Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Business

I just finished The Business by Iain Banks. While the world each novel takes place in is very different (late 1990's Earth vs. a galaxy far far away) it reminded me in tone of Against a Dark Background by Iain M. Banks. I am 99.999% sure that those are the same people.

A quick look at the inside cover of The Business shows a list of books "Also by Iain Banks" followed by a list titled "and by Iain M. Banks."

Anyways, M. is best known for his often operatic science fiction and some of his later stuff I have loved, especially Inversions but also Against a Dark Background. I had never heard of any of M-less' stuff until I read The Business.

Both The Business and Against a Dark Background feature a female protagonist who early on finds herself over her head in a situation where she is mostly just reacting to other people's actions and decisions. From there the novels take their different paths. Against a Dark Background continues in that vein with the situtation turning bleaker and bleaker and bloodier for our heroine until things come to a conclusion at the very end of the book. The Business is like the alternate ending where our heroine actually initiates actions of her own and succussfully takes the fight to bad guys.

Besides interesting characters and an interesting plot, The Business also has interesting things to say (sometimes in a very theoretical sense) about business practices and ethics.

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