A unique short-story venture from Banks...most of these pieces seemed either a little odd and unfinished or preachy rants. Only a few of these stories are actually part of the Culture world.
The title story is the largest and best thought out piece, and as a voracious reader of the Culture series, I was delighted to meet up again with Diziet Sma and Skaffen the Drone as they recount their visit to Earth for a historian.
Though it seems to ridicule earth thought, in all actuallity it's a critique of Culture society and its cleaned up version of living. After all, if people can live ridiculously long, and not really do a whole lot of work because their living and governing has been turned over to AI Minds, life seems a bit...well not sedate, because it's a little too hedonistic for that, but it's not as if any of them do anything that Matters, if you can follow my thoughts.
Anyway, I did enjoy that story, and it's an important Culture reference to be familiar with.