Introducing THE HYDROGEN SONATA by Iain M. Banks

This doesn’t seem possible to me, but Iain M. Banks’ first Culture novel, CONSIDER PHLEBAS (UK | US | AUS), was published 25 years ago – making this year, according to our calculations, the 25th anniversary of the Culture. For anyone who has experienced the ridiculous awesomeness of the Culture novels, this is of course a rather special occasion demanding a hearty cheer at the very least – and a large statue at most. Or something in between, such as these cupcakes we made to celebrate in our own way.

But what better way to celebrate than with a brand new Culture novel? None! Conveniently released this month around the world, THE HYDROGEN SONATA (UK | US | AUS)  is a science fiction-shaped marvel that is already grabbing the attention of reviewers. Look at these for starters:

“This rich, sweeping panorama of heroism and folly celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Culture, Banks’s far-future semi-utopian society…. The action tumbles along at a dizzying pace, bouncing among a fascinating array of characters and locales. It’s easy to see why Banks’s fertile, cheerfully nihilistic imagination and vivid prose have made the Culture space operas bestsellers and award favorites.” — Publishers Weekly

“Banks’ Culture yarns … brim with wit and wisdom, providing incomparable entertainment, with fascinating and highly original characters, challenging ideas and extrapolations, and dazzling action seamlessly embedded in a satirical-comedy matrix.” — Kirkus Reviews

“One of Banks’ best Culture novels to date.” — Booklist

A supremely enjoyable read … Banks’ charming prose and the scale of his imagination continue to delight Culture vultures” – SFX

“It’s fantastically good fun” — SciFi Now

To help celebrate the release of THE HYDROGEN SONATA and the 25th anniversary of the Culture, you have three basic options:

  1. Say, “Hip, hip, hurrah for the Culture!”
  2. Read the first chapter of THE HYDROGEN SONATA here.
  3. Try to make Culture cupcakes better than ours.

Choose wisely.


The Orbit UK team celebrates 25 years of the Culture series with Iain M. Banks!