The Player of Games

(Culture, part 2)

The Player of Games (Paperback, 1989, Orbit)

Paperback, 320 pages

English language

Published Aug. 10, 1989 by Orbit.


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5 star (1 review)

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. Mocked, blackmailed, almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the challenge of his life - a very possibly his death.

3 editions

Excellent in building a mood

5 star

The external exploration of a fascist empire from the point of view of a culture game player gives deep insights into the political philosophy of both, and the author himself. The ending leaves a sour taste in your mouth, with a lot of moral ambiguity on who was "right".


  • Science Fiction