Fully Automated Small Screen Luxury Communism: Amazon is making a TV show out of Iain Banks's Culture novels


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/02/22/consider-phlebas.html


extended nerdgasm!

just gave my hardcopy of Consider Phlebas to a friend of my dad’s in FL
I need to binge watch Altered Carbon too


That is wonderful news! I’ll have to catch up on all the ones I haven’t read yet; I’ve only read maybe three of 'em so far.


All my extremities are crossed that they do it justice. Producing a quality adaptation sure is a tall order though, especially when you consider things like AIs being pivotal characters.


Damn. I have too much to watch as it is just with UK terrestrial/cable TV. Which made it easy to resist the siren calls of Netflix, Amazon and the rest. Now I hear Netflix is making Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon, and this news here just means I will have to go Prime - which I hoped I’d never have a reason for, but - again, DAMN - for Iain Banks’ Culture, well just take my money and all my principles too - right now!!


Consider Phlebas is a good starting point, and Amazon’s first season of American Gods leaves me hopeful.


Season 1 of Altered Carbon is out now.

I’m thinking of rewatching Westworld 1 w wife before W2 (she skipped that series)


Of course - stupid me - the reason I’ve been reading about it recently is that it is out now and it needs marketing, not that they are making it! :wink:


But how will Amazon manage to adequately represent Banks’ male gaze on sexually available female characters?


For some reason I’m worried about them fucking up the voices of the ships’ Minds. I guess even if they do go for the somewhat clichéd option of echoey, portentous voiceovers (like HAL 9000 or Michael Sheen’s sapient asteroid in “The Doctor’s Wife”), it won’t be too bad with the right actors: but then you have things like one of the war ships in Excession shouting “Motherfucker!” at its enemies, which might not work in that style.

It’s probably the most slam-bang-space-opera-action of his books, so definitely a good choice for those unfamiliar with his stuff. (IIRC, Banks actually wrote Use of Weapons first, but was persuaded that Consider Phlebas would be an easier sell.)

Personally, I’m looking forward (slightly nervously) to seeing how they handle the escape of the Clear Air Turbulence from deep in the belly of GSV The Ends of Invention.


You mean Starz first season. I’m not aware of Amazon having anything to do with it. Amazon’s only forays into genre programs are, I believe, “Man in the High Castle” and “Tick.” Recently looking at a list of their supposedly original programs (though some were picked up by Amazon years after their aired on television, so…), most of their shows I’d never even heard of. They’re going to be spending huge sums of money on genre programs, though - besides this, there’s the Lord of the Rings series, that’s costing them a fortune in licensing alone.


Amazon says they’re looking for a show to rival GoT? I think they’re gonna be disappointed when they find out that AIs don’t have tits.




Oooooh. As excited as I am by the prospect, part of me wants to wait 20 years until we are near-godlike in our TV and CGI craft.

Admittedly most of Consider Phlebas takes place in the decidedly grittier, space-punkier world outside the Culture, but still. If they show a proper Culture ship and it doesn’t make me want to Sublime on the spot, I’m not sure I can deal with the disappointment.

(Also, guys, let’s leave out the part about the shit-eating cultists led by the cannibal human lard-mountain. That didn’t even make sense in the book.)


It’s going to be tricky. I did listen to a BBC radio adaptation of a Culture story that was good, but the “theatre of the mind” can indulge in luxuries that TV can’t.


Why not? A Mind can have whatever avatar it chooses.


Amazon Exec: “I read the books! They’re great! So I’m imagining a floating, glowing, color-signalling suitcase-sized drone…with tits.”


I don’t want anything shit stuck to the Culture novels in my head. I’ll wait a week, peek at the reviews and comments to see if it does it justice, and then watch it if it does.

  1. Bezos and Musk start space race
  2. Musk names spacecraft and landing platforms after AI ships from the Culture books
  3. Musk kicks Bezos’ ass in space race
  4. Bezos snags Culture series for Amazon development
  5. Bezos goes neenerneenerneener (?)


I beg to differ…