4

One recurring motif of the Culture novels of Iain M Banks is the amusing names that the Ships bestow upon themselves. There are too many such for my feeble mind to encompass, but I wonder if they have been catalogued against the novel(s) / novella they appear in and if any Ship appears in more than one book.

8

There's a pretty comprehensive list available on Wikipedia.


The Grey Area is mentioned in several novels but only appears in one, 'Excession'.

The General Contact Unit Grey Area didn't hold with avatars; it spoke through a slaved drone. 'Young lady-'

Excession

and

“It is done very, very rarely, and the result tends to be ostracism. There was a ship called the Grey Area, once. It used to do that sort of thing.

Look to Windward


The Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall is mentioned in two novels but only makes an appearance in one, 'Look to Windward'

“That is the Equator Class General Systems Vehicle Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall,” the avatar said. Kabe saw its eyes narrow fractionally and a small smile formed about its lips and eyes. “It changed its course schedule to come and see the concert too.” The avatar watched the shape grow bigger, and frowned. “It’ll have to move from there though; that’s where my air-burst meteorites are coming through.”

Look to Windward

and

She’d had the luxury of a choice in the matter and had turned down the Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall and the Pure Big Mad Boat Man just because of their ridiculous names.

Matter


Collectively the group known as the "Interesting Times Gang" are mentioned in two novels but only seen in one, 'Excession'.

In fact I am acting on the specific instructions of an SC committee which calls itself the Interesting Times Gang.'

Excession

and

As for the Interesting Times Gang, they have been silent for nearly half a millennium. Several are believed to be in Retreat and at least one has itself joined the Enfolded.

The Hydrogen Sonata


In terms of other recurring characters, Diziet Sma appears in both 'State of the Art' and 'Use of Weapons'

'Their children's children will die before you even look old, Diziet. Their grandparents are younger than you are now ... In your terms, there is no hope for them. In theirs, every hope.'

State of the Art

and

“Zakalwe,” Diziet Sma said, “we diverted twenty-eight million people and a trillion tons of spaceship two months off course to get you to Voerenhutz on time. I’d appreciate it if you’d wait until the job is done before you blow your brains out.”

Use of Weapons

as does the drone Skaffen-Amtiskaw

Another thing; you will notice that Sma has the gall to refer to me simply as 'The Drone' in her letter. I have humoured her matronizing whim quite long enough, and now wish to make clear that my name is, in fact, Fohristi-whirl Skaffen-Amtiskaw Handrahen Dran Easpyou.

State of the Art

and

“The Xenophobe’s heading this way,” Skaffen-Amtiskaw said, suddenly there in front of her, its body shining in the sunlight. “Here.” It stretched a field out, offering her the little chain of bright flowers it had made.
Sma bowed toward it; the machine slipped the chain over her head like a necklace. She stood up and they went back into the castle.

Use of Weapons

The mercenary Zakalwe also makes a surprise return at the end of another novel

He wondered if this counted as a poetic insight. Probably not. Or if it did it had already occurred to countless poets. Still, he’d mention it to her when she arrived. Likely, she’d snort, though it would depend or her mood; instead she might assume that wry, amused expression that told him he was impinging, clumsily if charmingly, upon her territory. Tiny crinkles of skin formed under her eyes when she had that look. It would be worth it for that alone.
He heard steps. The maître d’ crossed the terrace, arrived at his side, bowed fractionally and clicked his heels.
“Your table is ready, Mr. Zakalwe.”


Surface Details

  • This put a big smile on my face, thank you! – D.H. May 18 '17 at 20:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.