This isn’t new, but I just came across this short film called Something Real. It’s a fan film based on Iain M. Banks Culture novels.

Enjoy!

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It’s been twenty five years since the release of the first Culture novel by Iain M. Banks. Today, over at the Kirkus Reviews Blog, I take a look at the series over the past two-and-a-half decades.

Hop on over to read this new Science Fiction Series Spotlight: The Culture by Iain M. Banks

Worlds Are Conjured, Not Built


I am heading to Readercon this Thursday, 12 July, and I am very happy to be a participant for the first time. It is going to be a very different experience and one that I hope to repeat in the future. I’ve been thinking a lot about the panels I’m going to be on, and this week I want to write some thoughts down about one of them. On Friday the 13th I am leading the panel entitled “Anthropology For Writers,” which has this description:

“In a 2011 blog post, Farah Mendlesohn wrote, ”Worldbuilding’ as we understand it, has its roots in traditions that described the world in monolithic ways: folklore studies, anthropology, archeology, all began with an interest in describing discrete groups of people and for that they needed people to be discrete.’ This panel will discuss the historical and present-day merging and mingling of real-world cultures, and advise writers on building less monolithic and more plausible fictional ones.”

I think there’s potential here for a good discussion about the ways in which culture is invoked and represented in fantastic fiction, but I must say that I have some reservations about the idea of “worldbuilding,” some of which were articulated in a recent blog post that is well worth reading (and yes, it is ranty and mean in parts, but it also points out some concerns that could use more thought and discussion). Cultural appropriation is one of them, tangled as that concept may sometimes be. The fetishization of made-up cultures is troubling to me, particularly since that is part of my own history. And the focus on arcana rather than message, when it occurs, shapes the way that we discuss fantastic literature in ways that dilute some of the potentials and gifts that lie within that field.
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Upcoming4.me has posted the cover art and synopsis of the upcoming Culture novel by Iain M. Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata.

Here’s the synopsis:

It is, truly, provably, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization.

An ancient people, they helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they’ve made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence.

Amidst preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed and Cossont is blamed. Wanted dead — not alive. Now, aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command — find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago. Cossont must discover the truth before she’s exiled from her people and her civilization forever — or just plain killed.

The book will be available in the U.S. and U.K. in October 2012.

[via printSF @ Reddit]

…but not adapted from the story you might think…

SlashFilm reports (via ScreenDaily) that an Iain M. Banks Culture story is headed for the big screen. That story is the short fiction piece “A Gift from the Culture” in which a female member of the Culture, now re-gendered and living among humans as one of them, is asked to commit an act of terrorism to cover some gambling debts.

It’s a great story (see my review here) and while it may not be based on one of the more widely-known Culture books, I think this will play out well on the screen…not only because of the story itself, but because short fiction seems to be better suited towards a standalone film.

Maybe this will finally be the push I need to finally start diving into the Culture novels…