I've been an Iain Banks fan for a long long time, but for the most part haven't haven't tried to read the Culture books in any particular order, and have left myself at least a few for the future. I'm now starting on the original "trilogy".
Banks can be comic and I got a chuckle out of this Culture-Earth timeline, which was cited in a Q&A here -- but I am seriously interested in the source or justification. By my reading of the Culture books there is no concrete reference to the idea that they are even in the same galaxy as ours, much less that there's an overlapping timeline to our own history. My question is two-fold:
- Where did Banks express this?
- Are there any concrete references in any of the novels that refer to/make significance of this correpondence? Or that the galaxy referred to is the Milky Way?
I recognize he does use the term "human" synonymously with "humanoid" as a convention, and please no answers that claim that as the only evidence.