Excerpt from Look To Windward by Iain M. Banks, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Look To Windward

by Iain M. Banks

Look To Windward
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2001, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2002, 496 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt





"It's like holidays."

"Holidays?"

"Yes. Holidays. They used to mean the opposite of what they mean now. Almost the exact opposite."

"What do you mean?"

"Hey, is this edible?"

"What?"

"This."

"I don't know. Bite it and see."

"But it just moved."

"It just moved? What, under its own power?"

"I think so."

"Well now, there's a thing. Evolve from a real predator like our friend Ziller and the instinctive answer's probably yes, but -- "

"What's this about holidays?"

"Ziller was -- "

" -- What he was saying. Opposite meaning. Once, holidays meant the time when you went away."

"Really?"

"Yes, I remember hearing that. Primitive stuff. Age of Scarcity."

"People had to do all the work and create wealth for themselves and society and so they couldn't afford to take very much time off. So they worked for, say, half the day, most days of the year and then had an allocation of days they could take off, having saved up enough exchange collateral -- "

"Money. Technical term."

" -- in the meantime. So they took the time off and they went away."

"Excuse me, are you edible?"

"Are you really talking to your food?"

"I don't know. I don't know if it is food."

"In very primitive societies there wasn't even that; they got only a few days off each year!"

"But I thought primitive societies could be quite -- "

"Primitive industrial, he meant. Take no notice. Will you stop poking that? You'll bruise it."

"But can you eat it?"

"You can eat anything you can get into your mouth and swallow."

"You know what I mean."

"Ask, you idiot!"

"I just did."

"Not it! Grief, what are you glanding? Should you be out? Where's your minder, terminal, whatever?"

"Well, I didn't want to just -- "

"Oh, I see. Did they all go away at once?"

"How could they? Things would stop working if they all did nothing at the same time."

"Oh, of course."

"But sometimes they had days when a sort of skeleton crew operated infrastructure. Otherwise, they staggered their time off. Varies from place to place and time to time, as you might expect."

"Ah ha."

"Whereas nowadays what we call holidays, or core time, is when you all stay home, because otherwise there'd be no period when you could all meet up. You wouldn't know who your neighbors were."

"Actually, I'm not sure that I do."

"Because we're just so flighty."

"One big holiday."

"In the old sense."

"And hedonistic."

"Itchy feet."

"Itchy feet, itchy paws, itchy flippers, itchy barbels -- "

"Hub, can I eat this?"

" -- itchy gas sacs, itchy ribs, itchy wings, itchy pads -- "

"Okay, I think we get the idea."

"Hub? Hello?"

" -- itchy grippers, itchy slime cusps, itchy motile envelopes -- "

"Will you shut up?"

"Hub? Come in? Hub? Shit, my terminal's not working. Or Hub's not answering."

"Maybe it's on holiday."

" -- itchy swim bladders, itchy muscle frills, itchy -- mmph! What? Was there something stuck in my teeth?"

"Yes, your foot."

"I think that's where we kicked off."

"Appropriate."

"Hub? Hub? Wow, this has never happened to me before..."

"Ar Ischloear?"

"Hmm?" His name had been spoken. Kabe discovered that he must have gone into one of those strange, trance-like states he sometimes experienced at gatherings like this, when the conversation -- or rather when several conversations at once -- went zinging to and fro in a dizzying, alienly human sort of way and seemed to wash over him so that he found it difficult to follow who was saying what to whom and why.

Copyright © 2000 by Iain M. Banks

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: All We Have Left
    All We Have Left
    by Wendy Mills
    September 11, 2001 is a date that few Americans will ever forget. It was on this day that our ...
  • Book Jacket: A Great Reckoning
    A Great Reckoning
    by Louise Penny
    Canadian author Louise Penny is back with her twelfth entry in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache ...
  • Book Jacket: Homegoing
    Homegoing
    by Yaa Gyasi
    It's all very well to challenge people to be the masters of their own destiny, but when you&#...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Who Said...

It is a fact of life that any discourse...will always please if it is five minutes shorter than people expect

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay:
$400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.