Finished listening to Consider Phlebas. On one hand, I was surprised this book was written in ’87. It seems to be 10 years ahead of its time at least.
But the ending left me feeling unsatisfied, in an almost Warhammer 40K manner. You see, in Warhammer 40K, different factions usually chase an ancient artifact. In case of “Consider Phlebas”, it’s an artifact alright, although not ancient, but brand new: unique kind of AI, that managed to teleport itself into a planet, something no other AI managed to pull previously.
There’s a lengthy sequence of firefight for that artifact between humans and a couple of 3 meter tall warlike “Idiran”. Some people get killed. The protagonist decides to keep one of the Idirans captive. It escapes, and kills or mortally injures everybody else, besides a single crew member, that manages to return the AI to her people.
But then, the AI doesn’t seem to play any role in the ensuing war. Just like in W40K, where every artifact gets destroyed “because Chaos”, or, in other words, because no singular even can have any effect on the overarching story.