Iain M. Banks: getting some Culture (audio interview).
Fan David Barr Kirtley sits down with Simone Caroti – author of The Culture Series of Iain M. Banks: A Critical Introduction – to chat about British science fiction author Iain M. Banks and his seminal Culture novels.
In the series, the Culture is composed primarily of sentient beings of the pan-human variety, artificially intelligent sentient machines, and a small number of other sentient “alien” life forms. Machine intelligences range from human-equivalent drones to hyper-intelligent Minds.
The Culture’s economy is maintained automatically by its non-sentient machines, with high-level work entrusted to the Minds’ subroutines, which allows its humanoid and drone citizens to indulge their passions, romances, hobbies, or other activities, without servitude.
Many of the series’ protagonists are humanoids who choose to work for the Culture’s elite diplomatic or espionage organisations, and interact with other civilisations whose citizens hold wildly different ideologies, morals, and technologies.