Look to Windward (Culture)
Playful. Witty. Magnificent. Masterful. These are just a few descriptors I could apply to this incredibly well built story from Iain M. Banks. I really loved The Player of Games but Look to Windward may have surpassed it.
Why? I think what makes this book so incredible for me is the mind-expanding scope of the story. In one chapter you’re experiencing the tragic sorrow of bereavement and in the next you are at the very edge of the galaxy where massive planet-sized creatures serve as the biologic equivalent of orbitals, housing great stores of life.
The Culture pervades this book and, for those following along, truly are at the height of their game. The subject is benevolent interference in other civilizations, just like Inversions I might add, and the theme is drawn to a fine point through the example of a “failed” intervention. Are the Minds truly “good”? Are the Culture citizens complicit though laissez-faire?
In short, it’s one of my favorite books.