Gaming All-Nighters: "The Player of Games" by Iain M. Banks

Review:

The Player of Games - Iain M. Banks

“All reality is a game. Physics at its most fundamental, the very fabric of our universe, results directly from the interaction of certain fairly simple rules, and chance; the same description may be applied to the best, most elegant and both intellectually and aesthetically satisfying games. By being unknowable, by resulting from events which, at the sub-atomic level, cannot be fully predicted, the future remains make-able, and retains the possibility of change, the hope of coming to prevail; victory, to use an unfashionable word. In this, the future is a game; time is one of the rules. Generally, all the best mechanistic games – those which can be played in any sense “perfectly”, such as a grid, Prallian scope, ‘nkraytle, chess, Farnic dimensions – can be traced to civilisations lacking a realistic view of the universe (let alone the reality). They are also, I might add, invariably pre-machine-sentience societies.”

 

 

In “The Player of Games” by Iain M. Banks

 

 

 

“I… exult when I win. It’s better than love, it’s better than sex or any glanding; it’s the only instant when I feel… real.”

 

 

In “The Player of Games” by Iain M. Banks

 

 

 

Some of the imagery in Bank’s novel concerning gaming strategies closely remind me of my own: “In all the games he’d played, the fight had always come to Gurgeh, initially. He’d thought of the period before as preparing for battle, but now he saw that if he had been alone on the board he’d have done roughly the same, spreading slowly across the territories, consolidating gradually, calmly, economically … of course it had never happened; he always was attacked, and once the battle was joined he developed that conflict as assiduously and totally as before he’d tried to develop the patterns and potential of unthreatened pieces and undisputed territory.” This means you know you’ll get a biased sort of review. Just so you’re warned.

 

 

If you’re into SF, read on.

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