Friday, December 15, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Iain Banks (1954 – 2013)


Officially Iain Banks, was a Scottish writer.
Iain Banks
Empires are synonymous with centralized—if occasionally schismatized—hierarchical power structures in which influence is restricted to an economically privileged class retaining its advantages through—usually—a judicious use of oppression and skilled manipulation of both the society’s information dissemination systems and its lesser—as a rule nominally independent—power systems. In short, it’s all about dominance.
Banks quotes
That was how divorced from the human scale modern warfare had become. You could smash and destroy from unthinkable distances, obliterate planets from beyond their own system and provoke stars into novae from light-years off...and still have no good idea why you were really fighting.
Banks
“Is all this serious?” Gurgeh said, turning, amused, from the screen to the drone.
“Deadly serious,” Flere-Imsaho told him.
Gurgeh laughed and shook his head. He thought the common people must be remarkably stupid if they believed all this nonsense.




Banks Iain quotes
It was used mainly as a regimental mess and dining hall and so was hung with flags, banners, the hides of enemies, bits and pieces of old weapons and military paraphenalia.
Banks Iain
Something in your voice tells me we approach the question of remuneration.
Iain Banks quotes
The underlying point held; experience as well as common sense indicated that the most reliable method of avoiding self-extinction was not to equip oneself with the means to accomplish it in the first place.
Iain Banks
It looks perverted and wasteful to us, but then one thing that empires are not about is the efficient use of resources and the spread of happiness; both are typically accomplished despite the economic short-circuiting—corruption and favoritism, mostly—endemic to the system.
Banks Iain quotes
The news team, and Hamin, seemed well pleased. “You should have been an actor, Jernau Gurgeh,” Hamin told him.
Gurgeh assumed this was intended as a compliment.
Banks
“I’m very sorry,” the drone said, without a trace of contrition.
Banks Iain
Pity they didn’t devote a little more ingenuity to staying alive rather than conducting mass slaughter as efficiently as possible.
Iain Banks
Empathize with stupidity and you’re halfway to thinking like an idiot.




Iain Banks quotes
The combination of modern ordnance and outdated tactics had, as ever, created enormous casualties on both sides.
Iain Banks
“The war won’t end,” Aviger said. “It’ll just die away...I don’t think the Culture will give in like everybody thinks it will. I think they’ll keep fighting because they believe in it. The Idirans won’t give in, either; they’ll keep fighting to the last, and they and the Culture will just keep going at each other all the time, all over the galaxy eventually, and their weapons and bombs and rays and things will just keep getting better and better, and in the end the whole galaxy will become a battleground until they’ve blown up all the stars and planets and Orbitals and everything else big enough to stand on, and then they’ll destroy all of each other’s big ships and then the little ships, too, until everybody’ll be living in single units blowing each other up with weapons that could destroy a planet...and that’s how it’ll end; probably they’ll invent guns or drones that are even smaller, and there’ll only be a few smaller and smaller machines fighting over whatever’s left of the galaxy, and there’ll be nobody left to know how it all started in the first place.”
Banks quotes
He looked up from it at the stars again, and the view was warped and distorted by something in his eyes, which at first he thought was rain.
Banks Iain
“So it’s false.”
“What isn’t?”
“Intellectual achievement. The exercise of skill. Human feeling.”
Banks Iain quotes
A human exposed without protection to the conditions required to support Affronter life would be dying in at least three excitingly different and painful ways anyway without having to worry about being crushed by a cage of leg-thick tentacles.
Iain Banks
“One of the advantages of having laws is the pleasure one may take in breaking them. We here are not children, Mr. Gurgeh.” Hamin waved the pipestem round the tables of people. “Rules and laws exist only because we take pleasure in doing what they forbid, but as long as most of the people obey such proscriptions most of the time, they have done their job; blind obedience would imply we are—ha!”—Hamin chuckled and pointed at the drone with the pipe—“no more than robots!”
Iain Banks quotes
“One can read too much into one’s own circumstances. I am reminded of one race who set themselves against us—oh, long ago now, before I was even thought of. Their conceit was that the galaxy belonged to them, and they justified this heresy by a blasphemous belief concerning design. They were aquatic, their brain and major organs housed in a large central pod from which several large arms or tentacles protruded. These tentacles were thick at the body, thin at the tips and lined with suckers. Their water god was supposed to have made the galaxy in their image.
“You see? They thought that because they bore a rough physical resemblance to the great lens that is the home of all of us—even taking the analogy as far as comparing their tentacle suckers to globular clusters—it therefore belonged to them. For all the idiocy of this heathen belief, they had prospered and were powerful: quite respectable adversaries, in fact.”
“Hmm,” Aviger said. Without looking up, he asked, “What were they called?”
“Hmm,” Xoxarle rumbled. “Their name...” The Idiran pondered. “...I believe they were called the...the Fanch.”
“Never heard of them,” Aviger said.
“No, you wouldn’t have,” Xoxarle purred. “We annihilated them.”
Iain Banks
The double-sun system was relatively poor in comets; there were only a hundred billion of them.
Banks Iain
It was just like some ancient electricity-powered computer; it didn't matter how fast, error-free, and tireless it was, it didn't matter how great a labour-saving boon it was, it didn't matter what it could do our how many different ways it could amaze; if you pulled its plug out, or just hit the Off button, all it became was a lump of matter; all its programs became just settings, dead instructions, and all its computations vanished as quickly as they'd moved.

It was, also, like the dependency of the human-basic brain on the human-basic body; no matter how intelligent, perceptive and gifted you were, no matter how entirely you lived for the ascetic rewards of the intellect and eschewed the material world and the ignobility of the flesh, if you heart just gave out...

That was the Dependency Principle; that you could never forget where your Off switches were located, even if it was somewhere tiresome.


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