Getting to know Iain M. Bank and the Culture series

Iain Banks came to controversial public notice with the publication of his first novel, The Wasp Factory, in 1984. Consider Phlebas, his first science fiction novel, was published under the name Iain M. Banks in 1987.

Below is our day by day recap of Iain M. Banks
and the Culture series:


The Hydrogen Sonata was Iain M. Banks’ last science fiction novel before he passed away in June 2013.sample“Sometimes what goes without saying is best said anyway.”
― Iain M. Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata


A brief synopsis of Consider Phlebas

9780316005388Consider Phlebas, the first book in the Culture series by Iain M. Banks, centers around the search and recovery of a damaged Mind on a Planet of the Dead. Minds are extremely powerful artificial intelligence’s. The Planet of the Dead is a forbidden planet to both the Culture and the Idirans which are both at war with each other.

Both the Culture and the Idirans are after the Mind. The majority of the novel follows the character Horza. Horza’s is tasked by his Idirian Empire employers with trying to find a Culture Mind. Horza is unique in terms of being able to alter his appearance and essentially his whole physical identity. Horza, however, is something of an antihero, not really caring about hurting people or much of anything except himself and his mission.  Horza and his crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, encounter many adventures in their quest to get to the Mind. A quest that may lead to their own destruction.



Artwork by Wayne Ashworth

Were you paying attention to yesterdays synopsis of Consider Phlebas?

With which race did the Culture engage in a 48 year long war?

A. The Affront
B. Chelgrians
D. Azad

The correct answer was C. Idirans


Iain M. Bank on writing science fiction:

picWriting science fiction relies heavily on ideas – you can write a perfectly good mainstream novel with no original ideas; you just have to tell an interesting story with interesting characters who have something to say. I don’t mean that as a criticism either: that’s perfectly valid, but you can’t do that with science fiction; you have to have completely new ideas in there somewhere or it doesn’t really cut it as proper SF and I was a bit concerned about that. ”  Iain M. Bank (From Interview: Changing society, imagining the future by Patrick Ward)


Did you know that Iain Banks gave himself a Culture-style name. It’s Sun-Earther Iain El-Bonko Banks of North Queensferry. Read this article written by Banks describing exactly what the Culture is.

A Few Notes On The Culture by Iain M. Banks


Since the publication of Consider Phlebas, Iain M. Banks has became widely acclaimed as one of the most powerful, innovative and exciting writers of his generation. The Culture series comprises nine novels and one short story collection.books

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