Use of Weapons
British Science Fiction Award nominee 1990, Arthur C. Clarke Award nominee 1991.
The man known as Cheradenine Zakalwe was one of Special Circumstances' foremost agents, changing the destiny of planets to suit the Culture through intrigue, dirty tricks or military action. The woman known as Diziet Sima had plucked him from obscurity and pushed him towards his present eminence, but despite all their dealings she did not know him as well as she thought.
The drone known as Skaffen-Amtiskaw knew both of these people. It had once saved the woman's life by massacring her attackers in a particularly bloody manner. It believed the man to be a burnt-out case. But not even its machine intelligence could see the horrors in his past.
Ferociously intelligent, both witty and horrific, Use of Weapons is a masterpiece of science fiction.
'Banks is a phenomenon... wildly successful, fearlessly creative' – William Gibson
Iain Menzies Banks (officially Iain Banks, 1954-2013) was a Scottish writer. Iain Banks read English literature, philosophy and psychology at Stirling University. He moved to London and lived in the south of England until 1988 when he returned to Fife.
Banks sprang to public notice with the publication of his first novel, The Wasp Factory, in 1984. Since then, Banks has gained great popular and critical acclaim. The Times has acclaimed Iain Banks ”the most imaginative British novelist of his generation”. As Iain M. Banks he writes science fiction and as Iain Banks he writes literary fiction. Much of Banks's science fiction deals with a vast interstellar civilisation, the Culture.
The Culture consists of nine primary works, and includes two additional books that complement the series but are not considered mandatory reads. The current recommended reading order for the series is provided below.