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

Circumstances do not make the man, they reveal him.
James Allen (1864 - 1912)

Unusual Circumstances book cover For clarity, this is a work of Fan Fiction. This story is set in the Culture universe, imagined by the late Iain M. Banks as a setting for many of his amazing books.

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.

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Impact Analysis Book Cover 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.

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 numerous 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 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.

On a Pale Horse, Darkly Book Cover Door Bell Book Cover 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.

City of Glass Book Cover Never a Coincidence 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.

Never a Coincidence is a sequel to Unusual Circumstances and further investigates events at the very beginning of The Culture's existence.

Mind in the Making Book Cover

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.

Death and Paradise Book Cover Rocks and Stars Book Cover

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 Book Cover Letters to an Alien Book Cover

Artistic Expression explores what happens when the Culture is challenged by two powerful remnants of civilizations which have mostly Sublimed.

The Gaia Principle Book Cover

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.


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.