The Player of Games is the second book in the Culture series and tells the story of a man who travels to a distant Empire to play the game of Azad, the game that defines much of the aliens’ world. I’ve enjoyed it a lot more than the first book, Consider Phlebas, and it’s one of my favorite SF books.
The book was more linear that the first one, the events were well structured and the characters a lot more interesting, probably because the action is more contained and not split into so many episodes, with so many different characters.
Throughout reading the book I wondered if the game was possible on this level and if the lack of a real description of the game was because it wasn’t fully defined in the first place, with the only clear details being the ones needed for the plot.
My favorite characters are, again, the drones, and I love the way AI is handled in this series, with real personalities and real intelligence, not just a few bursts of human-like thought and then nothing.