Matter by Iain M. Banks

When the novel Matter was new, and there still was a useful Usenet news, most of the comments about the book in the literary science fiction group were along the lines of:

"Yes, it's a book by Iain M. Banks, so of course it's a good book, but it's not as good as his earlier Culture books."

I disagreed then and I disagree now. I didn't write anything then but now, when I've re-read both Matter and a couple of other Culture novels, I can be more certain when I say it is as good the previous Culture novels. Maybe not the best but definetly as good as the other are.

That said, it didn't make as strong impression on me as the first ones (Use of Weapons and Consider Phlebas) I read did. And that I think is the heart of the matter when people say newer works by popular creators isn't as good as their earlier works: It doesn't have the same chance of making the same impression because it's already made.

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