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Download The Player of Games Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Player of Games Audiobook, by Iain Banks Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.16 out of 54.16 out of 54.16 out of 54.16 out of 54.16 out of 5 4.16 (25 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Iain Banks, Iain M. Banks Narrator: Peter Kenny Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Culture Series Release Date: May 2011 ISBN: 9781611138764
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The Culture—a human-machine symbiotic society—has thrown up many great game players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh: the player of games and master of every board, computer, and strategy. Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game—a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, and almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the challenge of his life—and very possibly his death.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Few of us have been exposed to a talent so manifest and of such extraordinary breadth.”

    New York Times Book Review of Science Fiction

  • “Supple prose and subtle manipulations of plot produce a thought-provoking story which is highly recommended.”

    Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy | 2/12/2014

    " Not my favorite Culture novel, for whatever reason, but still well worth a read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Doug Newdick | 2/8/2014

    " A great book - games within, games, within games make this a witty, intellectual science fiction tour de force. Highly recommended. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anna Neal | 2/3/2014

    " Because I am a gamer, I am biased to love this book. I will be recommending it to any and all of my gamer friends. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim | 11/25/2013

    " The best intro to the Culture novels. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erik Nygren | 11/20/2013

    " Liked the idea of 'the Culture' a futuristic pan-Universal collective. Raises thougts on the future of gender and social norms. The book itself is ok, I wasn't incredibly gripped so I read it quickly and without much care. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bookhuw | 11/15/2013

    " Hadn't read an 'M' Banks previously, and had some average experiences with his mainstream fare, so thought I'd give a Culture novel a go as one last throw of the dice. Duly rewarded. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Silvio Curtis | 11/13/2013

    " Jernau Gurgeh is an expert game-player from the techno-utopian Culture, bored with life, and a total jerk. Azad is an oppressive empire of humanoids in one of the Magellanic Clouds, tied together by an intricate game that's supposed to be a perfect model of life and that they use to determine their status hierarchy. Contact, the culture's military and social-engineering organization, recruits Gurgeh to play in an Azad tournament for a purpose they won't they won't explain. Most of the book only impressed on me how obnoxious Gurgeh is and how twisted the empire is, without giving much background information on the games or anything else or provoking any emotion except revulsion. My opinion improved after the last part, though, which finally let up on the disgust and brought in a little bit of the awe I remember from Consider Phlebas. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ian Barker | 11/5/2013

    " A story about a board game player in the Culture universe. Hell yes. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peter | 11/1/2013

    " Really brilliant novel. His depiction of the robots in the novel is often humorous. The alien race, the Azad empire, is also very clever. At times I thought they could have been described in more detail, but otherwise a very interesting story, especially towards the end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Takim Williams | 10/26/2013

    " This was a fun read with a clever premise, but it felt a bit shallow and wasn't as good as the first Culture novel, Consider Phlebas "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anthony Bellaleigh | 10/14/2013

    " A brilliant concept and central character. One of my all time favourite books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ken | 8/29/2013

    " Very good novel. Features the "fish out of water" technique that Mr. Banks often uses with citizens of the Culture that find themselves in "less civilized" societies. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scottdrane | 8/12/2013

    " Love all of Banks' sci-fi books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mathew Walls | 2/6/2013

    " Not one of my favourite Culture novels, but still pretty enjoyable. I didn't much care for any of the characters, but the central concept and story were good. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Michele | 5/2/2012

    " Just remember to stay away from walls of fire when approached. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 JP | 8/29/2011

    " Relentlessly single-minded, occasionally exciting, and packed with indecipherable moral commentary on aggression and dominance. The real triumphs here are the tense blow-by-blow descriptions of a game nobody can understand. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Craig | 6/5/2011

    " My second Culture book and second from Mr Banks. I've thoroughly enjoyed them both (this and Consider Phlebas) I look forward to reading the others and maybe some of Mr Banks other works as well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sean | 5/19/2011

    " My favorite book of the Culture series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joshua | 5/17/2011

    " I Have started reading the culture series in order, and this was a far better book then Consider Phelbas. I kind of saw the plot twist coming just like everyone else, but it was enjoyable none the less. It definitely got me hooked on the series. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Guthers | 5/14/2011

    " The best of the Culture novels in my opinion, just a great story with plenty of Banks's brilliant ideas of how a futuristic society might work, and before he decided you needed 700 pages to tell a story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrei | 5/1/2011

    " Banks is an incredible SF writer and Culture series is one of a kind set of books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Xdyj | 4/24/2011

    " The story itself is a typical Federation v.s. Empire, but the idea of Culture as a post-scarcity, super-liberal utopia is interesting and overall it's an entertaining, humorous story with some nice insights on politics. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 April | 4/16/2011

    " Good characters including some machines with personalities. Liked the game playing and the creation of the civilization centered on game playing.

    It also provided some family bonding - I had to keep my son from stealing it while I was still reading it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joanna | 4/9/2011

    " The first Culture novel I read, and still my favorite, though others are objectively "better." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ben | 3/24/2011

    " Starts a bit slow, with the main character being a bit unlikeable, but really draws you in. The end 50% of the book is unputdownable, and the whole thing is beautifully wrapped up. I loved it - and so glad to have revisited it. "

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About the Author
Author Iain Banks

Iain Banks (1954–2013) was a Scottish author considered one of the most innovative and exciting writers of his generation. He wrote mainstream fiction under the name Iain Banks and science fiction as Iain M. Banks. His books have been adapted for theater, radio, and television. The asteroid (5099) Iainbanks was named after him in 2013.

About the Narrator

Peter Kenny is a talented and experienced actor, voice-over artist, singer, musician, and designer, with over twenty-five years of experience working in theater, film, television, and audio. In recent years he has achieved great critical acclaim for multicharacter recordings of audiobooks by authors such as Iain Banks, Christopher Priest, and Edmund St Aubyn.