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Are you in pain? Look, who are you? It was ours, was it not? Or did we miss something?

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Edit The Excession of the title is a perfect black-body sphere that appears mysteriously on the edge of Culture space, appearing to be older than the Universe itself. The artifact resists the attempts of the Culture and technologically equivalent societies notably the Zetetic Elench to probe it. The Affront , a rapidly expanding race named for its systematic sadism towards subject species and its own females and junior males, also try to exploit the Excession by infiltrating a store of mothballed Culture warships and using them to claim control of the mysterious object.

As a condition the Sleeper Service demands that Genar-Hofoen , a human member of Contact , attend it to seek a resolution with his ex-lover, Dajeil Gelian , who is the final human passenger on the GSV. They had had an intense love-affair and, after a series of sex changes, had each become impregnated by the other until Genar-Hofoen was unfaithful and Dajeil attacked Genar-Hofoen, killing the unborn child. Dajeil then suspended her pregnancy and withdrew from society for 40 years, and the Sleeper Service hopes to effect a reconciliation between them.

As the stolen Affront fleet approaches the Excession, the Sleeper Service deploys a secret fleet of 80, remote controlled warships, neutralizing the threat. The Excession releases a wave of destructive energy towards the Sleeper Service. In desperation, the Sleeper Service transmits a complete copy of its personality, its " mind-state ", into the Excession, including its knowledge of the conspiracy that has the effect of halting the attack.

The Excession then vanishes as mysteriously as it appeared and the brief war with the Affront is halted. During these events, and after speaking with Genar-Hofoen, Dajeil decides to complete her pregnancy and remain on the Sleeper Service, which sets course for a distant Galaxy.

It also assesses whether the species and societies it encounters are suitable to be enlightened about some unknown further existence beyond the Universe; as a result of events in the story the Excession concludes that the civilizations it has encountered in this universe are not yet ready for enlightenment. It also takes the name given to it by the Culture — The Excession — as its own.

London: Orbit Books. ISBN

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Excession (Novel)

Plot summary[ edit ] The Excession of the title is a perfect black-body sphere that appears mysteriously on the edge of Culture space, appearing to be older than the Universe itself and that resists the attempts of the Culture and technologically equivalent societies notably the Zetetic Elench to probe it. The Affront, a rapidly expanding race which practises systematic sadism towards subject species and its own females and junior males, also try to exploit the Excession by infiltrating a store of mothballed Culture warships and using them to claim control of the mysterious object. As a condition the Sleeper Service demands that Genar-Hofoen, a human member of Contact, attend it to seek a resolution with his ex-lover who lives in solitude on the GSV. They had had an intense love-affair and, after a series of sex changes, had each become impregnated by the other until Genar-Hofoen was unfaithful and Dajeil attacked Genar-Hofoen, killing the unborn child. Dajeil then suspended her pregnancy and withdrew from society for 40 years and the Sleeper Service hopes to effect a reconciliation between them.

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