The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks
“One should never mistake pattern for meaning.”
The last novel in the Culture series. It's over and I'm feeling a bit sad it's over, but thankful for the ride I've been on over the past year or so. This novel published in 2012 was the last Culture novel as Mr. Banks died in 2013. Enough about my feelings of sadness, onto the novel!
This novel focused on a the Gzilt civilization just about one month before the date they will Sublime. As with most things in the Culture universe, things do not go smoothly. There is a message delivered to the Gzilt, but it is destroyed and not passed on to the population. There are military factions contesting the Sublimation. There are also the scavenger species waiting to pick over the carcass of the Gzilt and find pieces that can improve upon their own civilization.
This novel wasn't as exciting as some previous novels. There were moments of brilliance, but also many long points where we had ship to ship communication about planning what they should do to interfer, 'help', with the investigation into the happenings around Gzilt. There is also lots of traveling around the universe looking for someone who may have information that could unravel some of the mystery of the message that was supposed to be delivered to the Gzilt.
“One should never regret one's excesses, only one's failures of nerve.”
This was still a Culture novel, and I ate it up, but I only rate it 4 stars because standing beside other Culture novels it fails to shine brightly.