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have been designed to cause Krowo problems,
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Iain M. Banks - The Player of Games (1988) v1.0 : Scanned by HugHug and the
apex's luck was almost non-existent.
Gurgeh felt real sympathy for Krowo, who was obviously more upset at the
manner than the fact of the defeat. They were both glad when it was over.
Flere-Imsaho watched the man play during the closing stages of the match. It
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read each move as they appeared on the screen, and what it saw was something
less like a game and more like an operation. Gurgeh the game-player, the
, was taking his opponent apart. The apex was playing badly, true, but Gurgeh
was off-
handedly brilliant anyway. There was a callousness in his play that was new,
something the drone had been half expecting but was still surprised to see so
soon and so completely. It read the signs the man 's body and face held;
annoyance, pity, anger, sorrow& and it read the play too, and saw nothing
remotely similar. All it read was the ordered fury of a player working the
boards and the pieces, the cards and the rules, like the familiar controls of
some omnipotent machine.
Another change, it thought. The man had altered, slipped deeper into the game
and the society. It had been warned this might happen. One reason was that
Gurgeh was speaking Echic all the time. Flere-Imsaho was always a little
dubious about trying to be so precise about human behaviour, but it had been
briefed that when Culture people didn't speak Marain for a long time and did
speak another language, they were liable to change; they acted differently,
they started to think in that other language, they lost the carefully balanced
interpretative structure of the
Culture language, left its subtle shifts of cadence, tone and rhythm behind
for, in virtually every case, something much cruder.
Marain was a synthetic language, designed to be phonetically and
philosophically as expressive as the pan-human speech apparatus and the
pan-human brain would allow. Flere-Imsaho suspected it was over-rated, but
smarter minds than it had dreamt Marain up, and ten millennia later even the
most rarefied and superior
Minds still thought highly of the language, so it supposed it had to defer to
their superior understanding. One of the Minds who'd briefed it had even
Marain to Azad. That really was fanciful, but Flere-Imsaho had taken the
point behind the hyperbole.
Echic was an ordinary, evolved language, with rooted assumptions which
substituted sentimentality for compassion and aggression for cooperation. A
comparatively innocent and sensitive soul like Gurgeh was bound to pick up
some of its underlying ethical framework if he spoke it all the time.
So now the man played like one of those carnivores he'd been listening to,
stalking across the board, setting up traps and diversions and killing
grounds; pouncing, pursuing, bringing down, consuming, absorbing& Flere-Imsaho
shifted inside its
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as though uncomfortable, then switched the screen off.
The day after Gurgeh's game with Krowo ended, he received a long letter from
Chamlis Amalk-ney. He sat in his room and watched the old drone. It showed
him views of Chiark while it gave him the latest news. Professor Boruelal
still in retreat;
Hafflis pregnant. Olz Hap away on a cruise with her first love, but coming
back within the year to continue at the university. Chamlis still working on
its history book. Gurgeh sat, watching and listening. Contact had censored
the communication, blanking out bits which, Gurgeh assumed, showed that the
landscape of Chiark was Orbital, not planetary. It annoyed him less than he'd
have expected.
He didn't enjoy the letter much. It all seemed so far away, so irrelevant.
The ancient drone sounded hackneyed rather than wise or even friendly, and the
people on the screen looked soft and stupid. Amalk-ney showed him Ikroh, and
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Gurgeh found himself angered at the fact that people came and stayed there
every now and again. Who did they think they were?
Yay Meristinoux didn't appear in the letter; she'd finally grown fed up with
Blask and the Preashipleyl machine and left to pursue her landscaping career
[deleted]. She sent her love. When she left she'd started the viral change
to become a man.
There was one odd section, right at the end of the communication, apparently
added after the main signal had been recorded. Chamlis was shown in the main
lounge at Ikroh.
'Gurgeh,' it said, 'this arrived today; general delivery, unspecified sender,
care of
Special Circumstances.' The view began to pan across to where, if no
interfering interloper had changed the furniture around, there ought to have
been a table. The screen blanked out. Chamlis said. 'Our little friend.
But quite lifeless. I've scanned it, and I had& [cut] send down its bugging
team to take a look too. It's dead. Just a casing with no mind; like an
intact human body with the brain neatly scooped out. There's a small cavity
in the centre, where its mind must have been.'
The visuals returned; the view panned round to Chamlis again. 'I can only
assume the thing finally agreed to be restructured and they made it a new
body. Odd they should send the old one here though. Let me know what you
want done with it. Write soon. Hope this finds you well, and successful in [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]