USE OF WEAPONS. [London]: MacDonald [Orbit], . Octavo, pictorial wrappers. Advance readers copy of the first edition. The third novel set in the "Culture" universe, preceded by CONSIDER PHLEBAS (1987) and THE PLAYER OF GAMES (1988). Part of a series of sophisticated space operas in which the Culture, a technologically advanced human civilization "governed by vast, wry AIs called Minds" uses mercenaries, spies and assassins to change the destiny of planets with "lower" civilizations to suit the Culture, though intrigue, dirty tricks or military action. "USE OF WEAPONS -- constructed with some of the savage inhibiting intricacy of WALKING ON GLASS -- addresses the question of Culture guilt for its manipulation of races not yet free of scarcity-bound behavior; its portrayal of the relationship between a Culture woman and the psychically scarred mercenary in her employ is tough-minded, and provides no easy answers. It is generally thought to be one of the finest Culture novels." - John Clute (SFE online). Broderick and Di Filippo, Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels, 1985-2010 #17. A fine copy. (#163962).