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Publisher's Summary

Two and a half millennia ago, the artifact appeared in a remote corner of space, beside a trillion-year-old dying sun from a different universe. It was a perfect black-body sphere, and it did nothing. Then it disappeared. Now it is back.
©1996 Iain M. Banks (P)2013 Hachette Digital
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Critic Reviews

"Gripping, touching and funny." (TLS)
"A dizzying adventure." (Daily Mail)
"Explosive but tender." (Sunday Times)
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Customer Reviews

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By Peter on 12-01-13

A perfect team(?) at the top of their game

Peter Kenny has brought a whole new experience to my understanding the writing of Iain Banks. Mr Kenny seems to have a number of uncanny knacks of what I believe a true storyteller should have, an ancient art form that went out of favour with the invention of the printing press and now, thanks to audio books, is making a comeback.
A little too dissimilar to how Messrs. Kubrick and Clarke created the universe of 2001 apart but together to be comparable, Mr Kenny was not a co-creator yet he is a collaborator. His obvious skill, talent and intelligence as an actor, most essentially I believe with radio-play experience, has given him a gift permitting him to join Mr Banks in 'The Culture' in a way I think few others could hope to achieve.
I would encourage any fan of story telling, whether written word or film or stage play or photojournalism etc., who don't mind a bit of the ol' spec-fic to give this a go. While I believe there are other readings by Mr Kenny as powerful as this, none are better and this will forever remain a performance not to be missed.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful


By Deborah Morgan on 03-30-15

My favourite Culture series book

Complex, witty and thought-provoking. Ian Banks at his very best. Sleeper Service is surely one the best heroic characters of all his books. I must add that Peter Kenny does the most superb job as narrator. His range of accents and nuanced delivery is delightful I wish he'd get to work on Terry Pratchett's body of work next!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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By Marc on 03-22-13

Superb story, better narration

This book is classic sci-fi covering all scales. There are human stories, various races, Culture Ship Minds and even, from certain viewpoints, the microscopic. Although it contains a huge amount of technical information on the Ships (the story being largely concerned with these) it never becomes bogged down in pointless detail and remains constantly fascinating. It treads a fine line between fleshing out the Culture universe as a whole and maintaining a strong element of mystery. It's great to see the all-powerful and infinitely intelligent ship Minds totally stumped and humbled by something they can't even begin to explain.



Peter Kenny's reading is of such a high standard that this constitutes, to my mind, a definitive edition of the story. This reading manages that rare feat of actually improving on the original work. Here's hoping that Iain M. Banks keeps on writing them and that Peter Kenny keeps on reading them!

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful


By Raymond Moffat on 03-14-13

Masterpiece!

I have waited a long time for 'Excession' to be available on Audible and was frankly worried that it couldn't be converted into an audio book but I needn't have worried! Peter Kenny's narration is superb, his interpretation of the characters is spot on and the book is wonderfully presented! I believe this to be 'Iain M. Banks' finest work and I have read them all, it is a true Sci-fi masterpiece on an epic scale, the characters, both the ships AI's, as well as the people, both Contact and alien, are well rounded and interesting, you want to hear their stories and you are sad when the book comes to it's thrilling climax! Lets hope there is a sequel soon! 5*

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21 of 23 people found this review helpful

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By Chris O'Neill on 02-25-16

A rollicking Culture Novel

Loved it - Banks' humour comes out loud and clear in Kenny's excellent narration and voice craft. Highly recommended!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Jacob on 04-07-16

pretty good but suffers from transfer to audio.

this novel would be more enjoyably in print because of the technical text devices it uses.

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