In The Hydrogen Sonata, by Iain M Banks, he mentions an all out Galactic war by the Culture within living memory.

It seemed perverse to some, but for all their apparent militarism the Gzilt had remained peaceful over many millennia; it was the avowedly peaceful Culture that had, within living memory, taken part in an all-out galactic war against another civilisation.

Which war is this? The book takes place 500 years after Excession, and the Idiran war was long before that...

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Remember that the Minds are counted as fully alive Culture citizens (a few of which would still be alive who fought in the Idiran war), and there are a number of alien races that live very long lives, and that the Culture has functional immortality through technology available to their 'human' members, even if most of them choose not to take that option. The passage probably is referring to the Idiran war.


The issue here is the mind-numbing length of "living memory" in a Culture than has people living hundreds of years and taking extended periods of storage; that has drones with no biological lifetime to worry about and most of all has Minds.

"Living memory" gets to be a long, long time.

And, indeed, it is the Minds that mostly conduct warfare (and certainly handle the ship-to-ship aspects).

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