Ian Banks died recently and his science fiction works have been significant among SF readers. I was never a fan of his though.
I have finally finished Look to Windward. It is a significantly more interesting story than Player of Games, which is the only other Banks book I have completed. But it is a much more annoying read than PoG.
LtW has three main characters and Banks jumps between them in the telling of the story. Additionally one character is explained in lots of falshbacks so in addition to jumps between characters there are jumps in time. By the way this flashbacked character has another mind implanted in his brain with a device called a soul keeper. I must have backtracked in the book about 10 times to try to understand what was going on.
When the 3rd character is introduced he is hanging upside down and is a human in a non-human body. That is a technological capability in The Culture. Regrowing and transferring bodies is common. But this upside down character drops something like a pen called a “stilo”. He then dithers before deciding to drop after it But what is obvious is that just falling he can’t possibly catch especially since he is bigger and must have greater air resistance. But Banks does not make this obvious physics clear in the way he writes.
But that dropping of the “stilo” where the Newtonian physics with gravity didn’t make sense was important since that is what led the character into getting involved in the whole plot of the story. I get the impression that gravity in the airsphere must be less than the Moon’s but Banks never says that. And characters walk around as though it is Earth normal, Banks never gives the impression the gravity is different. But it takes less than 3 seconds for a falling object to reach 22 m/s in 1 G and about 22 seconds for that to happen on the Moon. The fall seems to take a rather long time as Banks describes it. That is why I think it must be less than lunar gravity. That is why propellers could work on someone’s ankles.
I suppose Bank’s books are really an explanation of The Culture via these characters and not how anything really works.
So for me LtW was better and worse than PoG. I don’t think I will be exploring Banks works any further. I can’t really take The Culture very seriously. So I can only recommend his stuff with caution, depending on the reader’s tastes.