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The Hydrogen Sonata

Cover of The Hydrogen Sonata

The Hydrogen Sonata

Culture Series, Book 10
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It is, truly, probably, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization. An ancient people, they helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they've made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence. Amidst preparations though, the Regimental HIgh Command is destroyed and Cossont is blamed. Wanted dead—not alive. Now, aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command—find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago. Cossont must discover the truth before she's exiled from her people and her civilization forever—or just plain killed.

It is, truly, probably, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization. An ancient people, they helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they've made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence. Amidst preparations though, the Regimental HIgh Command is destroyed and Cossont is blamed. Wanted dead—not alive. Now, aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command—find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago. Cossont must discover the truth before she's exiled from her people and her civilization forever—or just plain killed.

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About the Author-
  • Iain Banks (1954–2013) was a Scottish author considered one of the most powerful, innovative, and exciting writers of his generation. He wrote mainstream fiction under the name Iain Banks and science fiction as Iain M. Banks. Following the publication and success of The Wasp Factory in 1984, he began to write full time. His first science fiction book, Consider Phlebas, was released in 1987, marking the start of the popular Culture series. His books have been adapted for theater, radio, and television. In honor of his science fiction work, an asteroid was named for him in 2013, and asteroid (5099) Iainbanks now resides in the main asteroid belt of the Sol system.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 27, 2012
    This rich, sweeping panorama of heroism and folly celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Culture, Banks’s far-future semi-utopian society. The Gzilt, a civilization affiliated with the Culture, is only days away from leaving this reality for the Sublime, a condition of intense, hyper-real wonderfulness, when some of the Culture’s self-aware spaceships catch hints that the Gzilt’s decision to enter the Sublime may be based on a hoax. Vyr Cossont, a young, four-armed Gzilt musician, falls into the conflict as ships and their avatars try to figure out what’s going on and then decide what to do about it, while powerful opponents attempt to stall the inquiry until time runs out. 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.

  • AudioFile Magazine Like Banks's other titles featuring the utopian society called the Culture, THE HYDROGEN SONATA is thematically complex. An entire sentient species chooses to "sublime," that is, to transcend to another plane of existence, and a musician makes a quest to perfect a sonata before the Sublimation Event. Longtime Culture narrator Peter Kenny applies various British accents to each species. The many outrageous names and inventive phrases allow easy differentiation of the characters. Kenny's accents suit the alien names and phrases, and even during extended conversation between various alien species, each speaker is easily identified. Kenny's assured, calm delivery accentuates the humor and pathos. Occasionally he dramatizes the dialogue, enhancing both the action and moments of pure horror. A.Z.W. (c) AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine
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    Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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The Hydrogen Sonata
The Hydrogen Sonata
Culture Series, Book 10
Iain M. Banks
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