Excession by Iain M. Joining me for this review of the fourth book in Iain M. So let me ask first: what exactly is a black body? Joseph Michael Owens: A black body is an idealized physical body that absorbs all incident electromagnetic radiation , regardless of frequency or angle of incidence. A black body in thermal equilibrium that is, at a constant temperature emits electromagnetic radiation called black-body radiation.
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Excession is the fourth Culture novel by Iain M. As different groups both within and outwith the Culture vie for control of the OCP, Banks explores the moral dilemmas presented to a galactic superpower facing its potential destruction. The Excession of the title is a perfect black-body sphere that appears mysteriously on the edge of Culture space, appearing to be older than the Universe itself.
The artifact resists the attempts of the Culture and technologically equivalent societies notably the Zetetic Elench to probe it. The Affront , a rapidly expanding race named for its systematic sadism towards subject species and its own females and junior males, also try to exploit the Excession by infiltrating a store of mothballed Culture warships and using them to claim control of the mysterious object.
As a condition the Sleeper Service demands that Genar-Hofoen , a human member of Contact , attend it to seek a resolution with his ex-lover, Dajeil Gelian , who is the final human passenger on the GSV. They had had an intense love-affair and, after a series of sex changes, had each become impregnated by the other until Genar-Hofoen was unfaithful and Dajeil attacked Genar-Hofoen, killing the unborn child.
Dajeil then suspended her pregnancy and withdrew from society for 40 years, and the Sleeper Service hopes to effect a reconciliation between them. As the stolen Affront fleet approaches the Excession, the Sleeper Service deploys a secret fleet of 80, remote controlled warships, neutralizing the threat. It transpires that the Affront have been manipulated into their grab for power by members of the ITG who thought it was morally imperative to curb the Affront's cruelty by any means, and intend to use the Affront's theft of Culture warships as an excuse for war.
The Excession releases a wave of destructive energy towards the Sleeper Service. In desperation, the Sleeper Service transmits a complete copy of its personality, its " mind-state ", into the Excession, including its knowledge of the conspiracy that has the effect of halting the attack. The Excession then vanishes as mysteriously as it appeared and the brief war with the Affront is halted.
During these events, and after speaking with Genar-Hofoen, Dajeil decides to complete her pregnancy and remain on the Sleeper Service , which sets course for a distant Galaxy. Genar-Hofoen returns to the Affront, having been rewarded by being physically transformed into a member of the Affront species whose company he finds more stimulating than that of the Culture's people. The book's epilogue reveals that the Excession is a sentient entity that was acting as a bridge for a procession of beings that travel between universes.
It also assesses whether the species and societies it encounters are suitable to be enlightened about some unknown further existence beyond the Universe; as a result of events in the story the Excession concludes that the civilizations it has encountered in this universe are not yet ready for enlightenment.
It also takes the name given to it by the Culture — The Excession — as its own. Banks, Iain M. London: Orbit Books. ISBN Sign In Don't have an account? Start a Wiki. This article is a stub. You can help the The Culture Wiki by expanding it.
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Excession is the fourth Culture novel by Iain M. As different groups both within and outwith the Culture vie for control of the OCP, Banks explores the moral dilemmas presented to a galactic superpower facing its potential destruction. The Excession of the title is a perfect black-body sphere that appears mysteriously on the edge of Culture space, appearing to be older than the Universe itself. The artifact resists the attempts of the Culture and technologically equivalent societies notably the Zetetic Elench to probe it.
Excession by Iain M. Banks
Excession is a science fiction novel by Scottish writer Iain M. It is the fifth in the Culture series , a series of ten science fiction novels which feature a utopian fictional interstellar society called the Culture. It concerns the response of the Culture and other interstellar societies to an unprecedented alien artifact, the Excession of the title. The book is largely about the response of the Culture's Minds benevolent AIs with enormous intellectual and physical capabilities and distinctive personalities to the Excession itself and the way in which another society, the Affront, whose systematic brutality horrifies the Culture, tries to use the Excession to increase its power. As in Banks' other Culture novels the main themes are the moral dilemmas that confront a hyperpower and how biological characters find ways to give their lives meaning in a post-scarcity society that is presided over by benign super-intelligent machines. The book features a large collection of Culture ship names, some of which give subtle clues about the roles these ships' Minds play in the story. In terms of style, the book is also notable for the way in which many important conversations between Minds resemble email messages complete with headers.