Iain M. Banks’s latest novel, Matter, the latest Culture novel. It’s pretty impossible to describe, but basically it’s about power and rivalry and kinship, politics, societies so great that they can play with smaller ones to shape the universe they way they want it. Fascinating, beautiful, gripping, well-written, and in a whole universe so complicated and so utterly different from anything you’ve ever imagined, Iain M. Banks is, well, a genius, to have imagined all that. So, none of your scoffing, read it. I wouldn’t class myself as a typical reader of sci-fi – after all, this is ‘my first foray’, as you see, so forget your preconceptions, leave them to one side, and try something new.