Feersum Endjinn
Iain M. Banks

That’s Iain M. Banks the sci-fi writer, not Iain Banks the modern literary fiction writer. It’s actually the same guy, but he publishes his sci-fi with the middle initial. I’m working my way randomly through all of his sci-fi and I will probably try to read most of his literary fiction as well. I’m yet to hit one, sci-fi or otherwise, that I haven’t enjoyed.

A friend warned me just before starting that this one was a little heavy going, due to the phonetic pidgin. In the end, it wasn’t that bad. Not as bad as Cloud Atlas, but personally I don’t find pidgin that hard to read, others might so be warned.

Imagine a future where nothing goes particularly wrong for the Earth and humanity. There is no apocalypse to be post-; technology keeps advancing, absorbing more of the little things we need to do, gently wrapping a comforting, protective blanket around everything.

Now, project that world and the people living in it forwards several hundred thousand, or possibly million, years…

And then something does go wrong.

Feersum Endjinn was published in 1994: I’d say that aspects of the Matrix’s depiction of the machine world inside the machine are inspired by this book. Apparently, there is also some question about whether this book is actually part of the world of the Culture, from some of Iain M. Banks’ other sci-fi novels, even though it isn’t identified as one. It seems that this probably isn’t the case, due to the back story surrounding Consider Phlebas, but this could be read as a hypothetical explanation of how the Culture originally formed.