Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action
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.
My first Culture novel is called Impact Analysis. This story explores the lengths to which some Minds will go in order to test the Culture's own society.
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.
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.
I have also written numerous short stories set in Mr. Banks' Culture universe.
Phrontisterion explores the fate of a Group Mind composed mainly of rather grumpy retired Drones.
Galactic Recession is a story about an Eccentric Culture ship and its crew travelling to a galaxy far beyond our own.
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.
On a Pale Horse, Darkly explores what happens when a deep sea diver is asked to help resolve a conflict of desires between Minds.
City of Glass follows the Contact section in action on a planet not entirely dissimilar to Earth, where some of the inhabitants have developed a curious denial of reality.
Mind in the Making explores how new Culture Minds are created, and the activities of other Minds in supporting their development.
Rocks and Stars follows the Culture's Quietudinal Service (Quietus) in action and explores what that organisation might do with the dead of other species.
Death and Paradise is another story about the Culture's Quietus service and explores what happens when relics of the dead are found in a system where the Culture has started constructing a new Orbital.
Artistic Expression explores what happens when the Culture is challenged by two powerful remnants of civilizations which have mostly Sublimed.
Letters to an Alien introduces the Culture to a newly-Contacted society by means of letters between a young child and the local Culture representative.
The Gaia Principle considers circumstances when the Culture's Contact section can - and cannot - intervene in the development of another society, regardless of how reprehensible the result might be.
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?
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.