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  • Consider Phlebas TV series isn’t happening…
  • Premier Icon lister
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    Iain M. Banks’ Phlebas TV adaptation at Amazon no longer happening

    The old threads on this are closed. Seems like the Banks estate have pulled out…I wonder why.

    Premier Icon bsims
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    A multinational company whose only interest is profit and an ultra conservative home audience may well have compromised the representation of the culture. That would be my early guess.

    Premier Icon ajantom
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    Makes me sad, but it isn’t surprising.

    I’ve reread every IMB book over lockdown. Depresses me that I’ll never read another new book by him 😟

    Premier Icon duckman
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    Ajantom, well said.

    Premier Icon nickc
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    While a bit of me is quite sad about this. another part of me is quire relieved.  They’d have **** it up.

    Premier Icon lister
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    Banks was famously cautious about any adaptations…I guess that same caution is held by his estate.
    I’m sure they’d get it wrong but imagine if it was good…

    I still check in bookshops incase I’ve somehow missed a book by him 😢

    Premier Icon andylc
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    A well done representation of The Culture would be an awesome thing. Although it would make me even more depressed that I can’t actually live in it.
    I live in hope that it’s all true, which is even more depressing because Earth joins the culture in about 2100, and I’ll be dead.☹️

    Premier Icon nixie
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    I’m kind of glad. I’ve got such a rich picture in my head from the books that and kind of adaptation would inevitably be a let down. Kind of like altered carbon except with better source material so greater disappointment.

    Premier Icon YoKaiser
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    I’m going to have to read these books. Looking for something a bit different and I’ve been rereading some Iain Banks (The Crow Road just now). Complicity was also the first novel I read as an adult. Having read all the regular stuff, sometimes several times, I seemed to avoid the sci fi even though I know how highly regarded it is.

    Where would one start?

    Premier Icon Greybeard
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    YoKaiser, since you know his writing style, and are familiar with not knowing what the book is about until you finish it, you could start almost anywhere with IMB. They don’t need to be read in order, and are as varied as the IB books. Transition might live up to its name, it was published as IB in the UK and IMB in the USA, I think.

    Premier Icon lister
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    Start with Phlebas. It’s a good story with a good amount of explanation of the Culture. Then read the rest in any order you fancy really.

    Premier Icon squirrelking
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    COnsider Phlebas is actually a decent starter but not essential, it is just set in the time of frequently referenced back story (the Idiran War). I’d actually go for something like Use of Weapons as it is more story focussed than space opera, I’d probably compare it to The Bridge in it’s style. I started on The Player of Games and it took a couple of attempts, a lot of folk don’t like it as the protagonist is a bit of a dick (but definitely not at a Song of Stone level) but I don’t see that as a bad thing. After that go nuts, Inversions is a hard read as it’s a dialogue, kinda like Walking on Glass and A Song of Stone.

    Premier Icon BruceWee
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    I would say start with Use of Weapons.

    Premier Icon Saccades
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    Player of games or excession as starters for me.

    Give you a good idea of the scope of the culture and the viciousness of the minds.

    And the scope of the author’s imagination.

    Premier Icon RichPenny
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    I’d also recommend The Algebraist, not a culture novel but has some interesting characters and concepts.

    I’d love to see a Culture TV series but they’re such a challenge to do well. Agree with the comments above that a poor effort would be worse than nothing. Still waiting for Rendezvous with Rama 🙁

    Premier Icon gobuchul
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    His sci-fi short story is a good place to start IMO. Got some Culture stuff in it as well.

    I have understood why the Wasp Factory was never picked up? Would be fairly straight forward to do as a movie, or 3 or 4 part drama.

    Premier Icon Greybeard
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    Inversions is a hard read as it’s a dialogue

    Forgot to add, probably don’t start with Feersum Endjinn, the dialogue is definitely feersum. The non-Culture IMBs are just as good as the Culture, but the Culture as a concept is greater than the individual books.

    Premier Icon mashr
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    Player of games or excession as starters for me

    Ah but then might have peaked early with Excession as we all love GSVs that that has more Mind chat in it than any other I’ve found so far

    Premier Icon Northwind
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    I started with Phlebas and I think that’s what I’d recommend, it’s the most stand-alone and a big tub-thumping space opera. Use of Weapons would work too… I love Player of Games but I think it works a bit better if you’re more familiar with the background.

    (even though they’re all called the Culture series, almost all the stories happen on the edge of or outside of the Culture itself, on account of the interior of a space utopia with unlimited resources is boring)

    Premier Icon HarryTuttle
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    I’d suggest starting with Use of Weapons, Consider Phlebas or Player of Games, these all introduce the culture while being ‘human’ stories set in the culture. After that just go for it….

    Some of the books reference earlier stuff but it’s not essential. Although the name at the end of Surface Detail would have no impact if you’d not read the earlier book.

    Premier Icon kcal
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    And (back to IB) Complicity contains the (happy) ending to The Bridge.

    Premier Icon mogrim
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    Might be time to re-read the whole series again… I’ll do it in the order it was written in, though 🙂

    Premier Icon lister
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    @kcal
    I’d never made a link between those books; tell me more?

    Premier Icon bsims
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    I’d like forget all I know about the Culture and read Inversions first to see what conclusion I came to.

    Premier Icon kcal
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    @lister – I think it was a throw-away remark (in Raw Spirt possibly), but having gone back and re-read Complicity, it’s there for definite – Cameron meets up in the Cafe Royal (not the other episode there though) with his pal Al who has a growing bald spot and a scar across his forehead, and is out for the evening with his wife Andi.

    Premier Icon lister
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    Well that’s me rereading The Bridge soon…I was heading to doing Complicity next but I’ll pop The Bridge in before it now. Thanks!

    Premier Icon jamesoz
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    The audio books narrated by Peter Kenny are awesome for long car journeys. I do a lot of miles and am rapidly running out of his books. I have a few of the culture books but it’s hard to read whilst driving.
    Currently listening to The Algebraist, not narrated by Kenny, which is a shame but still really enjoying it. Luciferous the Archimandrite (spelling?) amuses me.

    Premier Icon kcal
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    @lister there’s always something new in The Bridge on re-read. Complicity too, to a lesser extent. Having gone to university in Glasgow, then started working life in Edinburgh – in and around the locations dropped in – it feels very familiar (ha!). My copy of The Bridge is a well-worn paperback, signed by himself, as well as The Crow Road.

    Premier Icon reformedfatty
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    I can imagine writers having a mare interpreting the novels. The books leave questions nagging at you that would be hard work in a limited attention span TV series.

    Are the Idirans position justified? Who is who in inversions? What happened to the Oct afterwards?

    TV audiences would probably find these unanswered questions as plot holes rather than ‘you decide’

    Premier Icon Greybeard
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    the name at the end of Surface Detail would have no impact if you’d not read the earlier book

    Had to find Surface Detail and remind myself of that. On reflection, Surface Detail would not be a good Culture book to start on.

    his pal Al who has a growing bald spot and a scar across his forehead

    Good spot, thanks – I’ve just read Complicity and missed that. But I did wonder if there were some links to John Rebus in places, and IB and IR were friends. Apart from the obvious one in Walking on Glass I think I spotted a reference to Douglas Adams somewhere else.

    Premier Icon CountZero
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    I’ve reread every IMB book over lockdown. Depresses me that I’ll never read another new book by him

    Absolutely this. 🙁
    I’m actually re-reading all of the Culture books in sequence at the moment, on Excession now, although I’ve skipped Player Of Games, just because the main character is so unutterably repellent, and The State Of The Art, only because it’s a set of short stories. I’ll go back to it after reading all of the main sequence books, along with The Algebraist and Feersum Enjun, which is a challenging read, because of the rather idiosyncratic syntax!

    Premier Icon squirrelking
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    I actually have one of his early short stories that I’ve not read (Odd Attachment), it’s in a collection called Arrows of Eros if anyone fancies tracking it down. I’m saving it for a rainy day along with the last Pratchett novel.

    Forgot to add, probably don’t start with Feersum Endjinn, the dialogue is definitely feersum.

    If you can handle the phonetic Scots in The Bridge Feersum Endjinn is easy enough. Though I say that as a native.

    Ah but then might have peaked early with Excession as we all love GSVs that that has more Mind chat in it than any other I’ve found so far

    Absolutely! You also have to read Excession before Hydrogen Sonata though as the ITG references don’t make as much sense and the chronology would be all wrong.

    I’ve skipped Player Of Games, just because the main character is so unutterably repellent

    See, I don’t think he really is. For spoiler reasons. He’s a smug git for sure but certainly not repellent compared to something Irvine Welsh would come up with.

    Premier Icon nixie
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    I think I started with consider phlebas. Player of games I found hard to get into but in the end really enjoyed. I now looking at the bookshelf debating reading them again. Wish I’d bought all of them on paper rather than some on kindle.

    Premier Icon RichPenny
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    Wish I’d bought all of them on paper rather than some on kindle.

    Half of mine came from charity shops I think, always worth a look.

    Premier Icon nixie
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    A very good point, thanks. Books also cheap in eBay a lot of the time.

    Premier Icon dudeofdoom
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    Feersum Endjinn

    Shudder…. I think it’s the only book I’ve started to read but then bailed on as it was just hard work.

    Premier Icon doom_mountain
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    I’m not too disappointed, i think it would be difficult for any TV series to do justice to the world of the Culture. They would need a visonary director involved and an infinite budget. Or they would end up adding romance subplots and less interesting characters to ease the viewer s into the story.

    I love the Culture books, I’m currently rereading them (seems like we all are !) Just finished Use Of Weapons, gets me every time. I’m happy for the books to continue to be visualized in my head, where I can’t be disappointed…

    Premier Icon nickc
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    Complicity contains the (happy) ending to The Bridge.

    Yes! also; The Bridge is a Culture novel…Discuss.

    Premier Icon kiwijohn
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    squirrelking
    the last Pratchett novel.

    I’ve also got that waiting on the shelf.

    As for IMB, I started with Look To Windward. The conversation about ship names had me hooked.

    Premier Icon gecko76
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    Started with Look to Windward too and it’s still probably my favourite.

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