British covers, Iain Banks, lost books

Perhaps I loaned it to Kat? Perhaps I've placed it in some not-so-obvious place? Perhaps I'm overlooking it in my desperate attempt to find it?

Where is my copy of Excession?It's all Andy's fault, you see. He pointed me to Iain Banks' Culture series well over a year ago, saying, "Find these books and read them. You'll have difficulty getting them in the States, and the British trade paperback versions are much better, but do what you must."

I did, and was instantly hooked. Even though I'd picked Excession, which was by far the worst book I could've chosen to start with, I immediately began the process of trying to find more. I discovered that Canadian bookstores carried the British trade paper versions of the books, and so when I went to visit Brad, I bought a copy of each Culture series novel that I found.

Gareth flew over from Britain shortly after Look to Windward, the latest book in the series, was released. I begged him to bring me a copy; he did.

By my reckoning, there are five Culture novels proper:

and a sixth, Inversions, which is a Culture novel from a point of view that makes it easy to read as a stand-alone novel.

I don't own State of the Art, and I can't find my copy of Excession. I wouldn't mind reading Against a Dark Background, but I've never gotten around to ordering a copy.

In the States, the books are classified as "out of print," and they quite honestly have horrid covers. I just can't bring myself to hunt them down, since I have such a strong preference for the way the British covers look. I'll eventually order myself a copy of The Wasp Factory so that I can find out more about his non-Culture writings.

It just drives me crazy to look at to see these extremely-enjoyable books marked as "out of print" when I know good and well they are in print and even popular in Britain. Not to mention the prospect of having to order a replacement internationally if my version doesn't turn up.

(Addendum: if you're considering starting the series, I generally recommend you start with either Consider Phlebas or The Player of Games first. Phlebas is dark, while Player is unexpectedly comic in comparison to the rest of the series. Excession will blow your mind if you read it without having read any of the previous novels, and Use of Weapons is one of the darkest books I've ever read. If you want a fluffy, happy series of books, go somewhere else.)