Circumstances do not make the man, they reveal him.
Mr. Banks did not find the time, before his untimely demise, to fully explore the origins of the Culture in any of his novels. Nevertheless, there are a few hints in several books (Excession and The Hydrogen Sonata, for example), as well as a short introduction to the history in A Few Notes on the Culture.
So, this story is an attempt to explore one small facet of the creation of the Culture, as well as fill in some of the back-story of a few popular characters and locations.
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.
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 several 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.
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.
A new story provisionally entitled Mind in the Making is still in the early stages of development.
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.