks was also a prominent member of a group of British politicians and media figures who campaigned to have Prime Minister Tony Blair impeached following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In protest, he cut up his passport and posted it to 10 Downing Street.

Banks’ latest book was a science fiction novel in the Culture series, called The Hydrogen Sonata, which was published in 2012.

Banks explained in an interview that his novels were published under two different names because his parents wished to name him Iain Menzies Banks, but his father made a mistake when registering the birth, so he was officially registered as Iain Banks. Despite this, he continued to use his unofficial middle name, and it was as Iain M.

Banks that he submitted his works for publication. Banks suggested the return of the ‘M’ to distinguish between his mainstream and science fiction novels, although at one point, he considered John B.

Macallan as his pseudonym, the name deriving from his favorite whiskies: Johnnie Walker Black Label and The Macallan single malt.

In April 2013, Banks revealed that he had late-stage cancer. He died in June of the same year.

The Scottish writer posted a message on his official website, stating that his next novel, The Quarry, due to be published later that year, would be his last. The novel was published in June 2013.

Editoral Review

Transition by Iain M. Banks is an intriguing science fiction novel that will take readers on a journey through different dimensions, timelines, and even personalities.

The novel was first published on September 3, 2009, and is recognized as one of the author’s most ambitious works. Iain Banks was a renowned Scottish author known for his science fiction and mainstream novels.

Transition is one of his last works and is deeply philosophical, exploring themes of identity, power, and morality. The novel belongs to the science fiction genre, but it also has elements of political thriller and drama.

Transition follows the lives of several characters spanning multiple dimensions and timelines. These characters are part of an organization called the Concern, which has the ability to travel between different realities.

At the heart of the novel is a power struggle within the Concern, with various factions vying for control over it. The novel also explores the moral implications of having the power to manipulate realities and the consequences of such actions.

The setting of the novel is predominantly in London, but the characters move between different realities with ease. The characters are well-developed, with their unique personalities and motivations driving the plot forward.

The novel’s pacing is somewhat slow yet deliberate, giving the reader ample time to absorb the intricacies of the story’s multiple layers. One of the strengths of Transition is the quality of Banks’ writing.

His prose is lyrical and poetic, conveying complex concepts with ease. Banks reimagines the old adage, “be careful what you wish for,” by making it a central theme in the novel.

He shows how the nature of power can corrupt even the most well-intentioned of individuals. However, one of the weaknesses of the novel is that there are too many characters and too many timelines.

This can make the story confusing and overwhelming at times. Additionally, some readers may find the philosophical aspects of the novel too dense or abstract.

Transition offers a thought-provoking take on the possibilities and implications of traveling between different dimensions and the idea of multiple parallel lives. The novel is reminiscent of other works by Banks, such as The Bridge and The Algebraist, but stands apart in its exploration of morality and power.

Overall, Transition is a must-read for fans of science fiction, especially those interested in exploring thought-provoking themes that go beyond the conventional ideas of the genre. I give this novel 4 out of 5 stars, as it is crafted gorgeously, compelling, and leaves a lasting impression.

Popular Books