The Player of Games

The Player of Games

Downloadable Audiobook - 2011
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The Culture--a human/machine symbiotic society--has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. The Player of Games. Master of every board, computer, and strategy. Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game...a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor..
Publisher: Ashland : Blackstone Audio, Inc., 2011
ISBN: 9781611136753
Branch Call Number: DOWNLOADABLE AUDIOBOOK
Characteristics: 1 sound file : digital
digital
Additional Contributors: Kenny, Peter
OverDrive, Inc
Notes: Duration: 11:25:17

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IndyPL_SteveB Mar 04, 2019

This is part of “The Culture” series, a “non-linear” science fiction series; i.e. the books are set in a particular background, but the series can be read in any order. The Culture is a vast civilization distributed throughout our galaxy, largely run by intelligent machines. The “Player of Games” is Gurgeh, a man who has specialized in gaming and game theory for decades. But he is getting so bored, he is tempted to cheat at games just to keep his excitement level up. He is asked to go to a rival civilization, the Azad Empire, to take part in the game of Azad, which is the center of their culture. The winners of the game become the Emperor and other leaders of the Empire.

The novel becomes both a political thriller and a thought piece about the obsessions of competition, especially when winning or losing is a life and death matter. It’s an excellent novel, with a deeply thought out main character, and constant tension, even when it seems not much is happening. (A LOT is happening, even though Gurgeh often misses the implications.)

unbalancedbutfair Aug 18, 2012

At first I disliked the narrator's characterizations but they grew on me. The longer you listen the more you can appreciate the subtlety of them and the skill of narrator. Not only is this a story worth reading, but it's worth listening to as well. Very good book very well narrated. The story itself took some time to get into but the build is worth it. Multiple times I was worried that the author had over committed and overextended himself but I was wrong. The build is perfect, the story provoking, the ideas...well worth extended consideration. Even where I don't agree with his interpretations I cannot but appreciate his analysis. Too few authors manage to be balanced and provoking at the same time. This is everything good sci-fi ought to be.

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