Nature is commonplace. Imitation is more interesting.
The premise of the society of the Culture and the nature of the universe which it inhabits - together with numerous other species - is rich, vivid and original, and it seemed to me that there is plenty of opportunity to further develop stories within that society.
This story has at least two additional sources of inspiration. Firstly, The Phrontistery has provided a splendid collection of obscure words which might just have been used by Iain M. Banks during his life, and in any case is an excellent source of insight and inspiration.
Secondly, the discussion on this thread on Reddit has provided a great idea to develop as the basis of this story.
As always, this work represents my own interpretation of the nature of Mr. Banks' universe and the individuals to be found therein; any errors of commission or omission are, of course, entirely my own.
Please feel free to read and comment on this particular story.
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.
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, horrow, romance and ghost stories - often more than one at a time. Includes my all-time favourite short-short story Hearts and Flowers.