The Culture series is a science fiction series written by Scottish author Iain M. Banks . The stories center on the Culture , a utopian , post-scarcity space society of humanoids , aliens , and very advanced artificial intelligences living in anarchist habitats spread across the Milky Way galaxy. The main theme of the novels is the dilemmas that an idealistic hyperpowerdealing with civilizations that do not share its ideals, and whose behavior it finds repulsive. In some of the stories, action takes place mainly in non-Culture environments, and the leading characters are often on the fringes of (or non-members of) the Culture, as acting agents of Culture (knowing and unknowing) in its plans to civilize the galaxy.
The culture is a society formed by various humanoid races and artificial intelligences about 9,000 years before the events of the novels in the series. Since the majority of its biological population can not be more precise, they have no need for work, but there is little need for laws or enforcement, and the culture is described by Banks as space socialism .   It is a post-scarcity economy  where technology is advanced to such a degree that all production is automated. Its members live mainly in spaceships and other off-planet constructs, because its founders are willing to avoid the centralized political and corporate power-structures that planet-based economies foster.  Most of the planning and administration is done by Minds , very advanced AIs. 
Although the Culture has more advanced technology and a more powerful economy than the vast majority of known civilizations, it is just one of the “Involved” civilizations that take an active part in galactic affairs. The much older homomdas are more advanced at the time of the Phlebas (this is, however, set several centuries before the other books, and culture technology and martial power continues to advance in the interim);  The Morthanveld has a much larger population and economy, but is hampered by a more restrictive attitude to the role of AI in their society. The capabilities of these societies are vastly exceeded by those of the Elder civilizations (semi-retired from Galactic politics but who remain supremely potent) and the Sublimed, entities which have abandoned their material form for a non-corporeal, multi-dimensional existence, but this is a general refrain from intervention in the material world. 
Some other civilizations hold less favorable views of the culture.  At the time of their war with the culture, the idirans and some of their allies considered the control that the Minds exercised over the Culture as a form of idolatry .   The Homomda view the culture as idealistic and hyper-active.  Some members of the culture have related to civilizations, known collectively as the Ulterior. These include the Peace Faction, the AhForgetIt Tendency and the Zetetic Elench . Others simply drop out just or permanently. 
Books in the series
|title||First published||Date in which set||ISBN|
|Consider Phlebas ||1987||1331 EC ||ISBN 1-85723-138-4|
|An episode in a full-scale war between the Culture and the Idirans, told by an Idiran agent. |
|The Player of Games ||1988||2083 to 2088/7 EC (approximate) ||ISBN 1-85723-146-5|
|A bored member of the culture is blackmailed into the culture of a brutal, hierarchical empire. His mission is to win an empire-wide tournament by which the ruler of the empire is selected. |
|Use of Weapons ||1990 ||2092 CE  in the main narrative stream. 1892 CE  at the beginning of the secondary narrative stream.||ISBN 1-85723-135-X|
|Chapters describing the current mission of a culture special agent born and raised on a non-cultural planet. |
|The State of the Art ||1991 ||Various (title story takes place in 1977 CE)||ISBN 0-356-19669-0|
|A short story collection . Two of the works are in the culture universe (“The State of the Art” and ” A Gift from the Culture “), possibly with a third work (“Descendant”) possibly set in the Culture universe. In the title novella , the Mindin support of an Expedition to Earth DETERMINED not to make gold contact Intervene in Any Way, INSTEAD order to use Earth as a control group in the culture’s long-term comparison of intervention and non-interference. |
|Excess ||1996||1867 CE (approximate)  in main setting. 1827 CE (approximate)  and 633 BCE (approximate)  in flashbacks.||ISBN 1-85723-394-8|
|An alien artifact far advanced beyond the culture of minds to lure a civilization (the behavior of which they disapprove) into war; another group of Minds works against the conspiracy. A subplot covers how two humanoids make up their differences after traumatic events that happened 40 years earlier. |
|Inversions ||1998||Unspecified||ISBN 1-85723-763-3|
|Not explicitly a Culture novel, but recounts what appear to be the activities of a Special Circumstances agent and a Culture emigrant on a planet whose development is roughly equivalent to medieval Europe. The interwoven stories are told from the viewpoint of several of the locals. |
|Look to Windward ||2000||2167 EC (approximate) ||ISBN 1-85723-969-5|
|The culture has interfered in the development of a race known to the Chelgrians, with disastrous consequences. Now, in the light of a star that was destroyed 800 years ago during the Idiran War, plans for revenge are being hatched. |
|Matter ||2008||1887 CE (approximate) or 2167 EC (approximate) ||ISBN 1-84149-417-8|
|A special culture agent who is a princess of an early-industrial society.  When she returns to the Regent, she finds a far deeper threat. |
|Surface Detail ||2010||Some time between 2767  and 2967 CE (approximate) ||ISBN 1-84149-893-9|
|A young woman seeks revenge on her murderer after being brought back to life by Culture technology. Meanwhile, a war on the digitized souls of the dead is expanding from cyberspace into the real world.|
|The Hydrogen Sonata ||2012||2375 EC (approximate) ||ISBN 978-0356501505|
|In the last days of the Civilization Gzilt, which is about Sublime, a secret from far back in their history threatens to unravel their plans. Aided by a number of Culture vessels and their avatars, one of the Gzilt tries to discover if much of their history was actually a lie.|
Since the Culture’s biological population live Commonly as long as 400 years  and-have no need to work, They face the difficulty of giving meaning to Their Lives When the Minds and other smart machine can do Almost anything better than the biological population can.  Many try-few-to successfully join contact , the Culture’s combined diplomatic / military / government service and Fewer still are Invited to The Even more elite Special Circumstances (SC) Contact’s secret service and special operations division. Normal Culture citizens vicariously derived from their existence via the works of Contact and SC. Banks describes the culture as “some incredibly rich lady of leisure who does good, charitable works …”  The same need to find a way to increase the growth of the economy and to increase the growth of the economy and militarism Idirans -otherwise the culture and economic advancement would have been has pointless exercise in hedonism . 
All of the stories feature the tension between the culture of humankind, anarchist ideals and its need to intervene in the affairs of enlightened and often less advanced civilizations.   The first Culture novel, Consider Phlebas , describes an episode in the Idiran War, which the Culture’s Minds foresaw would cause trillions of deaths on both sides, but which their utilitarian calculations would be predicted to be the best in the long run. term.  The Idiran War serves as a recurring reference point in the future of the novel, influencing the growth of the population and dividing its residents-both humanoids and AI Minds-along with the pacifist and interventionist ideals.
In particular novels, the Culture-particularly SC and, to a lesser degree, Contact-continues to employ subterfuge, espionage , and even direct action (collectively called “dirty tricks”) in order to protect itself and spread the culture’s “good works” and ideals. These dirty tricks include blackmailing persons, employing mercenaries, recruiting dual agents , attempting to effect change , and even engaging in false transactions against the culture itself.   Thoughts of citizenship, the culture of minds has long been the subject of long-term, perhaps over the years. The culture is willing to use only preemptive, but also retaliatory actions in order to deter future hostile actions against itself. Banks commented that in order to prevent atrocities, “even the Culture throws its moral moral rules-book.”  Andrew M. Butler noted that, “Having established the peaceful, utopian, game-playing tendencies of the Culture, … in later volumes the Culture’s dirty tricks are more exposed.” 
The Culture stories have been described as “eerily prescient”.  Consider Phlebas Explicitly presents a clash of civilizations ,  ALTHOUGH Was this sentence coined by Samuel P. Huntington in 1992.  This is highlight highlighted by the novel’s description of the Idirans expansion as a ” jihad ” and by its epigraphic verses from the Koran , “Idolatry is worse than carnage”.   However, it was as much a “holy war” from the Culture’s point of view. Throughout the series, Contact Us and Special Circumstances show themselves willing to intervene, sometimes forcefully, in other civilizations to make them more Culture-like.
Much of the look at the Wind Warrior is a commentary on the Idiran-Culture war, from a viewpoint 800 years later, with a focus on grievances over the past two years. It combines these with similar reflections on the catastrophic miscarriage of the culture’s attempt to dissolve the Chelgrians’ oppressive caste system. In neither case, however, does not include the consequences of cultural policy. The book lists the limitations of power, and also points out that they are vulnerable and vulnerable. 
Place within science fiction
When the first Culture Stories appeared, science fiction was dominated by cyberpunk , a pessimistic subgenre that worried about, but offered no solutions for, the offshoring of jobs to countries with lower costs or strict regulations, the increasing power of corporations and the threats privacy posed by computer networks. The Culture stories are space opera , with some elements that are free from scientific realism, and uses this freedom in the context of the world. he even rejects the inevitability of capitalism , which both the cyberpunk and earlier space operas had assumed, in creating an anarcho-communist society as the primary civilization of focus. Space opera had peaked in the 1930s, but John W. Campbell asked for more realistic approaches. By the 1960s Many space operas Were satires we Earlier styles, Such As Harry Harrison ‘s Stainless Steel Rat and Bill, the Galactic Hero stories,  while televised and film space operas Such As Star Trek and Star Wars Were Thought to-have dumbed down the subgender.    The Culture Stories did much to revive space opera.  
Banks has been described as “an incorrigible player of games” with both style and structure – and with the reader.  In both the culture stories and his work outside science fiction, there are two sides to Banks, the “merry chatterer” who brings to life the “character of the story”. “.  Banks uses a wide range of styles. The Player of Games opens the door in a way that is more important than ever,  and adopts for the main storyline “spare, functional” style that contrasts with the “linguistic fireworks” of later stories.relates to the function and focal character of the scene: slow-paced and detailed for Dajeil, who is still mourning over traumatic events? a parody of huntin ‘, a shootin’and fishin’ country gentlemen, sometimes reminiscent of PG Wodehouse , when describing the viewpoint of the Affront ; the ship Serious Callers Only , in the conflict enters factions of Minds , speaks in cryptic verse, while the Sleeper Service , acting as a freelance detective, adopts a hardboiledstyle. On the other hand, Banks often wrong-footed by using prosaic descriptions for the grandest scenery, self-deprecation and humor for the most heroic actions, and a poetic style in describing one of the Affront’s killings. 
He delights in building up expectations and then surprisingly the reader. [ citation needed ] Even in The Player of Games , which has the simplest style and structure of the series, the last line of the reveals that was really pulling the strings all along.  In all the Culture Stories, Banks subverts many clichés of space opera . The Minds are not planning to take over the universe, and no-one is following a great plan.  The darkly comic double-act of Ferbin and Holse in Matter is not something most likely in the “normally-faced context of space opera”.  Even the names of Culture spaceshipsjokes are – for example Lightly Seared on the Reality Grill , Experiencing Significant Gravitas Shortfall is (part of a running gag in the series  ) and Liveware Problem (see liveware ). 
Banks often uses “outsiders” as viewpoint characters,  and said that using an enemy of the culture as the main character of Phlebas , the first story in the series, enabled him to present a more rounded view of the culture. [ citation needed ] However, this character makes it possible for him or her to think of anything that might be conceivably happening in the world. 
The focus of the Player of the Games is the lack of reality in his life,  is a blackmailed into a Culture agent, admires the vibrancy of the Azad Empire but is then disgusted by its brutality, [ citation needed ] and wins the finale of the tournament by a style that reflects the Culture’s values. 
Use of Weapons features a non-cultural mercenary who accepts the benefits of the association of culture, including the fact that he is a member of the community, and completes several dangerous missions as a culture agent, but complains that he is kept in the dark about the he has been one of the people of the world, with good reason. 
Look to Windward uses three commentators on the culture, a near-immortal Behemothaur, a member of the race plunged into civil war by a culture intervention that went wrong, and the ambassador of a race at similar culture level to the culture’s. 
The action scenes of the stories are comparable to those of blockbuster movies.  In an interview, Banks Said he Would like Consider Phlebas to be filmed “with a very, very, very big budget indeed” and Would not mind if the story Were Given a happy ending , Provided the biggest share scenes Were kept.  On the other hand, The Player of the Games is related to the psychological tension of the games by which the ruler of the Azad Empire is selected. 
Banks is unspecific about the background details in the stories, such as the rules of the game that is the centerpiece of the Player of Games ,  and cheerfully makes no attempt at scientific credibility. 
Genesis of the series
Banks says he conceived the Culture in the 1960s, and that it is a combination of desire fulfillment and a reaction against the predominantly right-wing science fiction produced in the USA.  In his opinion, the Culture might be a “great place to live”, with no exploitation of people or AIs, and whose people could create greater than themselves. 
Before the first published novel, The Wasp Factory (1984, not science fiction), was accepted in 1983, Banks wrote five books that were rejected, of which three were science fiction.  In Banks’ first draft of Use of Weapons in 1974, his third attempt at a novel, the culture was just a backdrop to the fact that the mercenary was working for the “good guys” and was responsible for his own misdeeds . At the time he persuaded his friend Ken MacLeod to read it and MacLeod tried to suggest improvements, but the book was too much prose and a very convoluted structure. In 1984, shortly after The Wasp Factory was published, MacLeod was asked to readUse of Weapons again, and said there was “a good novelty in it struggling to get out”, and suggested the interleaved forwards and backwards narratives that appeared in the published version in 1990. The novella The State of the Art , which provides the title of the 1991 collection, dates from 1979, the first draft of The Player of Games from 1980 and that of Consider Phlebas from 1982. 
Inversions won the 2004 Italia Science Fiction Award for the Best International Novel. 
The American edition of Look to Windward Was listed by the editors of SF Site as one of the “Best SF and Fantasy Books of 2001” after the UK edition HAD missed out by just one spot the previous year. 
Use of Weapons was listed in Damien Broderick’s book Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels 1985-2010 . 
As a posthumous tribute to Iain Banks, aerospace manufacturer SpaceX named two of ict autonomous spaceport drone ships after-sentient star ships Just Read the instructions and Of Course I Still Love You qui first Appeared in the novel The Player of Games . 
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Banks, IM “Few Notes on the Culture” . Archived from the originalon March 22, 2012 . Retrieved 2015-11-23 .
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d Brown, C. (September 1996). “Utopias and Heterotopias: The ‘Culture’ of Iain M. Banks”. In Littlewood, D .; Stockwell, P. Impossibility Fiction . Rodopi. pp. 57-73. ISBN 90-420-0032-5 . Retrieved 2009-02-15 .
- Jump up^ Parsons, Michael; Banks, Iain M (16 November 2012), Interview: Iain M Banks talks ‘The Hydrogen Sonata’ with Wired.co.uk , Wired UK , archived from the original on 2015-11-14,
It’s my vision of what you do When you’re in that post-scarcity society, you can completely indulge me. The culture has no unemployment problem, no one has to work, so all work is a form of play.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Johnson, GL (1998). “SF Site Featured Review: Excession” . Retrieved 2009-02-15 .
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d Early in the book it is stated that the war has been going on for four years, while the historical appendix states that it began in 1327 CE. Banks, IM (1987). “A Short History of the Idiran War”. Consider Phlebas . Orbit. pp. 19, 467. ISBN 1-85723-138-4 .
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Banks, IM (2008). Matter . Orbit. ISBN 1-84149-417-8 .
- ^ Jump up to:a b Jackson, PT; Heilman, J. (2008). “Outside Context Problems: Liberalism and the Other in the Work of Iain M.Banks”. In Hassler, DM; Wilcox, C. New Boundaries in Political Science Fiction . University of South Carolina Press. pp. 235-258. ISBN 978-1-57003-736-8 . Retrieved 2008-12-09 .
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h Horwich, D. (21 January 2002). “Clash Culture: Ambivalent Heroes and the Ambiguous Utopia in the Work of Iain M. Banks” . Strange Horizons. Archived from the original on May 16, 2008 . Retrieved 2009-02-17 .
- ^ Jump up to:a b Banks, IM (1987). Consider Phlebas . Orbit. ISBN 1-85723-138-4 .
- ^ Jump up to:a b Banks, IM (2000). Look to Windward . Orbit. ISBN 1-85723-969-5 .
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Banks, IM (1997). Excess . Orbit. ISBN 1-85723-457-X .
- ^ Jump up to:a b Banks, IM (2003). The Player of Games . Orbit. ISBN 1-85723-146-5 .
- Jump up^ The shipLimiting Factorwas “built seven hundred and sixteen years earlier in the closing stages of the Idiran war, when the conflict in space was almost over”. Banks, IM (2003). The Player of Games . Orbit. ISBN 1-85723-146-5 . The war in space ended in 1367. The events of the book take place over a period of four years.
- Jump up^ Banks, IM (1990). Use of Weapons . Orbit. ISBN 0-356-19160-5 .
- Jump up^ http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?935
- Jump up^ the events of the book are almost simultaneous with Diziet Sma’s writing an account of her visit to Earth in 1977. In her preface to this account in “The State of the Art”, she dates the visit to 115 years earlier.
- Jump up^ at the end of the main stream narrative, Zakalwe says it has been two centuries since the battleship was taken.
- Jump up^ Horton, R. (March 5, 1997). “Use of Weapons: Review” . Retrieved 2009-02-17 .
- Jump up^ Banks, IM (1991). The State of the Art . Orbit. p. 182. ISBN 0-356-19669-0.
- Jump up^ http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?353224
- Jump up^ The Gray Area Reflects que la Excession is The Most Dangerous Thing to be seen in the galaxy since the worst days of Idiran war, qui a eu lieu le five centuries before.
- Jump up^ It’s stated Dajeil has been pregnant for 40 years.
- Jump up^ It’s stated the GCU Problem Child found the black Dwarf star, and the first Excession, 2500 years before the events of the main plot.
- Jump up^ Banks, IM (1998). Inversions . Orbit. ISBN 1-85723-763-3 .
- Jump up^ Langford, D. (1998). “Iain M. Banks: Inversions ” . Retrieved 2009-02-17.
- Jump up^ The book says it’s about 800 years after the end of the war in the Idiran War.
- Jump up^ The book Refers to theSleeper Serviceincident inExcessionhave Occurring 20 years Previously; However, it also says that theLiveware Problemhas been working for 800 years, having begun at the end of its service in the Idiran War.
- Jump up^ Johnson, GL (2008). “SF Site Featured Review: Matter” . Retrieved 2009-02-17 .
- Jump up^ Banks, IM (2010). Surface Detail . Orbit. p. 400. ISBN 1-84149-893-9 .
- Jump up^ The book states que le of eventsLook to Windwardoccurred about 600 years Earlier ( “HOWEVER, as share of What Were in effect war reparations partner after the debacle Chel, six hundred years ago …”), and Repeatedly Refers to the Idiran as 1500 years earlier; the war formally ended in 1375.
- Jump up^ “Wired.co.uk talks to M Banks about his latest Culture novel, Surface Detail” . Wired . 14 October 2010.) “This one takes place on the culture of culture and culture” was at around 2167
- Jump up^ Banks, IM (2012). The Hydrogen Sonata . Orbit. ISBN 978-0356501505 .
- Jump up^ The book states that the Interesting Times Gang fromExcesshas not been seen in almost 500 years; also, that it is about 1000 years after the Idiran war.
- Jump up^ Shoul, S. ” Look to Windward – a review” . Retrieved 2009-02-15 .
- Jump up^ “A Quick Chat With Iain Mr. Banks” . The Richmond Review . Retrieved 2009-02-15 .
- ^ Jump up to:a b Gevers, N. (2000). “SF Site Featured Review: Look To Windward” . Retrieved 2009-02-15 .
- ^ Jump up to:a b “Iain Banks – Interview” . Archived from the original on 24 November 2007 . Retrieved 2009-02-15 . Originally published in The Guardian , 2000
- ^ Jump up to:a b Butler AM (November 2003). “The British Boom: What a boom? Whose boom?” (PDF) . Science Fiction Studies (93) . Retrieved 2009-02-14 .
- Jump up^ Baker, N. (2003). “Review of Dark Light”. In Butler, Andrew M .; Mendelsohn, F. The True Knowledge of Ken MacLeod . Reading, UK: Science Fiction Foundation. pp. 95-97.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d Duggan, R. (22 December 2007). “Iain M. Banks, postmodernism and the Gulf War” . Extrapolation . Retrieved 2009-02-17 .
- Jump up^ “Samuel P. Huntington, 1927-2008” . American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. January 14, 2009 . Retrieved 2009-02-17 .
- Jump up^ “Idolatry is worse than carnage” is a much quoted translation of the Koran 2: 190, but modern scholars look it as inaccurate, since the word “idolatry” actually means “discord” or “oppression” or “persecution “- seeDuggan, Robert (2007). “Iain M. Banks, postmodernism and the Gulf War” . Extrapolation . 48 (3): 558-577. doi : 10.3828 / extr.2007.48.3.12 . ISSN 2047-7708 . Retrieved 2009-02-17 .
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Mendelsohn, F. (2005). “Iain M.Banks: Excession “. In Seed, D. A Companion to Science Fiction . Blackwell Publishing. pp. 559-566. ISBN 1-4051-1218-2 . Retrieved 2009-02-15 .
- Jump up^ Westfahl, G. (2003). “Space opera”. In James, E .; Mendelsohn, F.Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction . Cambridge University Press. pp. 197-208. ISBN 0-521-01657-6 .
- Jump up^ http://whatculture.com/movie/15-blunders-that-ruined-jj-abrams-star-trek-and-destroyed-the-franchise.php
- Jump up^ http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/documents/introduction72.htm
- Jump up^http://macha.itc.griffith.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/handle/10072/31808/59792_1.pdf?sequence=1
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Holt, T. (November 2007). “Must-read Classic of SF Literature: The Player of Games ” (PDF) . SFX Magazine : 114. Archived from the original(PDF) on October 10, 2008 . Retrieved 2009-02-17 .
- ^ Jump up to:a b Sleight, G. (March 2008). “Locus Magazine ‘s Graham Sleight reviews Iain Mr Banks” . Locus Magazine . Retrieved 2009-02-15 .
- ^ Jump up to:a b c “Review: The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks” . November 18, 2005 . Retrieved 2009-02-17 .
- Jump up^ Poole., S. (9 February 2008). “Review -” Matter “by Iain M. Banks” . The Guardian . London . Retrieved 2009-02-15 .
- Jump up^ Vint, S. (2007). “3 – Iain Mr. Banks: The Culture-al Body”. Bodies of tomorrow . University of Toronto Press. pp. 79-101. ISBN 0-8020-9052-4 . Retrieved 2009-03-09 .
- Jump up^ Palmer, C. (March 1999). “Galactic Empires and the Contemporary Extravaganza: Dan Simmons and Iain M. Banks” . Science Fiction Studies. 26 (1) . Retrieved 2009-02-17 .
- Jump up^ “Interview with Iain M. Banks” . SFF World. 2002 . Retrieved 2009-02-17. (page 2 of the interview, page 1 ishere)
- Jump up^ “I know it’s all nonsense, but you’ve got to admit it’s impressive nonsense.” Banks, IM (1994). “A Few Notes on the Culture” . Archived from the original on 2012-03-22 . Retrieved 2009-03-09 .
- Jump up^ Lowe, G. (24 March 2008). “Iain Banks – Interview” . Spike Magazine . Retrieved 2009-02-17 .
- Jump up^ Gevers, N. (2002). “Cultured futurist Iain M. Banks creates an ornate utopia” . Archived from the original on October 2, 2008 . Retrieved 2009-02-16 .
- Jump up^ Mitchell, C. (3 September 1996). “Iain Banks: Whit and Excession : Getting Used To Being God” . Spike Magazine . Retrieved 2009-02-17 .
- Jump up^ Wilson, A. (1994). “Iain Banks Interview” . Retrieved 2009-02-17 .
- Jump up^ Silver, SH (2004). “SF Site: News (March 2004)” . Archived from the original on May 17, 2008 . Retrieved 2009-02-17 .
- Jump up^ Walsh, N. “Best SF and Fantasy Books of 2001: Editors’ Choice” . Retrieved 2009-02-17 .
- Jump up^ “Archived copy” . Archived from the original on 2013-04-26 . Retrieved 2013-05-17 .
- Jump up^ Calla Cofield (9 April 2016). “SpaceX Rocket Landing Sticks at Sea in Historic First” . SPACE.com . Scientific American.