Matter by Iain M. Banks

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Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby GamePlayer » Sun Aug 09, 2009 9:56 am

Matter (2008)
By Iain M. Banks

In this addition to Banks now famous Culture universe there is once again a grand operatic landscape serving as the backdrop to a series of very personal, character stories set in a familiar science fiction universe. The main thrust of the book follows three noble-born children from a primitive people. The princess Anaplian is recruited into the Special Circumstances section of the Culture and taken away from her world and family. Youngest sibling Oramen unexpectedly finds himself in possible line to inherit the throne of his land. Elder sibling Ferbin, with his servant Holse, finds himself on the run after witnessing a dreadful conspiracy against the kingdom. Now years after her adoption into the powerful space-faring Culture, a death in the family draws Anaplian back to her ancient artificial world. There, Anaplian must walk again amongst the primitives and uncover a mystery that could affect the fate of not only her own people, but also numerous alien races bound to the Shellworld of Sursamen.

Matter, at some 586 pages, is one of Banks larger books in the Culture catalogue. This novel definitely indulges in details and includes dozens of characters and locations (though there is thankfully several glossaries for quick reference). Banks maintains the elegant complexity for which he is known and lays out his story in Matter with an engaging interweaving structure. Character development is strong in Matter and despite the fantastic nature of the fiction, the reader can easily relate to nearly all the characters, protagonist and antagonist alike. The events of Matter are grand, including wars and mysteries, personal tribulations and mind-blowing discoveries. The book is dense, but not incomprehensible, mostly thanks to Banks grounded prose and clever contemporary dialog. Banks is comfortably within his element and yet always makes certain the reader feels the same by using vivid descriptions and helpful explanations of both the technology and the worlds he creates.

As the eight story (seventh book) in the Culture universe, Matter is surprisingly accessible without writing down to the audience. Matter is also near-flawlessly intriguing and each new chapter leaves the reader ever curious for more. In Matter, Banks also affirms, in violent detail, his tough and ruthless devotion to story. The characters of Matter are vulnerable to any fate at any time and Banks fearlessly ensures they are written to serve the story at whatever cost. The reputation Banks earned with his earlier Culture stories is maintained in Matter and he proves yet again that he is ever the risk taker now as he was when Consider Phlebas was published some 22 years ago. Matter is just as gritty as any Culture novel and remains as challenging in its dire imagery and tense danger as any of his non-sci-fi fiction novels.

Where fault is found in Matter it is in the somewhat excessive exploration of socio-political themes. While the book is rarely dull, the story does indulge its characters in ponderous and sometimes pedantic pontification. Ruminations upon politics, religion and existentialism grow organically from character development in Matter, but often the book dwells on such thoughts for far too long at the expense of pace. It is easy to find oneself tiring of such ruminations and wishing for some more cerebral chapters to balance the rather lengthy book. It’s also not uncommon for characters to be taken out of the narrative for significant periods of time. Combined with the wide breadth of the plot, this can sometimes make the reader feel as though not enough is happening or that the characters are not taking enough action. However, it is hard to fault Matter as it slowly simmers toward such a delicious crescendo and delivers a powerful close that makes the reader frantic to turn those final pages.

Rating: 4 out of 5. As daring as Consider Phlebas and as scientifically enthralling as Excession, Matter is as much an affirmation of a talent as it is vibrant growth of the author’s craft.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby A Thing of Eternity » Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:39 pm

I'd probably rank it above Phlebas, below Use of Weapons, and maybe tied with The Player of Games of the culture novels I've read so far.

The ending made me laugh out loud a little, Bank's sense of humour gets me every time.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby GamePlayer » Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:48 pm

I'm glad to hear you really liked it. Matter is a fine book and a very worthy addition to the Culture stories. Matter has lots of interesting and dynamic writing, outstanding character development, enthralling science fiction and plenty of deadpan humor that always works well.

It's really hard for me to pick favorites among the Culture canon. I usually tout Consider Phlebas, Use of Weapons and The Player of Games as my typical top three favorites, but I don't know if I could choose one over the other. Excession, Inversions and The State of the Art would, for me, sit on a second tier all together. On my scale, Matter and Look to Windward would likely rest somewhere between my first and second tier of Banks books.

Personally, I wouldn't place Matter above Consider Phlebas. Consider Phlebas had a better ending and was a tighter, better paced and more cleverly structured book than Matter. But I will admit the characters in Matter were likely more compelling.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby A Thing of Eternity » Mon Aug 10, 2009 3:05 pm

What I need to do is re-read Consider Phlebas, and I suspect I may have sold my copy because at the time I wasn't so impressed, so I'll have to buy a new one. I think that I was expecting a book where the ending had some kind of impact on the larger picture, but that's not the kind of fiction Banks writes, and I understand that better now, and I think I'm a bit more of a mature reader.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Omphalos » Mon Aug 10, 2009 3:44 pm

I just borrowed T'PoG from Ragabash.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby A Thing of Eternity » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:05 pm

If you hate it I'm really going to look like an ass!
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Omphalos » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:53 pm

I read the first few pages while pinching a loaf the other day. It was aiight.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby GamePlayer » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:24 pm

A Thing of Eternity wrote:What I need to do is re-read Consider Phlebas, and I suspect I may have sold my copy because at the time I wasn't so impressed, so I'll have to buy a new one. I think that I was expecting a book where the ending had some kind of impact on the larger picture, but that's not the kind of fiction Banks writes, and I understand that better now, and I think I'm a bit more of a mature reader.


I definitely agree with you wholeheartedly in that assessment. If one isn't prepared by an already cultured diet of challenging literature, Consider Phlebas can be shockingly daring, violent and provocative. It does require the reader to really put in an effort. A critic once described Bank's work as "mind-broadening and intensely disturbing" fiction and I believe they had Consider Phlebas in mind. I had VERY uncertain feelings about Banks after reading Consider Phlebas, which was my very first foray into his science fiction work. It so defied the sci-fi conventions at the time and challenged my immature, rose-colored view of science fiction that I actually felt a little inferior about it. But I ALWAYS knew that I had stumbled upon something great. I thought about it, discussed it with others and then read The Player of Games and A Few Notes on the Culture. Banks fandom hit me like a punch in the face during those readings. Been a hardcore Banks fan for over a decade now and have since re-read Consider Phlebas with nothing but love :)

If I were to describe a more appropriate analogy for going from regular science fiction to Banks, it would be like someone raised on nothing but mainstream movies who one day decides to try the most unconventional, daring art film they could find. If that person manages to overcome all their inhibitions and preconceptions in just one sitting of that film, it would be nothing short of a miracle. Typically, people need to think, absorb and understand before they can come around. So don't feel bad, we all had to come around to certain revelations. And like you said, your expectations of the type-of-book played a large part in what happened upon first reading it.

Omphalos wrote:I just borrowed T'PoG from Ragabash.
I read the first few pages while pinching a loaf the other day. It was aiight.


I really hope I'm wrong, but I honestly doubt you're going to like it. But if nothing else, having read two Banks books you can be confident you'll have an informed opinion about his work. Regardless, best of luck and I hope it goes well.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Freakzilla » Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:37 am

Anyone have any Banks in a digital format?
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby GamePlayer » Tue Aug 25, 2009 12:32 pm

Wish I did. I could have returned the favor. I'll ask around and see if I can locate some.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Freakzilla » Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:28 pm

GamePlayer wrote:Wish I did. I could have returned the favor. I'll ask around and see if I can locate some.


That'd be cool, I need something fresh and new (to me) to read and it sounds like something the Dune fanatic in me would appreciate.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Omphalos » Tue Aug 25, 2009 6:43 pm

There is a book out there by a guy named Andreas Eschbach called The Carpet Makers that I bet Frank would have absolutely loved.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Freakzilla » Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:07 pm

Omphalos wrote:There is a book out there by a guy named Andreas Eschbach called The Carpet Makers that I bet Frank would have absolutely loved.


Damnit Omph... the pile is tall enough without YOU suggesting good books.

*sigh*

I'll read one of yours whe you read Julian May. :P
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Omphalos » Tue Aug 25, 2009 11:32 pm

Freakzilla wrote:
Omphalos wrote:There is a book out there by a guy named Andreas Eschbach called The Carpet Makers that I bet Frank would have absolutely loved.


Damnit Omph... the pile is tall enough without YOU suggesting good books.

*sigh*

I'll read one of yours whe you read Julian May. :P


Deal. I'll even go first.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Omphalos » Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:00 pm

I'm about 40 pages from the end of T'PoG. I have 4 other Banks books, and I'm planning on reading one or two on an upcoming vacation.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Freakzilla » Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:18 pm

Omphalos wrote:I'm about 40 pages from the end of T'PoG.


How do you think it compares to Matter?
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Omphalos » Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:22 pm

Freakzilla wrote:
Omphalos wrote:I'm about 40 pages from the end of T'PoG.


How do you think it compares to Matter?


Matter is in the pile. T'PoG is pretty damn good.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Freakzilla » Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:33 pm

Omphalos wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:
Omphalos wrote:I'm about 40 pages from the end of T'PoG.


How do you think it compares to Matter?


Matter is in the pile. T'PoG is pretty damn good.


:doh:

I didn't notice you didn't write the review!

Yeah, TPoG was great.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Omphalos » Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:06 pm

This is the first Banks I've ever read through. I was expecting something less Science-Fictioney, based on what I had heard. But that scratched my geek-itch just fine.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby SandChigger » Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:42 pm

New Culture novel in the fall! :dance:

(And new Miéville at the end of this month! :D )
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Serkanner » Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:03 am

Omphalos wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:
Omphalos wrote:I'm about 40 pages from the end of T'PoG.


How do you think it compares to Matter?


Matter is in the pile. T'PoG is pretty damn good.


T'PoG is VERY good! I like it better than Matter.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Omphalos » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:21 am

I just started Use of Weapons last night.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Serkanner » Tue Jun 22, 2010 10:05 am

Omphalos wrote:I just started Use of Weapons last night.


Use of Weapons is in my humble opinion his best Culture novel yet. Truly astounding and high on my list of all time favourite science fiction novels. Have fun!
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby A Thing of Eternity » Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:07 am

Omphalos wrote:I just started Use of Weapons last night.


This is my favourite of the ones I've read so far, but I need a re-read. Hell, I needed to re-read it right after I finished it... TPoG is probably in second place after that, but Matter was very good as well.

I'm glad you found Banks that you liked, Feersum seemed to have turned you off permanently for a while there.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Hunchback Jack » Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:29 am

Yeah, Feersum is very good, but not representative of Banks' SF work, really. TPoG is a much better starting point.

Enjoy UoW. It was my first Banks novel, and I picked it up after a long period of not reading anything. It reminded me why I had enjoyed reading so much.

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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Freakzilla » Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:15 pm

Hunchback Jack wrote:Yeah, Feersum is very good, but not representative of Banks' SF work, really. TPoG is a much better starting point.

Enjoy UoW. It was my first Banks novel, and I picked it up after a long period of not reading anything. It reminded me why I had enjoyed reading so much.

HBJ


That's good to hear, since It's the first and only of his I've read so far. Maybe I'll pick up UoW next.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby A Thing of Eternity » Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:25 pm

Freakzilla wrote:
Hunchback Jack wrote:Yeah, Feersum is very good, but not representative of Banks' SF work, really. TPoG is a much better starting point.

Enjoy UoW. It was my first Banks novel, and I picked it up after a long period of not reading anything. It reminded me why I had enjoyed reading so much.

HBJ


That's good to hear, since It's the first and only of his I've read so far. Maybe I'll pick up UoW next.


I thought you read matter?
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Freakzilla » Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:08 pm

A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:
Hunchback Jack wrote:Yeah, Feersum is very good, but not representative of Banks' SF work, really. TPoG is a much better starting point.

Enjoy UoW. It was my first Banks novel, and I picked it up after a long period of not reading anything. It reminded me why I had enjoyed reading so much.

HBJ


That's good to hear, since It's the first and only of his I've read so far. Maybe I'll pick up UoW next.


I thought you read matter?


TPoG. It had a bonus chapter from Matter at the end though.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby A Thing of Eternity » Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:51 pm

Freakzilla wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:
Hunchback Jack wrote:Yeah, Feersum is very good, but not representative of Banks' SF work, really. TPoG is a much better starting point.

Enjoy UoW. It was my first Banks novel, and I picked it up after a long period of not reading anything. It reminded me why I had enjoyed reading so much.

HBJ


That's good to hear, since It's the first and only of his I've read so far. Maybe I'll pick up UoW next.


I thought you read matter?


TPoG. It had a bonus chapter from Matter at the end though.


Ah, I remembered wrong. UoW is a pretty good mind-bender.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Omphalos » Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:15 pm

A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Omphalos wrote:I just started Use of Weapons last night.


This is my favourite of the ones I've read so far, but I need a re-read. Hell, I needed to re-read it right after I finished it... TPoG is probably in second place after that, but Matter was very good as well.

I'm glad you found Banks that you liked, Feersum seemed to have turned you off permanently for a while there.


The Algabraist did not help matters much either. I really dug T'PoG. It was not as good, IMHO, as others have made it out to be, but it was solid and told a good story. I saw a lot of influences in it too. Larry Niven. Douglas Adams. Chad Oliver. But it was original. I also thought the book to be so well thought out that suspension of disbelief was no problem at all.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby SandChigger » Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:05 am

I have that one but haven't read it yet.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby A Thing of Eternity » Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:11 am

Omphalos wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Omphalos wrote:I just started Use of Weapons last night.


This is my favourite of the ones I've read so far, but I need a re-read. Hell, I needed to re-read it right after I finished it... TPoG is probably in second place after that, but Matter was very good as well.

I'm glad you found Banks that you liked, Feersum seemed to have turned you off permanently for a while there.


The Algabraist did not help matters much either. I really dug T'PoG. It was not as good, IMHO, as others have made it out to be, but it was solid and told a good story. I saw a lot of influences in it too. Larry Niven. Douglas Adams. Chad Oliver. But it was original. I also thought the book to be so well thought out that suspension of disbelief was no problem at all.


UoW is a way better book I think. I really liked TPoG because it did a great job of explaining the Culture, and in later novels Banks doesn't spoonfeed anything, either you've read the earlier books or you just have to sit there wondering about many things. Matter might be better than TPoG too, I think I might have TPoG in such high regard because it was the first Banks book I enjoyed (Consider Phlebas was my first, didn't love it).

Haven't read the Algabraist yet, but the story summary didn't make me want to pick it up any time soon.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Omphalos » Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:40 pm

Man, this goddam book starts slow. I'm about 80 pages in Banks is flirting heavily with making sense, but hasn't gone in for the kill yet.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby SandChigger » Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:34 am

:lol:

Hardcover or paperback? How many pages was it altogether again?

Either way, 80 pages is just scratching the surface, right? :lol:

Are you loving the settings? :D
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Omphalos » Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:31 am

SandChigger wrote::lol:

Hardcover or paperback? How many pages was it altogether again?

Either way, 80 pages is just scratching the surface, right? :lol:

Are you loving the settings? :D


Its the Orbit TP, over 500pp. Actually, he's vague on the settings too. I am pretty sure that Sma and Zelewak (sp?) are both on periphery worlds, but not 100% sure on Sma. The GRO Xenophobe is a bit tedious, what with the crewmembers having colds because its in style, and the ships "representative" being a cute little fuzzy woodland creature that likes to snuggle. So far this thing is practically stream of consciousness. However, last night Z. beat up the kid who wanted/murdered his primitive girlfriend, and it looks like the narrative is going to get a bit more solid here.

Anyway, the book is 20 years old; Banks obviously got better as he aged.

I thought the settings in T'PoG were great; even that thoroughly overblown "Fire" world with the wierd strip of land around the equator. I thought it added a great deal to the story, but was a little silly on its own.

You know what esle I'm noticing now that I have picked up Banks is how many other modern authors are trying to ape him. It's kind of eye opening, actually.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby A Thing of Eternity » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:01 pm

The writting in his newer stuff like Matter is definitely stronger overall. Sometimes I'm not so sure he's being weak in his writing, I think he often just indulges his own very odd tastes.

UoW was hard to follow, very vague pretty much the whole time if I remember right, but it does eventually tie together.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Freakzilla » Thu Jun 24, 2010 12:09 pm

I never did quite grasp the plates or whatever it was they lived on in TPoG.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Omphalos » Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:52 pm

Freakzilla wrote:I never did quite grasp the plates or whatever it was they lived on in TPoG.


The ring is divided into different zones, or plates. Each plate has a unique environment. Chiark orbital was not too old, and only a few plates had been attached to the inside of the rign. They were merely different sections, but only a few had been installed.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby A Thing of Eternity » Thu Jun 24, 2010 4:14 pm

Omphalos wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:I never did quite grasp the plates or whatever it was they lived on in TPoG.


The ring is divided into different zones, or plates. Each plate has a unique environment. Chiark orbital was not too old, and only a few plates had been attached to the inside of the rign. They were merely different sections, but only a few had been installed.


Yup.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby SandChigger » Thu Jun 24, 2010 5:52 pm

Omphalos wrote:Its the Orbit TP, over 500pp. Actually, he's vague on the settings too. I am pretty sure that Sma and Zelewak (sp?) are both on periphery worlds, but not 100% sure on Sma. The GRO Xenophobe is a bit tedious, what with the crewmembers having colds because its in style, and the ships "representative" being a cute little fuzzy woodland creature that likes to snuggle. So far this thing is practically stream of consciousness. However, last night Z. beat up the kid who wanted/murdered his primitive girlfriend, and it looks like the narrative is going to get a bit more solid here.

Huh? Oh, crap! Sorry, major brainfart. I somehow got it into my head that you were reading Matter (probably from the thread title and general inattention. OK, chorus: Reading is...). D'uh. :doh:

NEVER mind! :oops:
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Freakzilla » Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:43 pm

A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Omphalos wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:I never did quite grasp the plates or whatever it was they lived on in TPoG.


The ring is divided into different zones, or plates. Each plate has a unique environment. Chiark orbital was not too old, and only a few plates had been attached to the inside of the rign. They were merely different sections, but only a few had been installed.


Yup.


Did people live on the inside facing the planet or the outside facing the sky? He made is sound like they were on the outside and that just didn't seem to make sense to me.

I was trying to picture it like Ringworld but that didn't jive with the way he described it.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Omphalos » Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:29 pm

Freakzilla wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Omphalos wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:I never did quite grasp the plates or whatever it was they lived on in TPoG.


The ring is divided into different zones, or plates. Each plate has a unique environment. Chiark orbital was not too old, and only a few plates had been attached to the inside of the rign. They were merely different sections, but only a few had been installed.


Yup.


Did people live on the inside facing the planet or the outside facing the sky? He made is sound like they were on the outside and that just didn't seem to make sense to me.

I was trying to picture it like Ringworld but that didn't jive with the way he described it.


On the inside facing the sun. The Orbitals actually are Niven-style ringworlds.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Freakzilla » Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:54 pm

Oooh... I thought it was around a planet. So it was spinning and the Centrifugal force held them to it.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Omphalos » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:53 pm

Freakzilla wrote:Oooh... I thought it was around a planet. So it was spinning and the Centrifugal force held them to it.


Centripetal, but yea.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Freakzilla » Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:27 pm

Omphalos wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:Oooh... I thought it was around a planet. So it was spinning and the Centrifugal force held them to it.


Centripetal, but yea.


Now I'm confused again, I thought centipetal force pulled you in towards the axis, centrifugal force pushes you out, away from the axis... as in being on the inside of a spinning ring.

http://east.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/centripetal
http://east.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/centrifugal

:?
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Omphalos » Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:23 pm

Freakzilla wrote:
Omphalos wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:Oooh... I thought it was around a planet. So it was spinning and the Centrifugal force held them to it.


Centripetal, but yea.


Now I'm confused again, I thought centipetal force pulled you in towards the axis, centrifugal force pushes you out, away from the axis... as in being on the inside of a spinning ring.

http://east.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/centripetal
http://east.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/centrifugal

:?


The force that pulls you in to a center point is gravity. Pretty sure outward pressure on an inner surface from spin is centripetal. Any physics guys out there who can help us?
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby A Thing of Eternity » Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:44 pm

Omphalos wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Omphalos wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:I never did quite grasp the plates or whatever it was they lived on in TPoG.


The ring is divided into different zones, or plates. Each plate has a unique environment. Chiark orbital was not too old, and only a few plates had been attached to the inside of the rign. They were merely different sections, but only a few had been installed.


Yup.


Did people live on the inside facing the planet or the outside facing the sky? He made is sound like they were on the outside and that just didn't seem to make sense to me.

I was trying to picture it like Ringworld but that didn't jive with the way he described it.


On the inside facing the sun. The Orbitals actually are Niven-style ringworlds.


Sorry Omph, if my memory is right I think you're wrong. Freak is right that they're orbiting planets. but you're both wrong about the KIND of orbit.

These are rings, but not so huge that they encircle a planet or star, not even close. They are just a big spinning wheel that creates "gravity" via centerfugal force, while then in turn the whole thing just goes around a planet like any other space station would.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby A Thing of Eternity » Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:48 pm

Omphalos wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:
Omphalos wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:Oooh... I thought it was around a planet. So it was spinning and the Centrifugal force held them to it.


Centripetal, but yea.


Now I'm confused again, I thought centipetal force pulled you in towards the axis, centrifugal force pushes you out, away from the axis... as in being on the inside of a spinning ring.

http://east.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/centripetal
http://east.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/centrifugal

:?


The force that pulls you in to a center point is gravity. Pretty sure outward pressure on an inner surface from spin is centripetal. Any physics guys out there who can help us?


They're both the same thing essentially (or in common use), I'd go read the whole wiki explainations for better understanding. Both involve you being pushed "out" when swung in a circle, but centripetal is more technically correct, centerfugal is the force that causes centripetal or something like that. I'm drunk, so physics are tough right now.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby A Thing of Eternity » Fri Jun 25, 2010 12:41 pm

A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Omphalos wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Omphalos wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:I never did quite grasp the plates or whatever it was they lived on in TPoG.


The ring is divided into different zones, or plates. Each plate has a unique environment. Chiark orbital was not too old, and only a few plates had been attached to the inside of the rign. They were merely different sections, but only a few had been installed.


Yup.


Did people live on the inside facing the planet or the outside facing the sky? He made is sound like they were on the outside and that just didn't seem to make sense to me.

I was trying to picture it like Ringworld but that didn't jive with the way he described it.


On the inside facing the sun. The Orbitals actually are Niven-style ringworlds.


Sorry Omph, if my memory is right I think you're wrong. Freak is right that they're orbiting planets. but you're both wrong about the KIND of orbit.

These are rings, but not so huge that they encircle a planet or star, not even close. They are just a big spinning wheel that creates "gravity" via centerfugal force, while then in turn the whole thing just goes around a planet like any other space station would.

Sorry, I made an error, the orbitals are too large to orbit a planet - they do orbit the star as a planet would, not encircling it.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Omphalos » Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:46 pm

A Thing of Eternity wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Omphalos wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Omphalos wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:I never did quite grasp the plates or whatever it was they lived on in TPoG.


The ring is divided into different zones, or plates. Each plate has a unique environment. Chiark orbital was not too old, and only a few plates had been attached to the inside of the rign. They were merely different sections, but only a few had been installed.


Yup.


Did people live on the inside facing the planet or the outside facing the sky? He made is sound like they were on the outside and that just didn't seem to make sense to me.

I was trying to picture it like Ringworld but that didn't jive with the way he described it.


On the inside facing the sun. The Orbitals actually are Niven-style ringworlds.


Sorry Omph, if my memory is right I think you're wrong. Freak is right that they're orbiting planets. but you're both wrong about the KIND of orbit.

These are rings, but not so huge that they encircle a planet or star, not even close. They are just a big spinning wheel that creates "gravity" via centerfugal force, while then in turn the whole thing just goes around a planet like any other space station would.

Sorry, I made an error, the orbitals are too large to orbit a planet - they do orbit the star as a planet would, not encircling it.


Oh, really? I totally missed that. With the way he was describing light, I thought that it was set up like Niven's ringworld, with shadow squares, or something like that.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby A Thing of Eternity » Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:19 pm

Omphalos wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Omphalos wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:
A Thing of Eternity wrote:
Omphalos wrote:
Freakzilla wrote:I never did quite grasp the plates or whatever it was they lived on in TPoG.


The ring is divided into different zones, or plates. Each plate has a unique environment. Chiark orbital was not too old, and only a few plates had been attached to the inside of the rign. They were merely different sections, but only a few had been installed.


Yup.


Did people live on the inside facing the planet or the outside facing the sky? He made is sound like they were on the outside and that just didn't seem to make sense to me.

I was trying to picture it like Ringworld but that didn't jive with the way he described it.


On the inside facing the sun. The Orbitals actually are Niven-style ringworlds.


Sorry Omph, if my memory is right I think you're wrong. Freak is right that they're orbiting planets. but you're both wrong about the KIND of orbit.

These are rings, but not so huge that they encircle a planet or star, not even close. They are just a big spinning wheel that creates "gravity" via centerfugal force, while then in turn the whole thing just goes around a planet like any other space station would.

Sorry, I made an error, the orbitals are too large to orbit a planet - they do orbit the star as a planet would, not encircling it.


Oh, really? I totally missed that. With the way he was describing light, I thought that it was set up like Niven's ringworld, with shadow squares, or something like that.


I can't remember what he did for light, a big mirror in the middle or what, but I remember it definitely being a smaller ring that orbited the star. I think there is a scene in TPoG where it describes being able to see the other side with a telescope or something.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby SandChigger » Fri Jun 25, 2010 6:00 pm

IIRC the orbitals' rotational axes are tilted with respect to their orbit around the star. (No straight line passes through both sides of the orbital and the parent star.) That means the interior side of the far side (from the star) is exposed to sunlight at the same time that the interior of the near side is darkened within its own shadow. :)

Hang on! I'll whip up a diagrammy! :D

Tadah!

Image

The scale of the orbital is all off; the interior surface/living area would be much flatter ... unless you prefer something more Alpine? :P
Last edited by SandChigger on Fri Jun 25, 2010 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Omphalos » Fri Jun 25, 2010 6:10 pm

I get it, but on the inside of a tilted torus the night will be noticibly longer than the day, and the time that different longitudes go into twilight will be different depending on how high up on the inside of the ring they are. That's gotta be a bitch.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby SandChigger » Fri Jun 25, 2010 7:28 pm

Different latitudes maybe?

Actually, as the orbital goes around its star, there would probably be seasons. The way I've shown it, though, it looks like "spring" and "fall" might be completely dark (or perpetually twilight?), with the far side in the shadow of the near. :shock: So the axial tilt would have to be more complex than what I've shown!

Also, didn't the centripetal/centrifugal thing come up somewhere before? I think I got it wrong that time. Inertia wants you to fly away from the center of the torus in a straight line (it acts centrifugally), but the torus prevents it and that resistance is perceived as a force pushing against you.

Is that right, or did I get it wrong again? :P
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby A Thing of Eternity » Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:55 am

SandChigger wrote:Different latitudes maybe?

Actually, as the orbital goes around its star, there would probably be seasons. The way I've shown it, though, it looks like "spring" and "fall" might be completely dark (or perpetually twilight?), with the far side in the shadow of the near. :shock: So the axial tilt would have to be more complex than what I've shown!

Also, didn't the centripetal/centrifugal thing come up somewhere before? I think I got it wrong that time. Inertia wants you to fly away from the center of the torus in a straight line (it acts centrifugally), but the torus prevents it and that resistance is perceived as a force pushing against you.

Is that right, or did I get it wrong again? :P


No, I think that's right. centripetal force is the force that makes you move along a curvled path (the only available in the situation) though your inertia had originally just been forward, and centerfugal is this expressed in a circular motion, you keep trying to go straight, but are forced "sideways" and as such are pushed "outwards".


I think. Drunk again.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby SandChigger » Sat Jun 26, 2010 8:18 am

You lush! :lol:
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Omphalos » Sat Jun 26, 2010 9:43 am

A Thing of Eternity wrote:I think. Drunk again.


Sacramento did that to me at first. I guess its a consequence of living in a cow-town.
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Hunchback Jack » Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:29 pm

SandChigger wrote:Actually, as the orbital goes around its star, there would probably be seasons. The way I've shown it, though, it looks like "spring" and "fall" might be completely dark (or perpetually twilight?), with the far side in the shadow of the near. :shock: So the axial tilt would have to be more complex than what I've shown!


The axis would have to rotate, unlike the earth's. There's no stationary angle at which the orbital can avoid being "edge on" to the sun somewhere in the orbit, creating the perpetual darkness you describe.

Nice diagram, though! (Although the sun's rays could be represented as parallel at the distances we're talking about :P)

Also, didn't the centripetal/centrifugal thing come up somewhere before? I think I got it wrong that time. Inertia wants you to fly away from the center of the torus in a straight line (it acts centrifugally), but the torus prevents it and that resistance is perceived as a force pushing against you.


Yes. At one point I was taught that the term "centrifugal force" was no longer used, as the force you feel is really just resistance against inertia. Not sure why the distinction, though: there must be some force involved, otherwise you would travel in a straight line.

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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby Freakzilla » Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:26 pm

Hunchback Jack wrote:Nice diagram, though! (Although the sun's rays could be represented as parallel at the distances we're talking about :P)


HERETIC!

Also, didn't the centripetal/centrifugal thing come up somewhere before? I think I got it wrong that time. Inertia wants you to fly away from the center of the torus in a straight line (it acts centrifugally), but the torus prevents it and that resistance is perceived as a force pushing against you.


Yes. At one point I was taught that the term "centrifugal force" was no longer used, as the force you feel is really just resistance against inertia. Not sure why the distinction, though: there must be some force involved, otherwise you would travel in a straight line.

HBJ


{sigh}

In circular motion, centrifugal force is what pulls you outwards, centripetal force pulls you inwards (in the curve).

Ask KJA. :roll:
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Re: Matter by Iain M. Banks

Postby SandChigger » Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:50 pm

:doh:

SHOOT me now! :lol:
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