Originality is nothing but judicious imitation.
As with previous works, let me be clear: this is FanFiction. This book is set in the Culture universe, famously used by the late great Iain M. Banks as a setting for many of his astonishingly powerful novels and stories.
The premise of the society of the Culture and the nature of the universe it inhabits is rich, vivid and original, and it has seemed to me that there is plenty of opportunity to further explore stories of some individuals on the edges of that society, and others who oppose them.
This book is quite definitely a work in progress. Right now I have a few rough-draft chapters and a load of notes still to be formulated into something presentable. I am actively assembling new chapters, a few paragraphs at a time, in these online pages. More to follow soon.
"Sma," the ship said finally, with a hint of what might have been frustration in its voice, "I'm the smartest thing for a hundred light years radius, and by a factor of about a million ... but even I can't predict where a snooker ball's going to end up after more than six collisions."
I have had a fair bit of feedback from online readers on this writing project so far, so please feel free to comment by email on the available chapters.
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.
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.
Butterfly Happiness explores the attitude of the Culture to the Sublime.
Unusual Circumstances examines a time towards the very beginning of the Culture, and explores some of the politics and personalities involved.
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.
Never a Coincidence is a sequel to Unusual Circumstances and further investigates events at the very beginning of The Culture's existence.
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.
Retrospective State explores more of the actions and consequences of Culture ships during the early part of the Idiran war.
Star Crossed is a slice-of-life story set in the Culture, albeit with a twist in the tale.
Beneath the Ice explores how Culture Minds manipulate the presentation of data to minimise psychological damage both to individuals and to the society as a whole.
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.