Cultural referents February 1, 2018 10:19 AM   Subscribe

This morning I came across a comment from one of our Culture-cohort MeFites, and idly wondered, hm, how many Minds* do we have here?

Some equally idle searching and poking about and I was able to locate three, but strongly suspect there are more. Are there others? Care to come forward or note others in passing?

GSV EndsOfInvention
GSV Bora Horza Gobuchul
GCU Sweet and Full of Grace

*("Minds" is the term the late Scots novelist Iain M. Banks used to name his advanced interstellar AI, which generally can also be thought of as starships. But you, dear MeFite, knew that already).
posted by mwhybark to MetaFilter-Related at 10:19 AM (87 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

Bora Horza Gobuchul is not a Mind ◔_◔
posted by Skaffen-Amtiskaw at 10:32 AM on February 1 [7 favorites]


ROU_Xenophobe is.
posted by Skaffen-Amtiskaw at 10:34 AM on February 1 [7 favorites]


But there is a Mind named Bora Horza Gobuchul. (It's mentioned in the plot summary of that Wikipedia article.)
posted by mbrubeck at 10:51 AM on February 1 [9 favorites]


Of course there is. Cheap fucking lowest-bidder memory chips.
posted by Skaffen-Amtiskaw at 10:55 AM on February 1 [14 favorites]














Poke It With A Stick
posted by zamboni at 11:28 AM on February 1 [3 favorites]


Apologies to Bora Horza Gobuchul should said MeFite prove not a Mind in this instance; I imputed the ship class designation after verifying the named existence of such.

Insufficient gravitas on my part, no doubt.
posted by mwhybark at 11:30 AM on February 1 [2 favorites]


I haven't read these books, and I'm always surprised to discover that what I thought was a random phrase is actually a reference.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:00 PM on February 1 [35 favorites]


Some of these are going to be arbitrary phrases that coincidentally overlap with Culture Mind names. There's a lot of them, some of which only appear in footnotes, passing references, or even interviews with the author.
posted by zamboni at 12:23 PM on February 1


Mefi's own Bora Horza Gobuchul has said that their name comes from, "the morally ambiguous, lethal, bitter changeling of Iain M. Banks' first Culture novel" so a Cultural referent, but not a mind.

Similarly, we have had two Zalkalwes and a Jernau Morat Gurgeh, all disabled.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:29 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


I Blame Your Mother, #10291, would appear to be the senior Mind in the MeFite fleet.
posted by mwhybark at 12:41 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Ends of Invention has this in their nickname explanation on their profile:

The Ends Of Invention is an ex-Culture General Systems Vehicle from the Iain M Banks book Consider Phlebas.

Other MeFi users named after Culture ships:
ROU_Xenophobe
Zero Gravitas
I Said, I've Got A Big Stick
Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory
Bora Horza Gobuchul (a non-ship character and a ship that names itself after him, although this Mefi user is named after the non-ship version)
Death and Gravity
Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The
GCU Sweet and Full of Grace (ex-ROU_Xenophobe)

MeFi users who sound like Culture ships but aren't:
AbitraryAndCapricious
sleepy psychonaut
[insert clever name here]
You Should See the Other Guy (OU)
suddenly, and without warning (ROU)
Proofs and Refutations
none of these will bring disaster
I'm Not Even Supposed To Be Here Today!
Armed Only With Hubris (dROU)

posted by cooker girl at 12:53 PM on February 1 [15 favorites]


Banks used to name his advanced interstellar AI, which generally can also be thought of as starships. But you, dear MeFite, knew that already).

I, Clavdivs, did not know this.
posted by clavdivs at 1:26 PM on February 1 [14 favorites]


That should be:

I Said, I've Got A Big Stick
posted by zarq at 1:46 PM on February 1 [7 favorites]

I haven't read these books, and I'm always surprised to discover that what I thought was a random phrase is actually a reference.
I have read (most of) these books, and I'm still surprised to discover that what I thought was a random phrase is actually a reference. As much as I love the conceit of Minds' naming conventions, they sure don't stick with me once I've turned the page. I'm not sure I could name one if asked before reading this thread.

MeFi users who sound like Culture ships but aren't, though, is a fun new sport.

Also, Banks is dead? Crap. I didn't know that.
posted by eotvos at 1:51 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Also, Banks is dead? Crap. I didn't know that.

He passed in 2013, of aggressive gall bladder cancer.

Elon Musk named two SpaceX drone ships in honor of Banks: The Just Read The Instructions and the Of Course I Still Love You.
posted by zarq at 1:59 PM on February 1 [7 favorites]


His mefi obituary thread.
posted by rtha at 2:24 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


Oooh, can we do Suessians next? Surely I'm not alone here...
posted by 1f2frfbf at 4:03 PM on February 1 [10 favorites]


I've meant to ask about The Culture book series multiple times in Blue discussions, but this seems as good a place as any. Of all his works, I've only read The Wasp Factory and The Crow Road,. I really dug both of them, so the fact that I didn't move on to The Culture series immediately is weird, as I'm a huge fan of science/speculative fiction. I always intended to read it, but never gotten started, and then he died--if I read this series, will I be left with major, books-spanning plot points unresolved, or can they be read as single novels with a common universe, like Pratchett's Discworld?
posted by tzikeh at 5:00 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Very much the latter, as far as I remember - there are some shared characters, and each book fills in a different chunk of the history of the universe, but that's about it.
posted by sagc at 5:52 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


if I read this series, will I be left with major, books-spanning plot points unresolved

No.

or can they be read as single novels with a common universe, like Pratchett's Discworld?

Yes.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:29 PM on February 1 [5 favorites]


I see Skaffen-Amtiskaw commented above but the name didn't make it onto any of the lists here, so, for completeness and for those unfamiliar: Skaffen-Amtiskaw is a name from the Culture books as well (a drone from Use of Weapons).
posted by miles per flower at 6:41 PM on February 1 [6 favorites]


I strongly considered Falling Outside the Normal Moral Constraints while selecting my MeFi handle but decided it was too wordy.
posted by sutureselves at 6:47 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


One should probably read Consider Phlebas first and Surface Detail last but other than that, go nuts.
posted by Justinian at 7:25 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Grey Area

aka Meatfucker.
posted by Justinian at 7:27 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


I will take this as a Final Sign that I need to read the Culture novels at last, which I have somehow not done yet despite decades of SF reading and awareness that I should. Plus Scottish.

Also, if we're talking SF-inspired usernames in general, mine is an allusive reference to Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 — 1414°C being the melting point of silicon.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:07 PM on February 1 [13 favorites]


I'm halfway through my 3rd Culture book, Use of Weapons, and stalling because it is a boring slog. And I'm supposed to like the Culture series, because as a FALGSC, I thought I would resonate with these stories.

I did start with Consider Phlebas, in which the plot twist at the end was brilliant and profound and moving for me, but I also disliked the writing, and most of all, the atmosphere was just too bleak and depressing. I'm glad I found this book, I think it's one of the greatest sci-fi books I've read, but I wouldn't want to reread it again.

The little world-building touches, such as the ironic names are great though.
posted by polymodus at 9:07 PM on February 1


I see Skaffen-Amtiskaw commented above but the name didn't make it onto any of the lists here, so, for completeness and for those unfamiliar: Skaffen-Amtiskaw is a name from the Culture books as well (a drone from Use of Weapons).

Who appears to have commented, in thread, entirely in-persona, all to our ignorance. Well done! Still, it's typical of the disrespect heaped upon dronekind, I understand.
posted by mwhybark at 10:09 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


Use of Weapons, and stalling because it is a boring slog

Zakalwe kind of ... sucks. He's just not that interesting.

You should read The Player of Games.
posted by Shohobohaum Za at 10:37 PM on February 1 [4 favorites]


I respect you and polymodus and your wrong opinions about Use of Weapons.
posted by Justinian at 10:42 PM on February 1 [13 favorites]


To be fair, "You should read The Player of Games" is correct and useful advice.

Otherwise, those comments are right into XKCD #386 territory.
posted by Pink Frost at 11:07 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Well I am DISGUSTED with this thread, which is the most chilling evidence to date of a certain horrifying sinfulness to have infected MetaFilter - and which will inevitably lead to the destruction of our society.

This whole thread demonstrates that certain MeFi users are joyfully engaged in an unpardonable crime: cultural appropriation.

In that context, please vote #1 quidnunc kid for Emperor of the Idirans, and I will immediately launch a full-scale WAR to defeat these "minds" (and also all forms of "culture").

That's right - under a quidnunc kid Emperorship, MeFi will be thoroughly anti-mind, and all your minds will be utterly defeated. So vote #1 for the Emperor of Mindlessness, quidnunc kid! He's a fucking IDIOT!

... err, wait, sorry, "Idiran," I mean.

Or ... both? I dunno :-(
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:41 AM on February 2 [13 favorites]


how many Minds* do we have here?

"Ankh-Morpork! Brawling city of a hundred thousand souls! And, as the Patrician privately observed, ten times that number of actual people."
posted by aihal at 4:03 AM on February 2 [8 favorites]


Another reminder of a SF series I've put off for too long. Hmm, maybe this is what it will take for me to jump in. I love the many names we have here related to this universe.

BTW, my name is from Dragonlance. :D
posted by Fizz at 6:48 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


Who appears to have commented, in thread, entirely in-persona, all to our ignorance
Even in this realm of unbelievably powerful machine intelligences with shit-tonnes of personality, Skaffen-Amtiskaw stands out as a sneaky trickster with mordant wit.

stalling because [Use of Weapons] is a boring slog
I think of the whole book as a long shaggy-dog setup to the truly great practical joke S-A plays with a hat (warning: googling this will almost certainly get you spoilers), and then the long soapy parts feel less annoying. Like the lovers’ plot in a Marx Bros. movie.
posted by miles per flower at 7:10 AM on February 2 [5 favorites]


I'm halfway through my 3rd Culture book, Use of Weapons, and stalling because it is a boring slog.

Use of Weapons is fucking grim, and, fair warning, it doesn't get any less grim - there's no happy ending here. Having said that, in some ways it's one of my favorite Culture books, partly because of the inventive structure, and partly because Banks is digging deep into a couple of themes that recur throughout the series - namely, 1) in a FALGSC society, what do you do with the people (including AI Minds) who just can't or won't comfortably fit in, 2) what kind of moral and ethical compromises might the culture as a whole and/or certain individuals have to make to create or sustain FALGSC, and 3) given that FALGSC is pretty sweet for the citizens, what (if any) right does that culture have to manipulate, force, bully, or trick other cultures into moving towards their own FALGSC?

Not that Banks is some kind of crypto-reactionary, writing about all the horrible things the real Heroes Of The Culture have to do in secret to keep you sheeple fat and happy - I believe he was an avowed socialist, and he's definitely stated that the FALGSC Culture is his personal Utopia - but, having created said utopia, I think he got interested in telling stories around the fringes and borders of the utopia, about where Utopia might have failed, about where mistakes are made, about where FALGSC "irresistible force" meets some other culture's "immovable object." There's a reason so many of the stories revolve around Contact or Special Circumstances - those are the people coming up against the limits of utopia.

And I'm supposed to like the Culture series, because as a FALGSC, I thought I would resonate with these stories.

Which is to say, feel free to dump Use of Weapons (as people are pointing out the Culture novels are really stand-alone novels, you won't be missing any important plot points or character development necessary to read other books in the collection) and give some of the other Culture books a try, but bear in mind that the FALGSC Culture is the background and setting of the novels, rather than the focus.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:38 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]


Not completely relevant to the question at hand, but at one point I had a dream about the Culture coming to Earth, and one of the Minds taking a liking to our little website. The LSV Plate O' Beans became our home amongst the stars.
posted by nubs at 7:49 AM on February 2 [16 favorites]


If I were to sit down and list out the positive things I've gotten from MeFi over the years, being introduced to Banks and the Culture might actually be at the very top of the list.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 8:05 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]


> nubs: Not completely relevant to the question at hand, but at one point I had a dream about the Culture coming to Earth, and one of the Minds taking a liking to our little website. The LSV Plate O' Beans became our home amongst the stars.

Can you imagine the FPP's?

From Banks' "The State of the Art":
“Also while I'd been away, the ship had sent a request on a postcard to the BBC's World Service, asking for 'Mr David Bowie's "Space Oddity" for the good ship Arbitrary and all who sail in her.' (This from a machine that could have swamped Earth's entire electro-magnetic spectrum with whatever the hell it wanted from somewhere beyond Betelgeuse.) It didn't get the request played. The ship thought this was hilarious.”

posted by zarq at 8:33 AM on February 2 [8 favorites]


Oh no. They're here.
posted by zarq at 8:36 AM on February 2


And I'm supposed to like the Culture series, because as a FALGSC, I thought I would resonate with these stories.

I resonate with the Culture stories (well, most of them) because while I am a big believer in FALGSC, I also wonder what exactly I would do with myself in such a system...I fear I would be bored or something (even though in my heart of hearts I know I would happily kick back, play games and gland drugs all day). So the Culture novels speak to that part of me - what do the people who don't quite fit in do in Utopia? Banks is interested in exploring that question, along with ones about what it takes to maintain and spread a FALGSC Utopia. While Banks thought that the Culture would be a great place to live, as a storyteller he was also aware that the good stories would exist on the fringes of that society; the edges where it rubs up against other ways of existence, where there might be a need for subterfuge, skulduggery, manipulation, and so forth.

They are all stand alone, so feel free to read whichever one you want - grab the ones that sound interesting to you. The Player of Games is one of my favorites and I think it's a good entry point overall. Excession starts to explore the Minds in a deeper way; Matter contained some world building elements that caused me to put the book down for a week or so to consider the implications. I also - though I left it alone for many years because I was upset to think there would be no more Culture novels - greatly enjoyed The Hydrogen Sonata which examined some bigger questions about what might be next as well as some interesting questions about the ideas of perfection, striving, and fulfillment.
posted by nubs at 8:38 AM on February 2


If you’re coming to Banks for the first time expecting a joyful launch of Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism you may well be disappointed. That was my experience, anyway. I knew the Culture books by reputation, and when I finally sat down with them I was surprised to find how traditional they felt, and how much they resembled action movies—space battles, spies with secret identities, long chase sequences, one cliffhanger after another, etc. I like and respect the books quite a lot! But I was expecting my mind to be blown the way it was when I encountered Leckie, LeGuin, Delany—and it never was. I think soundguy99 has it—the FALGSC stuff is the books’ background, not their focus. And there’s a lot of whimsy in the books—the names & personalities of the Minds in particular, which is where we started—but the books themselves aren’t really so strange.
posted by miles per flower at 9:05 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


I'm starting Consider Phlebas. So thank you MetaFilter. Let's see what happens..
posted by Fizz at 9:48 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]


Miles per Flower, your comment reminds me of a time I went into a bookstore looking for Something New and asked the clerk for a recommendation for something like the Culture novels, and she said "So, military sci-fi?" I was like no way! but she wasn't wrong exactly. The FALGSC is usually in the background with a spy novel happening in the foreground, which is probably better suited to having an actual plot, but not so much for reflecting on Big Ideas. I still read them all, though, and loved most.
posted by five toed sloth at 11:22 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


What appears to be the first FPP on Banks, posted by our own beloved Artw in 2008 on the occasion of Banks' splashy entry into the US SF publishing market with Matter. Remarkable. That indicates to me that there is a non-zero possibility that all of my experience with Banks, including multiple rereads of everything he's written, has been within the last decade.

the Random Culture Ship Name Picker, by signal.

What may be the first mention of Iain M. Banks on the site occurs in this ask.me response from hattifattener, who is promptly backed up by ROU_Xenophobe.

Don't think I'm up to a comprehensive list of Minds, characters, posts, and mentions for the wiki, but I am enjoying everyone's contributions both to this thread and to this site on Banks and the Culture.
posted by mwhybark at 1:37 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


*eyes her in-progress SF comic in which one side owes quite a lot to the Culture and her finished one whose last third only took shape after she started rereading Use of Weapons after Banks’ death*

Have fun, those of you diving into Banks because of this thread! Personally I like to suggest “Against A Dark Background” as a first Banks; it’s a non-Culture stand-alone. Also “Consider Phlebas” may not be the best introduction; I found it to be rather dreary at times. Most discussions of the Culture I see tend to be split between “Player of Games” and “Use of Weapons” as a good first Culture book.
posted by egypturnash at 8:52 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


I love these books so much, and it's all because of you guys. Would have never known about them without Metafilter. And I smile whenever I see a username that references them.

I'd kind of like to be a Mind on Metafilter. I might drop $5 to sign up as GSV Total Internal Reflection. Or maybe not a Mind. Maybe just Clear Air Turbulence.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:34 AM on February 3


GCU $20, Same as in Town
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:34 AM on February 3 [8 favorites]


Zakalwe kind of ... sucks. He's just not that interesting.
[..]
posted by Shohobohaum Za at 6:37 on February 2

I’ve always wanted to say this.. ..eponysterical!
posted by doop at 4:48 AM on February 3 [3 favorites]


[6.3, The State Of The Art, though a truncated version, so more properly i've half a mind (am half a mind?)]
posted by halation at 9:04 AM on February 3


One should probably read Consider Phlebas first[...]

This is a highly controversial opinion. The issue frequently comes up on r/PrintSF. There are people who will tell you that they read Consider Phlebas and disliked it so much that they read no other Banks for years. When they finally did, they liked it much better, and hated themselves for reading a very atypical and in many ways unlikable Culture novel first.

Others will tell you that of course, Consider Phlebas should be read first. Why not?

YMMV.

For anyone who considers Phlebas and doesn't understand what the shouting is about, Player of Games and Use of Weapons are often mentioned as better Culture novels to read first.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 11:50 AM on February 3 [3 favorites]


I'll second Player of Games as a start. Was mine, and loved it.
posted by WCityMike at 5:35 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


I should probably try these books sometime. I think the first time I really heard about Banks was here. I definitely appreciate the guidance on where to start!
posted by limeonaire at 7:03 PM on February 3

If you’re coming to Banks for the first time expecting a joyful launch of Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism you may well be disappointed. That was my experience, anyway.
That was my experience. I discovered the author on metafilter and I'm grateful to have done so. The books are compelling enough that I continue to read them and am happy to buy them. But, it's a slightly uncomfortable mix of 90% of what I love in SF mixed with 10% of what I hate in SF. It falls in the slightly uncomfortable, "I genuinly like it, but I'd hesitate to recommend it without a full page of caveats" category of media. The worst Banks is less frustrating than the best Heinlein, but the frustrating bits are aligned in the same direction.

But, the mind naming conventions are unambiguously fantastic.

I may be alone in thinking that a culture novel that doesn't include any humans at all would be pretty great.
posted by eotvos at 9:11 PM on February 3


I may be alone in thinking that a culture novel that doesn't include any humans at all would be pretty great.

You are not; part of what I enjoyed most with novels like Excession was the fact that the Minds were at the forefront as characters.
posted by nubs at 9:17 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


But reading any of the other Culture novels before _Consider Phlebas_ is like... like... reading _A Deepness in the Sky_ before _A Fire Upon the Deep_! That's just... crazyiness.

Huh, talking about this made my muscle memory instinctively revert to Usenet fake-underlining convention. Imma leave it.
posted by Justinian at 1:04 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


I was just beginning to consider re-reading them all. This is increasing that temptation.

Personally I like to suggest “Against A Dark Background” as a first Banks; it’s a non-Culture stand-alone.

Seconded. I also enjoy The Algebraist in his non-Culture work.
posted by knapah at 3:06 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


If you can get past the sort of cartoon antagonist and all his torturing, although he isn't the real antagonist, basically, but it was enough that my partner didn't finish slogging through those bits.
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:13 AM on February 4


I have read most of his books, and I’m still completely bored by Iain Banks. His books should be my first love. Go figure.
posted by OmieWise at 8:08 PM on February 4


Hello, sorry I'm late, I was sorting out an Aggressive Hegemonizing Swarm. Will update my profile with the extra Minds I didn't know about!
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:04 AM on February 5 [9 favorites]


Just to say, that slightly flawed as I suspect they are (I have read all the Culture novels, and enjoyed them, but I don't think I would ever give one more than 8/10) I still miss Mr Banks. Somehow, it feels like there just ought to be another Culture novel on the shelf every couple of years. It's just the natural order of things.
posted by Chairboy at 3:52 AM on February 5 [4 favorites]

But reading any of the other Culture novels before _Consider Phlebas_ is like... like... reading _A Deepness in the Sky_ before _A Fire Upon the Deep_! That's just... crazyiness.
Hmm. I always recommend Deepness before Fire to any new Vinge readers. I'd claim Fire is a more interesting book, but it's a lot less accessible to people who aren't already on board for scrolling through pages of fictional future usenet posts and just want to read a novel. Deepness is weird enough to be interesting, but not so weird as to be off-putting. And it holds up just fine without understanding any of the zones framework from Fire.

To be honest, I have a hard time distinguishing between Banks' novels. Like Pratchett, it all just blends together into a vague but satisfying fog that's entertaining but not memorable. Audible tells me I've listened to Consider Phlebas. . . but I couldn't tell you what it's about.
posted by eotvos at 9:35 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


Player of Games may be easier to start with because it sticks with a single journey from start to finish. Many of the other Banks novels are half-story, half-travelogue. They take the characters on wild goose chases or side quests that exist more for world-building than for plot. (I personally like this a lot, but it’s not for everyone.)
posted by mbrubeck at 12:16 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


They take the characters on wild goose chases or side quests that exist more for world-building than for plot.

I'm glad someone mentioned this. I have been working through Consider Phlebas last year, and now I can't remember if I finished it because it seemed like a melange of one adventure bleeding into another, instead of a defined storyline.
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 1:12 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]


I had forgotten that many of the Culture books weren't in print in the US back in the mid-aughts.

Use of Weapons is possibly my favorite, but only as a whole and in retrospect. I can see how it might be hard to finish. Player of Games is the most straightforward and accessible. I concur with the recommendation of Against a Dark Background, though it's not a Culture novel.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:02 AM on February 6


Can we not use acronyms without explaining them? According to Google, GCU is Grand Canyon University and GSV is an investment bank, so I can't figure out what this thread is about. My best guess is that people are using character names in a book or TV show as their usernames? It's really annoying to assume we all share the same cultural contexts.
posted by AFABulous at 12:07 PM on February 6


The thread is about the names of advanced interstellar AIs (which can be thought of as spaceships) in the works of the late Scots novelist Iain M. Banks. As it says in the post.
posted by Lexica at 12:33 PM on February 6 [9 favorites]


Yeah, this is about "Culture" references, in the sense of, references to the civilzation known as The Culture in the series of Iain Banks novels about The Culture.

It's not about general cultural references, although it's clear why it's a little confusing!
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 1:51 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


GCU/GSV/etc are the ship classes.
GCU = General Contact Unit (semi-militarised ship for exploring/interacting with other civilisations)
GSV = General Systems Vehicle (massive civilian vessel)
ROU = Rapid Offensive Unit (small warship)
More info.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:07 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


Elon Musk named two SpaceX drone ships in honor of Banks: The Just Read The Instructions and the Of Course I Still Love You.

On topic today!

I was always disappointed he didn't include the prefixes but I suppose that would confuse the normies.
posted by Justinian at 2:30 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


They are both named after GCUs from Player of Games but these are autonomous spaceport drone ships. So I would say ASD The Just Read The Instructions and ASD Of Course I Still Love You.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 3:13 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


I think of them as superlifters.
posted by mbrubeck at 7:22 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


I want to be pen-pals with a Mind. I mean, I know they can spare the time.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:57 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I was always disappointed he didn't include the prefixes but I suppose that would confuse the normies.

I'd be scared to know what the prefixes were.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 5:36 AM on February 7


Oh, just the stuff already in this thread. GCU, GSV, ROU, ETC.
posted by Justinian at 11:55 AM on February 7


$20, same as in town.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 1:56 PM on February 7


I made a FPP that may be relevant to the interests of those in this thread! I had not seen it before. If it is a double I will fight you.
posted by Justinian at 5:50 PM on February 7 [5 favorites]


And of course FPP = Fast Planetary Pod
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:17 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]




I can't believe I missed this thread. I started with Excession (in 2006, LibraryThing says), which is a rather unusual angle to come at Iain M. Banks' books.

I loved it so much that I picked up the next book I found by him, which was The Algebraist - I've read since that Banks thought his non-Culture SF novels were written when he had really good, novel ideas, and given how much I liked Against a Dark Background, Feersum Endjinn, and Transition, I tend to agree.

For the rest of the Culture novels, I went back and forth in fairly random order - Consider Phlebas was I though just OK (sorry! but that gratuitous cannibal scene...), Look to Windward was more fun, and I nearly bounced off Inversions until I understood how it paired with Excession.

Anyway - in my opinion, he really hit his stride in the middle phase of the Culture novels (Weapons, Excession, Windward) and his later doorstoppers (Matter, Surface Detail) would have benefited from a fiercer editor. But by all means, read them in whatever order you find them - other than some small subtleties (e.g, the connection between Phlebas and Look to Windward), the order doesn't matter.
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:32 PM on February 21 [2 favorites]


A caption writer at the Economist noticed that Musk is a Culture fan.
posted by mbrubeck at 2:03 PM on February 21 [2 favorites]


I just want to add to this thread that perhaps my favorite reference to the work of Mr. Banks is the in the movie Hot Fuzz, where the desk sergeant (Sergeant Turner, both roles played by Bill Bailey) is apparently a fan. One of them reads the works of Iain Banks, the other the works of Iain M. Banks.
posted by nubs at 8:13 PM on February 21 [5 favorites]


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