Today we’re celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Culture series by bestselling author Iain M. Banks! For decades, the Culture series has engaged our imaginations and taken us to new, exotic alien worlds. Check out the interview below to find out more about Iains most recent novel, THE HYDROGEN SONATA (UK | US | AUS) as well his reflections regarding the past and future of the Culture.
But that’s not all…since we can’t very well pass out these delicious Culture cupcakes digitally, there will be a full day of fun and prizes elsewhere on the internet. Head on over to Twitter for more Culture-related activity by searching for the hashtag #25YearsofCulture.
With the 25th anniversary of the Culture series now upon us (Consider Phlebas was published in 1987), have you come to regard the series as your life’s work? Do you think you’ll ever ‘complete’ the series, or do you still have a long list of ideas that you want to explore?
I suppose the Culture series will form the largest part of my life’s work; it’s unlikely I’ll come up with another over-arching structure on the same scale now. I’m perfectly happy with that. I’ll keep writing about the Culture for as long as I still feel there are new things to say, new avenues to explore. It’s important that I feel able to write SF outside the Culture, but even within it the restrictions are minimal; most of the action in most of the Culture books takes place well outside the Culture itself, and it’s been that way since the beginning, with Phlebas.
I don’t intend ever to complete it; I decided right from the start to resist the temptation to tear it all down at any point, and this has become sort of indicative and symbolic of the nature and demeanour of the Culture itself, now: it means to resist completion and put off Subliming, so that it can keep on going, sticking around in the Real and trying to do good (as it sees it), for as long as it can, and it’s already envisaging that when it does finally fade away, it’ll be when its going will hardly be noticed, because being something like the Culture – behaving like it – will be pretty much the default state for all galactic civilisations. (Though, in this, it could, of course, be completely wrong.)
I’ve more than enough material and ideas for another full-on Culture novel, and that has been the case for at least the last decade or so, no matter where I’ve been in the Culture-novel-writing cycle, as new ideas keep on coming along at a slow but steady rate. At the moment I’m tempted to try something a bit more oblique next time, though I’m also tempted to go with something tighter and more wildly kinetic, too… Who can say? We’ll see.