Iain M. Banks is a serious writer. You can tell, because he has a serious website, serious book covers, and a serious, deliberate style that moves along at a snail’s pace. However, if you’re willing to commit yourself to a million-page-long story that develops really, really slowly, then Banks’s novels can be a tremendously rewarding experience.
Aftertaste: Did we mention the pacing? Because it is slow.
Other Recommendations: The Vlad Taltos novels, by Steven Brust