Babas Welt
Bücherliste 2019

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Iain Banks, A Song of Stone

Ich brauchte ein bißchen länger für das Buch, weil mir über die Feiertage einfach die Zeit fehlte und darüber hinaus der größtenteils der zweiten Person gehaltene Erzählstil mehr Aufmerksamkeit erforderte. Und ich konnte einfach das Gefühl es schon einmal gelesen zu haben nicht abschütteln, obwohl es keine Passage gab, die mir definitiv vertraut war. Aber obwohl oft sehr bedrückend ist es ein faszinierendes Buch, wie alles von Banks.

I am cells; no more, I think. This present assemblage - bones, flesh and blood - is more complicated than most such gatherings to be found on the world's rude surface, and my quorum of sense-holding plasm may be greater than other animals can muster, but the principle's the same, and all our extra wisdom does is let us know the truth of our own insignificance more fully. My body, my whole dazed being, seems like little more than a pile of autumn leaves, blown and bunched by a swirling wind and trapped, coralled by a chance of ancillary geography into a localised drift. Of what greater consequence am I than that temporary heap of leaves, that collection of cells, collectively dead or dying? How much more do any of us signify?
Yet still we do ascribe a greater pain and joy and weight of import to ourselves than to any mere clump of matter, and feel it too. We seduce ourselves with our own images, perhaps. The leaf dryly tumbling along the road is not really like a refugee.

(Iain Banks, A Song of Stone, 1997)

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Iain Banks, Complicity

Ich muß zugeben, dass ich bis zum 2. Chapter wirklich dachte, ich hätte das Buch noch nicht gelesen, dabei ist es garnicht so lange her. Wahrscheinlich weil es eine Leihgabe von Regina war und somit keine Taschenbuchausgabe in meinem Regal steht, und ich es zusätzlich im Kopf mit einem Buch aus der Jack Parlabane Serie von Christopher Brookmyre verwechselte. Aber auf jeden Fall hat es sich gelohnt, es wiederzulesen, und ich wünschte mit jetzt, Banks hätte auch mal einen 'richtigen' Krimi geschrieben. Vielleicht mit diesem DI McDunn. Aber was hilfts.

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Gesammelte erste Sätze

Apparently I am what is known as an Unreliable Narrator, though of course if you believe everything you're told you deserve whatever you get.

(Iain Banks, Transition, 2009)
.

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Bücherliste 2019

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Iain Banks, Transition

Die Lektüre dieses Buches zog sich etwas hin, weil ich zur Zeit zwei Bücher parallel lese (Tanith Lees Revolutionsepos 'The Gods are Thirsty' gibt es nach wie vor nicht als E-Book und ist einfach zu dick und schwer um unterwegs gelesen zu werden), aber auch weil die verwickelte Handlung mit den mehrfach wechselnden POV eine echte Herausforderung war. Aber natürlich lohnte es sich, wie immer bei Banks. Hie und da erschien es mir fast ein bißchen Science Fiction-mäßig und ich frage mich, ob Banks nicht mal angedacht hat, es unter Iain M. Banks zu veröffentlichen, aber das ist jetzt eh akademisch ...

And don't forget Goldman's Law: nobody knows anything. Nobody knows what will work. That's why they make so many remakes and Part Twos; what looks like lack of imagination is really down to too much, as execs visualise all the things that could go wrong with a brand new, untested idea. Going with something containing elements taht definitely worked in the past removes some of the terrifying uncertainty.

"The greed thing," I say to her. "Everybody's greedy, Chloé. You're greedy. You might not think so but I bet you are. We're all out for number one. It's just that some of us don't kid ourselves about it, know what I mean? We all want everybody to think the same as we do and we think they're stupid if they think any different. And when it comes to love and relationships, we're all looking for the right person to worship us, because that'll make us happy, aren't we? Wanting to be happy - that's selfish, isn't it? Even wanting there to be no more poverty or violence - I mean, it's all bollocks cos there always will be both. But that's us being selfish cos we want the world to be the way we personally think it ought to be, know what I mean? You can dress it up as wanting other people to be happy, but in the end it comes down to you and your own selfishness, your own greed."

(Iain Banks, Transition, 2009)

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Iain Banks, The Business

Mittlerweile scheint es mir, als wäre Iain Banks besonders gut bei der Beschreibung von Organisationen oder Familien, Mikrokosmen wie Kleinstädten oder Sekten, und dieses Buch über ein im Hintergrund agierendes, aber überaus mächtiges Weltunternehmen, das nur lapidar 'The Business' genannt wird (bei Gelegenheit muss ich mal nachsehen, ob und wie das übersetzt wurde) und im Großen und Ganzen kein schreckenerregender Mogul zu sein scheint wie beispielsweise irgendeiner der gegenwärtigen Top Five sondern eher von rein pragmatischen Geschäftssinn betrieben wird, ist das keine Ausnahme. Und obwohl mir im Nachhinein klar ist, dass die Ich-Erzählerin nur weiblich sein konnte, bin ich Banks doch sehr dankbar für Katie Telmans starken und einnehmenden Charakter. Zum Ende wurde die Geschichte so spannend, dass ich die letzten 30% in einem Rutsch zuende las. Besser geht es nicht. Obwohl - ein paar Bände aus Banks' Oeuvre fehlen mir ja noch.

Turdly, we practise total financial transparency: any company officer may inspect the accounts of any other. This has become much easier technically in recent years, of course, with the advent of computers and electronic mail, but the principle has been around since the first century AD. Its effect is to make corruption as a rule either unachievable or only possible at a trivial scale.
The main downside is complication. This was the case when people had to open up cabinets full of wax tablets for inspection, when they had to unroll papyrus scrolls, when they had to unchain books from counting-room clerks, when they had to order old ledgers from storage, when they had to search through microfiches, and it is certainly the case now with computerised accounts; over two millenia, every technological advance that promised to make the task easier has been closely and seemingly inevitably accompanied by an increase in the complexity of the figures and systems involved.
.
'.. I think it is wonderfully romantic to marry for love alone, but I have seen so many people do so and live to regret it. There are some lucky people, no doubt, for whom everything works out just perfectly, but I have never met any. For most people, I think, to marry for love is to marry ... at the summit, as it were. It must be downhill from there on. To marry for other reasons, with one's head and not just one's heart, is to embark on a different sort of journey, uphill, I suppose,' he said, looking embarrassed. 'My goodness, I do not choose my metaphors so well, do I? But it is a journey which offers the hope that things will become gradually better and better between the people concerned.'
.
A superstitious person would have thought that somehow the little carving had wanted to stay in Thulahn. A Freudian ... well, never mind what a Freudian would have thought. Luce had asked me once was I a Freudian? I'd told her no, I was a Schadenfreudian.

(Iain Banks, The Business, 1999)

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Iain Banks, The Bridge

Nicht mehr allzulange, und ich werde wohl alle (regulären, i.e. Nicht SF) Bücher von Iain Banks durchhaben und das ist so ewig schade. Aber noch ist es nicht so weit. Dies ist ein sehr früher Band von 1986, der aber wie sovieles von Banks absolut zeitlos wirkt und sich wohl problemlos in die Gegenwart übertragen ließe. Ziemlich verwirrend am Anfang, obwohl ich von der Synopsis ungefähr wußte worum es ging, und dann komplett faszinierend, allein von den Welten her, die der Erzähler durchirrt während sein anderes, physisches Ich im Koma liegt. Besonders die Passagen mit dem Conan-ähnlichem Barbar taten es mir an mit ihrem tiefschwarzem Humor.

Pain.Circle of pain on chest. Like a brand, a circular impression (am I a figure on a stamp, postmarked? A piece of parchment embossed with 'From the library of ...... ' Please complete:
(a) God, Esq.
(b) Nature (Mrs)
(c) C. Darwin & Sons
(d) K. Marx plc
(e) all of the above)).

Afterwards she took out tarot cards and started to tell his fortune. She was interested in the tarot, in astrology and sun signs and the prophecies of Nostradamus; she didn't believe deeply in them, they just interested her. He thought that was worse than believing in them completely.

I am a lucky bastard, he thought. I have so much, so much around me that is good. Not everything; I still want more, I probably want more than I could handle; in fact I probably want things that would only make me unhappy if I had them. But even that's OK; that's still part of the contentment.
If my life was a film, he thought, I'd roll the credits now; fade on this beatific smile in an empty room, the man on a ladder making things better, renovating, improving. Cut. Print. The End.

Oh god, back to Thatcher's Britain and Reagan's world, back to all the usual bullshit. At least the bridge was predictable in its oddness, at least it was comparatively safe.
Well, maybe not. I don't know.

I know one thing: I don't need the machine to tell me the choice. The choice is not between dream and reality; it is between two different dreams.
One is my own; the bridge and all I made of it. The other is our collective dream, our corporate imaginery. We live the dream; call it American, call it Western, call it Northern or call it just that of all we humans, all life. I was part of one dream, for good or ill, and it was half-nightmare and I almost let it kill me, but it hasn't. Yet anyway.

(Iain Banks, The Bridge, 1986)

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Iain Banks, Stonemouth

Das vorletzte (nicht SF) Buch von Banks erwies sich wieder als hochgradig faszinierend, so dass es mir wirklich leidtat als ich zum Ende kam, obwohl das Drama am Schluß natürlich wieder entsetzlich spannend war. Gerade bei der Beschreibung von solchen Mikrokosmen wie hier die Kleinstadt an der schottischen Küste in der zwei Familienclans den Ton angeben war Banks so außerordentlich, dass mir der Gedanke, was er noch alles hätte schreiben können mir immer wieder fast unerträglich ist.

"Everybody says kids are what it's all about, don't they? But then that just means you have kids so they can have kids and then those kids can have kids too, and so on and so on ad infinitum, and you have to stop at some point and think, Hold on, shouldn't some of it be about me, or, well, about any of the people from any of those generations? Shouldn't we have something else apart from just being a link in this chain of procreation for the sake of it?" She sighed again, arranged Hannah's hair just so. "Not as though the human race is in any danger of dying out. And we have choice now."
"No time machines, though."
"No, no time machines," she agreed. Her smile was still as beautiful as it had been.

I suspect we all sort of secretly think our lives are like these very long movies, with ourselves as the principal characters, obviously. Only very occasionally does it occur to any one of us that all these supporting actors, cameo turns, bit players and extras around us might actually be in some sense real, just as real as we are, and that they might think that the Big Movie is really all about them, not us; that each one of them has their own film unreeling inside their own head and we are just part of the supporting cast in their story.

I still have a vague feeling that there might be more to existence than can be experienced with our surface senses, so technically I guess I'm an agnostic, but nothing's more guaranteed to bring out my inner atheist than listening to the witterings of a holy man who thinks all the answers are already there in some book, whether it was written millenia ago or last week.

(Iain Banks, Stonemouth, 2012)

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