AUC Philologica (Acta Universitatis Carolinae Philologica) je akademický časopis publikující jak lingvistické, tak literárně historické a teoretické studie. Nedílnou součástí časopisu jsou i recenze odborných knih a zprávy z akademického prostředí.

Časopis je indexován v databázích CEEOL, DOAJ, EBSCO a ERIH PLUS.

AUC PHILOLOGICA, Vol 2022 No 2 (2022), 93–106

The State at Play: Iain M. Banks’s Gaming Galactic Empires

Mirka Horová

zveřejněno: 16. 03. 2023


This article sets out to explore the dynamics of play in three selected science-fiction novels by the contemporary Scottish author Iain M. Banks. Drawing on the typology of literary play designed by the German theoretician Wolfgang Iser, the article focuses particularly on Banks’s second novel from the Culture series, The Player of Games (1988), concentrating on the ludic dynamics that inform and form these texts in narrative, discursive and thematic terms. Highlighting the author’s complex conceptual critique of empire and civilisation and their contested relationship with the individual, the article is especially interested in uncovering the intricacies of power paradigms in the context of Banks’s bespoke, ever-ambivalent vision of a cosmic utopia and its counterparts, where the interconnectedness of being and playing is performed on key levels.

klíčová slova: Iain M. Banks; the Culture; science fiction; play theory; Wolfgang Iser; The Player of Games; empire; utopia; games

reference (15)

1. Banks, Iain M. Consider Phlebas. London: Orbit, 1987.

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6. Gualeni, Stefano. "Fictional games and utopia: The case of Azad". Science Fiction Film and Television, 14.2 (Summer 2021): 187-207. CrossRef

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10. Kincaid, Paul. "Backing Into the Culture", in Iain M. Banks. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2017. 25-51. CrossRef

11. Labuschagne, Dalene, "Deconstructing Utopia in Science Fiction: Irony and the Resituation of the Subject in Iain M. Banks's The Player of Games". Journal of Literary Studies, 27.2 (July 2011): 58-76. CrossRef

12. Miller, Gavin. "Games without competition: Iain M. Banks's 'play ethic'", in Playing the Universe: Games and Gaming in Science Fiction. Edited by David Mead and Pawel Frelik. Lublin: Maria Curie-Skłodowska University Press, 2007. 55-65.

13. Palmer, Christopher. "Galactic Empires and the Contemporary Extravaganza: Dan Simmons and Iain M. Banks". Science Fiction Studies, 26.1 (March 1999): 73-90.

14. Waddell, Calum. "Iain M. Banks: Heroes and Inspirations". SFX (24 July 2012). (accessed 20 December 2021).

15. Walter, Damien. "30 years of Culture: what are the top five Iain M. Banks novels?", The Guardian (6 February 2017), (accessed 20 December 2021).

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The State at Play: Iain M. Banks’s Gaming Galactic Empires is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

vychází: 4 x ročně
cena tištěného čísla: 150 Kč
ISSN: 0567-8269
E-ISSN: 2464-6830

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