Surface Detail has everything a science fiction fan could want: Galaxy-spanning space travel, space war, artificial intelligences, many races of aliens, The Culture, effective immortality, after-life experiences, telepathy(of a sort), telekinesis (Star Trek style (“beam me up, Scotty”)), spaceships in huge quantity, many of them with amusing names, ship drones, avatars, and that’s only what I can remember right now.
In addition, it has a complex plot: murder, love, hate, thrills, lots of tasty detail, and (for Banks fans) a delicious surprise in the LAST WORD of the book (so don’t skip).
I shall have to read it again, and soon, because I suspect that I missed some of the exquisite detail. Unlike a number of Banks’ books, it doesn’t have too much carnage at the end.
Highly Recommended if you want a bit of a change from Jane Austen.