The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Science Fiction

Reading Recommendations from Me and My Colleagues

mine is The Player of Games, by Iain Banks


Every year, the University of Chicago Law School asks the faculty for some of our holiday reading recommendations. I usually try to recommend one fiction and one non-fiction book, but this year I'd succumbed to several months of readers' block (not completely unrelated to being the father to a new toddler…) and thought I would have neither. But in the nick of time, I found a fiction recommendation:

Iain M. Banks, The Player of Games

The main character is a world famous game-player who is lured away from his home to play a game so complicated that a multi-planet empire has been constructed around it. Political intrigue, personal intrigue, principal-agent problems, and other forms of game theory ensue, though we never learn the details of this or any game. The book also serves as an introduction to Banks's Culture series, a set of science fiction books set in a post-scarcity society where humans live satisfied but boring lives while artificial intelligence handles the strategic planning. This novel is so captivating that it helped break me out of a several month period of reader's block.

You can click here for the rest from my colleagues.

(A new post on a non-fiction recommendation should be coming soon…)