The Hydrogen Sonata
Locus Award nominee 2013.
The Scavenger species are circling. It is, truly, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization.
An ancient people, organized on military principles and yet almost perversely peaceful, the Gzilt 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.
Amid preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed. Lieutenant Commander (reserve) Vyr Cossont appears to have been involved, and she is now wanted — dead, not alive. 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. She must 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. It seems that the final days of the Gzilt civilization are likely to prove its most perilous.
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.