by Iain M Banks, 2000 It really is out in paperback, whatever Amazon may say.
It's always a pleasure to read another Culture scifi novel by Iain M Banks. The Culture is such a wish-fulfilment society: energy is free, A.I.s have evolved way past humans but still enjoy having them around, and people get up to various frivolous things, and some less fivolous like getting involved with non-Culture races, and usually kicking-butt in a fine high-minded way.
In this book, I liked the scenes with the behemothaurs in the gas planet -- they are witty and well-imagined. The plot promises to get exciting at that point, but doesn't quite pan out. I suppose the main theme is about death and oblivion in a society where these are generally not necessary, but the real fun of the book is just touring about the orbitals. I rate this better than some of his recent works, though not as good as my favorites, like The Player of Games and Use of Weapons.