Questions tagged [iain-m-banks]

For questions about Iain Banks (born on 16 February 1954 in Dunfermline, Fife), a Scottish writer. He wrote mainstream fiction under the name Iain Banks, and science fiction as Iain M. Banks, including the initial of his adopted middle name Menzies. Only use for questions about the author himself, for questions about his works use the relevant work tag instead.

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8
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1answer
181 views

Iain M Banks: The Algebraist: What was the alien artefact?

I've just finished the book, and I enjoyed it very much, but I don't seem to fully understand the events around the alien artefact that was found by Fassin, Saluus, Ilen and Taince. What is the ...
7
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0answers
142 views

Did Iain Banks ever acknowledge Hermann Hesse as an inspiration?

To an outside observer it seems that the game of Azad, from the empire of the same name featured heavily in The Player of Games, bears strong similarities to the Glass Bead Game from Hesse's 1943 ...
4
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0answers
502 views

Is the short story Descendant from the Culture?

I have just read the Iain M Banks short story Descendant, part of the anthology The State Of The Art. It features technologies reminiscent of the Culture stories, such as an intelligent suit with 1.0 ...
15
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3answers
3k views

In which galaxy (or galaxies) are The Culture present?

They have ships that can travel really fast and really far, but galaxies are big. Have they spread to more than one galaxy? Is the name of the galaxy known? And how far is it from the Milky Way (if ...
22
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3answers
5k views

Is Earth the home planet of The Culture?

In the Iain M. Banks' The Culture saga, is it known if the Earth is the "original planet" of The Culture? I don't remember any reference to it in any book (I'm reading the thrird one).
6
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1answer
378 views

Iain M. Banks' "Against a Dark Background'

I read this a long time ago and thought that it had the saddest line I'd ever read at the end, referring to the star being so far from galactic fringes that it had no chance of ever achieving MFTL ...
7
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2answers
799 views

Are Effectors unique to Iain M. Banks's “Culture”?

In Iain M. Banks's "Culture" novels, the Culture's most powerful and sophisticated weapons are effectors, electromagnetic manipulation devices capable of remotely reading and controlling computers and ...
5
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1answer
422 views

The Algebraist: How did the Dwellers move their portals?

In The Algebraist, a key element of the plot revolves around portals, with The Algebraist itself being a list of co-ordinates to Dweller portals. Early in the story we hear about the destruction of a ...
6
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1answer
528 views

Who won the civil war in “Use of Weapons”?

The language is intentionally ambiguous about who won the civil war, to accommodate the twist ending: In retrospect, the last sentence is obviously about the surgeons. But it's not clear to me who ...
3
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1answer
444 views

Are there any couples in the Culture?

Is sex in Iain M Banks's Culture limited to orgies and one-night stands? The only romantic love I can think of is in the one that has a Hell and the one where they're descended from carnivores and ...
8
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2answers
288 views

Which British author wrote about Shellworlds before Iain M. Banks?

Iain M. Banks is remembered as creator of Shellworlds-artificial planets with layers of habitable space within them. Except this is incorrect. I distinctively remember reading a British author in my ...
8
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3answers
631 views

Source for Culture timeline

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'...
6
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2answers
1k views

Why are there so many tripedal species in Iain M. Banks' Culture series?

Tripedalism seems physiologically inefficient, otherwise we would probably see at least one tripedal species on Earth. And yet the Culture universe has at least three (!) tripedal species: the ...
4
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2answers
404 views

Iain Banks' Algebraist: Wormhole transport question

Note that this is a question based on what is described in the book, rather than a question based on current actual quantum and/or cosmological physics. It wasn't quite clear to me from the ...
4
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3answers
1k views

Can my bookgroup start reading The Culture books at “Use of Weapons”?

My book group wants a sci-fi book. They're all incredibly intelligent and educated people who are all incredibly well-read. I'm not worried about the fractured narrative of Banks' Use of Weapons, but ...
10
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6answers
6k views

What is the actual shape of the Vavatch Orbital? A true ring?

In Iain M. Banks, fairly rockin' culture novel, Consider Phlebas a good third of the book takes place on what is called the "Vavatch Orbital". An orbital is apparently any massive artificially ...
3
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1answer
929 views

How to read the communication between spaceships in Excession?

In Iain M. Banks's Excession, there are several discussions between spaceships that are in a format that looks like a log file. It looks like this: (GCU Grey Area signal sequence file #n428857/119) ...
17
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3answers
7k views

What is the significance of the last line of Iain M Bank's “Surface Detail”?

I just finished Bank's "Surface Detail" Culture-universe novel. Great stuff, although my reading of it was rather interrupted and spread over almost 3 months, so my memory of the earlier parts is ...
8
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2answers
824 views

About the 'Lives' from the Damage game in Consider Phlebas (spoilers)

For those who don't know, Damage is a illegal betting game where you bet not with money, but with Lives, who are people kept strapped to electric chairs. When a player lose a Life, this Life was ...
3
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2answers
993 views

Is there a precursor to the Culture?

The Culture, from the Iain M Banks novels, seems to be a merger between a utopia and a dystopia. Is this a new phenomenon or do other examples exist?
15
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1answer
1k views

Has Iain M. Banks ever cited his inspirations for the backstory of Cheradenine Zakalwe? (possible spoilers)

Specifically, I recently heard the story of Ed Gein, and how it influenced the movie The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I'm wondering if either inspired the story of the Chairmaker. Are there any ...
11
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1answer
2k views

Rereading of Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks and chapter order

I just finish Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks. This book is written in a peculiar way that makes it a non-straightforward read, and I'm wondering how different an impression a second read would leave. ...
11
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3answers
2k views

Is there any artistic representation of Mawhrin-Skel?

I'm currently reading "The Player of Games" from Iain M. Banks's Culture Cycle. I'm having difficulty picturing the character of Mawhrin-Skel Drone (and Drones in general since they "are floating ...
33
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3answers
10k views

What is the order/timeline for Iain M. Banks “Culture” novels?

I just finished Surface Detail by Iain M. Banks....I'm hooked and have a couple of questions on the Culture novels: Is there an order to the novels (preferred or otherwise) ? What is the timeline ...