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Details about  The State of the Art by Iain M Banks (Signed, US First edition, Hardback 1989)

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The State of the Art by Iain M Banks (Signed, US First edition, Hardback 1989)
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Item condition:
Like New

This book has never been read by me, and is in as near perfect state as I can see.

21 Feb, 2014 19:38:00 GMT
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£8.00 Royal Mail International Tracked | See details
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Leamington Spa, United Kingdom

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Last updated on  18 Feb, 2014 19:52:02 GMT  View all revisions

Item specifics

Condition: Like New : Split the cost with friends
A book that has been read, but looks new. The book cover has no visible wear, and the dust jacket (if applicable) is included for hard covers. No missing or damaged pages, no creases or tears, no underlining or highlighting of text, and no writing in the margins. May have no identifying marks on the inside cover. No wear and tear. See the seller’s listing for full details and description of any imperfections. See all condition definitions- opens in a new window or tab
Seller notes: This book has never been read by me, and is in as near perfect state as I can see.
Subject: Science Fiction & Fantasy Format: Hardback
Subject 2: Short Stories Special Attributes: 1st Edition||Signed
Language: English
The State Of the Art

Iain M. Banks

Publisher: Mark V Ziesing, Connecticut

Publication Date: 1989

Illustrator: Jacket Design By Arnie Fenner

Book Condition: Fine - Signed

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: First American Edition

ISBN 10: 0929480074 / ISBN 13: 9780929480077

You are bidding on a near mint, first edition copy of The State of the Art, which is perhaps best known for having the Culture going to Earth for the first time. Its very collectible and  I wish I didn't have to get rid of this if I'm honest, but circumstances are such that I don't really have a choice... There is a low reserve, so don't be put off by the higher  "buy it now" price.


At 100 pages long, the title novella makes up the bulk of the book. The novella chronicles a Culture mission to Earth in the late 1970s, and also serves as a prequel of sorts to Use of Weapons by featuring one of that novel's characters, Diziet Sma. Here, Sma argues for contact with Earth, to try to fix the mess the human species has made of it; another Culture citizen, Linter, goes native, choosing to renounce his Culture body enhancements so as to be more like the locals; and Li, who is a Star Trek fan, argues that the whole "incontestably neurotic and clinically insane species" should be eradicated with a micro black hole. The ship Arbitrary has ideas, and a sense of humour, of its own.

'Also while I'd been away, the ship had sent a request on a postcard to the BBC's World Service, asking for 'Mr David Bowie's "Space Oddity" for the good ship Arbitrary and all who sail in her.' (This from a machine that could have swamped Earth's entire electro-magnetic spectrum with whatever the hell it wanted from somewhere beyond Betelgeuse.) It didn't get the request played. The ship thought this was hilarious.'

  • Scratch (or: The Present and Future of Species HS (sic) Considered as The Contents of a Contemporary Popular Record (qv))

Original publication and variant editions

  1. "Road of Skulls" - originally published in the anthology 20 under 35, Peter Straus (ed.) 1988, Sceptre, ISBN 0-340-48637-6.
  2. "A Gift from the Culture" - originally published in Interzone #20, Summer 1987 with illustrations by SMS.
  3. "Odd Attachment" - originally published in the anthology Arrows of Eros, Alex Stewart (ed.) 1989, New English Library, ISBN 0-450-50249-X.
  4. "Descendant" - originally published in the anthology Tales from the Forbidden Planet, Roz Kaveney (ed.) 1987, Titan Books, ISBN 1-85286-004-9.
  5. "Cleaning Up" - originally published in a limited edition of 500 by Birmingham Science Fiction Group as the Souvenir Book for Novacon 17 (1987) when Banks was Guest of Honour.
  6. "Piece" - originally published in The Observer Magazine on 13 August 1989 with illustrations by Peter Knock.
  7. The State Of The Art - An original edition appeared in 1989 as a separate book (Mark V. Ziesing, ISBN 0-929480-06-6). The cover art was by Arnie Fenner, and a limited edition of 400 books in a slipcase appeared, signed by both artist and author.
  8. "Scratch" - originally published in The Fiction Magazine vol. 6, No. 6, Jul/Aug 1987.

The non-SF stories in the collection are the only ones he has published under his Iain M. Banks name, which is only usually used for his science fiction.

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