I do recommend reading sf classics at the same time as you work your way through this year's Hugo shortlist. It's a good yardstick for checking what's changed in the field and what hasn't. This is quite a long book, which ends without an ending, promising a second half of the story which has never appeared (and now that we are thirty years on probably shouldn't); there's lush and intense description, innovative use of pronouns (as in this year's top nominee Ancillary Justice, slavery, brain damage and a fair bit of bloke-on-bloke sex. The far future environment is rather reminiscent of the Culture, though of course the inspiration if any must be the other way round. Not a super fun read, but glad to have absorbed it and let it sink in.