A short story set in the Culture universe created by Iain M. Banks

Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action
Ian Fleming (1908 - 1964)

Never a Coincidence book cover This is entirely and completely a work of Fan Fiction. This story is set in the Culture universe as created by the late Iain M. Banks as a background for many of his amazing novels.

Mr. Banks did not find the time, before his untimely demise, to fully explore the origins of the Culture in any of his books. Nevertheless, there are a few hints (in Excession and The Hydrogen Sonata, for example), as well as a short introduction to the history in A Few Notes on the Culture.

This story is a further attempt to explore one small facet of the creation of the Culture and the forces at play driving that union.

This story is a sequel to the events described in Unusual Circumstances. You might like to read that story before diving into this one.

Phage: a combining form meaning “a thing that devours,” used in the formation of compound words.

Please feel free to read and comment on this story.

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Impact Analysis Book Cover My now nearly complete Culture novel is called Impact Analysis.

Apart from being set in the same fictional universe, this book shares no characters or plot with Dark Matter, so the two works can be read independently.

Dark Matter Book Cover I have started work on a second novel set in the Culture universe created by Iain M. Banks. This one is called Dark Matter.

This is still very much a work in progress. Again, apart from being set in the Culture universe, this book shares no characters or plot with Impact Analysis.

Galactic Recession Book Cover Phrontisterion Book Cover I have also written several short stories set in Mr. Banks' Culture universe.

Phrontisterion explores the fate of a Group Mind composed mainly of rather grumpy retired Drones.

Butterfly Happiness Book Cover Unusual Circumstances Book Cover Galactic Recession is a story about an Eccentric Culture ship and its crew travelling to a galaxy far beyond our own.

On a Pale Horse, Darkly Book Cover Door Bell Book Cover Unusual Circumstances examines a time towards the very beginning of the Culture, and explores some of the politics and personalities involved.

Butterfly Happiness explores the attitude of the Culture to the Sublime.

Door Bell explores a meeting between a well-known author and an enigmatic visitor who seems to know more about the author's fiction than he does himself.

Mind in the Making Book Cover On a Pale Horse, Darkly explores what happens when a deep sea diver is asked to help resolve a conflict of desires between Minds.

A new story provisionally entitled Mind in the Making is still in the early stages of development.

Findo Gask: Goblin Detective book cover Findo Gask: Gumshoe Glamours book cover Findo Gask: Dragon Sleuth book cover Take a look at my series of hard-boiled fantasy novels featuring the eponymous underworld detective: Findo Gask: Goblin Detective, Findo Gask: Gumshoe Glamours and Findo Gask: Dragon Sleuth.

Four Square Less One Book Cover You may also like my collection of fifteen interlinked science fiction and fantasy short stories under the title Four Square Less One. Can you work out the connection between the stories?

New Bridge to Lyndesfarne Book Cover Bridge at War Book Cover Death on the New Bridge Book Cover Bridge of Stone and Magic Book Cover Also, look at my Lyndesfarne Bridge series of novels: New Bridge to Lyndesfarne, Bridge at War, Death on the New Bridge and Bridge of Stone and Magic.

Then a Miracle Occurs Book Cover I am now working on a second (and still growing) collection of short stories under the title ...Then a Miracle Occurs. An eclectic collection of science fiction, fantasy, horror, romance and ghost stories - often more than one at a time. Includes my all-time favourite short-short story Hearts and Flowers.