Move over Dune, your time is up. Iain M. Banks‘ The Culture is finally coming to the big screen.

The first of Banks’ science fiction novels to portray ‘The Culture’ was Consider Phlebas, published back in 1987. That was when I was a young teenager and always keen to find the next big thing in genre literature, so having loved Banks’ The Wasp Factory, I scooped it up hungrily and was almost instantly sucked into something so much bigger, more complex and awesome than I had dared to expect.

The scope of this one novel was extraordinary, introducing readers to a quite incredibly sophisticated portrayal of a socialist-anarchist utopia, but Banks didn’t stop there and kept filling out the details of his world in a long running series of short stories and novels that continue to this day. Both gripping reads and astute philosophical and political debates, The Culture stories are, for my money, the best thing in modern sci-fi publishing. If you’ve so far got no idea about Banks but are a sci-fi fan, I’d strongly recommend getting a grounding in the milieu from Wikipedia – and then rushing out and buying a heap of books.

The first realisation of The Culture in cinema will be an adaptation of the brilliant short story A Gift From the Culture.

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