The main story was only marginally better in that it didn't consist of him fondling his scars and thinking about fucking chairs. That left the paymasters. How to retrieve my weapons in the epilogue? It’s a style decision, but one he overused in all three books I’ve read. My take was similar to those above, but I think the drone was kept in the dark as to the true story of Elethiomel/Zakalwe, only being provided those pieces of information by the ship mind as they were about to be revealed by circumstance. Any sort of link or text post is welcome as long as it is about printed / text / static SF material. Darkense was at some docking area trying to flee the territory when Elethiomel's agents found her at docks. I read this book when I was 15 years old. In conversation, Banks called it the Cosmic Onion theory, an explication of which usually ended with an airy wave of the hand and a blithe “…but of course you have to think of it in seven dimensions.” Our expanding universe is, in higher dimensions, an expanding shell, with slightly older and younger universes as concentric shells outside and inside, which themselves…and so on, ad infinitum. Apologies if the details are a bit off, as it's been a while since I read it. The first of these tells the story of Zakalwe’s latest mission on behalf of the Culture. So to my mind, the clue isn't so much that Elethiomel is always better, but rather that Zakalwe has the same skillset. I hope to come back with something else to add (probably after a second read I think). wtf?? Just a further point on the chair that I couldn't see mentioned. The lesson is not the easy Roddenberry lesson to look on anxiously, but let people solve their problems themselves. How do i move items from my personal satchel to the horse satchel? UoW was actually the first Culture novel he wrote. He believed he was the good soldier but the truth was a bit messier. I bought the recognition of the bone-chair because of the context. use of violence giants people or property to force changes in societies or government, and strike fear in ppl. Skip to content. Thus deepening E's feelings of inferiority beside Zakalwe and his position, helping to engender the later betrayal and split with the family. So my White Arabian from Isabella Lake just died. All the way through we see he is very effective with using things as weapons. Just finished reading UOW and just wanted to post that this was a great discussion thread and a stellar review from Abigail. Though of course, who knows what happened between the breakout attempt and his flight aboard the Absent Friends. He had the man: a character very like him is the voice of a poem Banks wrote in his late teens, “Memoirs,” now lost except to my memory, which retains the lines: Into the night the city burned, and all next day, because the smell had grown too weak to bear.