Talk:Culture series

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Sources[edit]

Might be useful. --Philcha (talk) 20:46, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Dates of the Books[edit]

A lot of the books are undated on this list, although they generally provide enough information to give them dates:

  • Consider Phlebas - the fourth year of the Culture-Idiran War. The appendix gives 1327 AD as the start of the war, so the book takes place in 1331.
  • The Player of Games - the GOU Limiting Factor was commissioned 716 years before the events of this book during the last phase of the Culture-Idiran War. This places the novel in the latter half of the 21st Century. However, this causes a potential timline discrepency since Excession, which happens earlier, makes reference to it.
  • The State of the Art - the novella explicity takes place in AD 1977.
  • Use of Weapons - the novel takes place explicitly 115 years after the events of The State of the Art, so in AD 2092.
  • Excession - as noted, some time in the 18th Century. I don't recall if it was 400 years after the start or end of the war, which is important for dating both this book and Matter.
  • Look to Windward - 803 years after the Twin Novae Battle, which is one of the last space battles of the Idiran War (the last space battle takes place in 1367, giving us a date of c. 2170).
  • Matter - the events of Excession take place twenty years prior to this book, so it is also set some time in the 18th Century.

Any holes or problems that make using those dates problematic?--Werthead (talk) 00:42, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

I don't see any, apart from the possible inconsistency you noted re GOU Limiting Factor. Re Excession I'd have ot check but IIRC the conspirators' "fleet" had been mothballed for 400 years, which I'd guess implies some decades after the end of the C-I war. Many thanks, I was considering a timeline! --10:50, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
From Excession ch V: "... two hundred years after the war ended, the number of fully active warcraft was actually smaller than it had been before the conflict began. ... The fleet had been mothballed 500 yrs before Excession (ch V: "The rarefied, specialist Minds in the warships themselves had been consulted like the rest on their fate those five hundred years ago ...). Although vague, this suggests 700 years after the war, which coincides with the dating relative to Player of Games. --Philcha (talk) 21:07, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Very interesting discussion, I have no first-hand info but I am keen on reading the books in (chrono)logical order, so I have noted discrepancies as to the time of Excession. The main page of the present article lists c. 2067 AD. The discussion here suggests 18th century AD. The main page for the Looking to Windward article suggests 19th to 20th century AD. As far as I can tell all info comes from Excession, The Player of Games (2083 AD ?), and Looking to Windward (2170 AD ?), all referenced to Consider Phlebas. Could additional cross-check come from material in Matter? If the times for The Player of Games and Looking to Windward are correct, then I imagine it is possible to resolve the discrepancies as to the time of Excession. I woud eventually accept the above-noted inconsistency as a residual, on the premise that the masterMind may be faillible! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nrlsouza (talkcontribs) 11:42, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

One Culture novel timeline is given at http://www.i-dig.info/culture/culturefaq.html, where some details are provided as to how the dates are derived. It does not contain a time for the latest novel (Surface Detail) but that book does give a time (six hundred years) from the "Chel Debacle", just before the events of Look to Windward, itself 803 years after the Battle of the Twin Novae in the Idiran war, so Surface Detail takes place not before about 2770AD. I cannot explain the 2970AD given in the present article. Sdoradus (talk) 09:36, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

"Culture (series)" or "Culture series"[edit]

The title of the article was changed without discussion from "Culture seres" to "Culture (series)" with the comment "Using parenthetical disambiguation per Wikipedia:Naming_conventions".

However, "series" is NOT a disambiguation. This article is about the series of books. No one refer to "the Culture" meaning the books. That refers to the society, and there is a separate article about "The Culture". If you want to be pedantic, "The Culture" is the disambiguation. The article would be "(Culture) series" if you insist on parenthesising the disambiguation, which would be absurd. So the title should be returned to "Culture series".

And it is completely wrong to redirect [[The Culture}] to this article, so I have reverted that. "The Culture" refers to the society, no the series of books. Barsoomian (talk) 02:05, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

I moved the the article(s) in question (as anyone can see from the logs). I don't understand your problem. "Series" is not a disambiguation? How is that NOT disambiguation? The parenthesis differentiates the Culture series of books from Culture, meaning a society's heritage, language, etc., from Culture the band.
Moreover, you are ignoring the naming convention, which states that to disambiguate, a parenthetical should/can be used. I don't understand your problem with parentheticals. Do you also have a problem with Harry Potter (film series), Heroes (TV series), House (TV series) and Dexter (TV series)? All of them use parentheticals to differentiate the main title, which is often a common word, just like Culture is. No, they aren't pretty, and no one searches for House (TV series), but that's wiki convention. Wiki's system of redirects, searching, and disambiguation pages allows for people to find these articles.
The lynch pin of your argument is that "no one" refers to the Culture meaning the book series, but says who? You have a sample size of one. But really, your own argument belies the fact that it has no basis, as you suggest to change it back to "Culture series", which is really, quite honestly, a distinction without a difference semantically. What the current naming structure offers, though, is the same semantic content while falling in line with wiki conventions and makes it much easier to read and search. erc talk/contribs 03:17, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
You're disambiguating the wrong word. The article is about a SERIES of books, in the real world. Specifically, "The Culture" series of books. It's not about "The Culture", a fictional society, per se. Your title does not describe the article. You're not following wiki conventions, you are misapplying them. As for "no one refers to the Culture meaning the book series", okay, maybe you do. That's your sample size of one. It's like referring to Tolkien's books collectively as "Middle Earth". That's something IN the books. It's not the books.
This isn't a TV/film series, as all your examples are. I looked for some examples closer to home. This is exactly analogous to Asimov's Foundation series. Though I hesitate to mention it as you may be inspired to change that too. The reason the article titles you cite have "series" in brackets is because it's not normally written in text. Where "Culture series" certainly is. Proof: Let's ask Google what sample size it finds. From the first page of hits for "iain M banks" "books in the culture", in order:
the prospect of further books in the Culture series somewhat less imposing.
seems to play a role in a number of books in the Culture series.
Banks has written much better books in the Culture sequence.
the first three books in the Culture series
Eight Books In The Culture Series.
some of the later books in the Culture series.
In the culture series
SciFi books in the "Culture" series
So, none of the above left it at "the Culture" when referring to the books. (Note that I did not include "series" in the search terms to skew it.) All added "series", (most common) or "sequence". And notably, Iain M. Banks himself doesn't use "the Culture" to refer to the books. In A few notes on the Culture he uses "the Culture" in an in-universe context and "the Culture stories" when talking about the books. I could go on, there are 442,000 hits; maybe some do follow your usage, but I don't see any. Barsoomian (talk) 04:16, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
How about empirical evidence about how real people use the words? Specifically: Special:WhatLinksHere/The_Culture.
Inversions (novel) has this line: "It is implied to be set in his Culture universe." You could make the argument that "The Culture" refers to the civilization, but it seems to be that making The Culture redirect to the series makes far more sense in this sentence.
Not invented here: "The Culture novel Excession by Iain M. Banks features. . . " Once again, seemingly a better fit to redirect to Culture (series).
Hyperspace (science fiction): "In The Culture series by Iain M. Banks (1987 onward). . ." Once again, a better fit for Culture (series).
This is not to say that you won't find "points" in your favor. It's to say that you aren't unambiguously right. I'm going to suggest also that people say different things in prose / speaking as opposed to shorthand, and that in shorthand, there are those that use "The Culture" to refer to the series. And in those circumstances, you get a case where the domain is smaller than the range, so you are forced to choose something based on principle. My principle was to go with the source -- the series of books which spawned the fictional concept. Alternatively, I suggested on the other talk page that making "The Culture" a disambiguation page may neatly resolve this dispute. Now, of course, the naming of the articles remains a topic of discussion, and I believe that my naming structure is superior. I await further thoughts. erc talk/contribs 14:00, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
The use of "(series)" implies that the word is not normally spoken or written, but is necessary to disambiguate from other uses of the preceding word or words. But the word "series" IS normally used as-is, in speech and writing. I demonstrated that above, despite your unsupported "one data point" assertion. You say "there are those that use "The Culture" to refer to the series". Oh really? Who? Cite them. Since you're making this whole thing for their benefit, I'd like to know. Now, thanks to your rewording, instead "In the [[Culture series]]..." we have to write "In the [[Culture (series)|Culture series]] ...". The three links you cited: 1) Is correct as is. 2) probably would be better series, but so what? Your "solution" is to send it to a dab page? Great. Let's just waste everyone's time. 3) could be easily fixed by movng the brackets if you hadn't renamed the article. Thanks again for making tedious work for other editors. Instead of adjusting one link of the three, you prefer to break all of them. None of the natural links made by just bracketing text work properly any more. What is the point of this? To make it consistent with TV seres? It's NOT a TV series. Making The Culture into a dab page is a terrible idea. As I have argued on that article. I cannot see any advantage to your system of naming. Barsoomian (talk) 16:52, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

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Place within Science Fiction[edit]

This section, in particular, could use some work. Currently, it's poorly cited (a single citation is used to justify a claim about the entire genre of cyberpunk) and the opinion of one or two scholars is presented as fact. Without a greater variety of sources and more attention placed on attributing scholarly opinion AS opinion, this section doesn't meet Wikipedia guidelines. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:3068:4FE0:A448:FBE6:169C:80D6 (talk) 06:21, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

Surface Detail Date[edit]

For those catching up - 86.167.5.121 changed the date the book takes place, I reverted it, the IP reverted it, I reverted it again, and User:Yisiririiysiyriyi (newly formed, this is their only contribution - seems to be the same person as the IP) reverted it again. In an attempt to avoid WP:3R, I edited the original version to what I believed was a consensus, reflecting the uncertainty. It's been reverted again, so I thought it time to bring it to the talk page.

Here's the original version before User:Yisiririiysiyriyi stepped in.

"2875 CE (approximate) or 2767 CE (approximate) [1]"

Here's what User:Yisiririiysiyriyi changed it to:

"2967 CE (approximate) [2]"

Here's my consensus change:

"Some time between 2767[3] and 2967 CE (approximate) [4]"

There are a couple things at play here:

  1. There isn't a clear answer to when it takes place.
  2. The book refers to the "Chell debacle" - the series of events that took place shortly before "Look to Windward" - as happening 600 years previously, [5], whereas Banks in Wired says it takes place 800 years later.
  3. Neither of these dates lines up with being 1500 years after the end of the Idiran war.
  4. I would rather defer to the canon description of the time than to one in an interview where he's speaking off the cuff and uses the word "about".

If we can't reach a consensus, I'd like to request a WP:3O. Smith(talk) 21:03, 27 May 2016 (UTC)


the "Chell debacle" could be taken to refer to the chel war dead being blocked from entering the artificial heaven, not just the war itself. that wasn't resolved at the end of look to windward, there for the "600 year" thing isn't necessarily inconsistent — Preceding unsigned comment added by Yisiririiysiyriyi (talkcontribs) 22:29, 28 May 2016 (UTC)
the characters say "1500", banks' statement would make it 1592. it doesn't seem completely unreasonable to me that someone might round 1592 down to 1500 for the sake of brevity when talking. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Yisiririiysiyriyi (talkcontribs) 22:39, 28 May 2016 (UTC)
I think we need more opinions. Looking at the history of the page, @Zburh and Hypnosifl: have both edited the page recently - any thoughts? Also, in the future, if you want to change a page away from the consensus, please wait until a decision has been made on a talk page before waging war by reverts. Smith(talk) 08:25, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

do you actually have a response to my reasoning for making it 2967?Yisiririiysiyriyi (talk) 15:12, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

Yes, but I think I'm running the risk of being too close to the matter to behave perfectly rationally. Your insistence on continued reversion is incredibly annoying, but you should know that when I say I completely disagree, it isn't because of that.
  1. It seems obvious to me that the "Chell Debacle" refers to the incidents actually taking place on Chell, not the attempted subterfuge that resulted. It's fairly clear that the story is over at that point; whether or not they continue to be blocked from heaven, the debacle has occurred. The Culture deals with attempted subterfuge and attacks all the time; Contact screwing up colossally is rare enough to be a debacle.
  2. Even if the debacle continued, the book itself says that it's been 600 years. Read what I wrote: I quoted it. I can provide a link to the Google Books if you still don't believe me, or you can google the quote, as I've copied and pasted it verbatim. I give weight to the canon descriptions over the off-the-cuff author's descriptions in an interview. Your chosen date is dependant on it being exactly 800 years, which means you have no leg to stand on when arguing against an exact date in the case of the 600 year quote or the 1500 years quote.
  3. Your chosen quote is directly contradicted by 2 pieces of evidence from within the book, and yet you choose to value it without taking the uncertainty into account. My suggested edit would encompass all options, yet for whatever reason, you are willfully being obstinate about something that isn't borne out by the sources.
I'm glad that you've decided to join the wikipedia community - I truly am - but you can't just force through your opinion when it contravenes the accepted consensus without first discussing it on the talk page. It isn't my place to prove to you that what I have to say is correct any more than it is your responsibility to do so too. Smith(talk) 17:56, 29 May 2016 (UTC)


Banks is contradictory with the the dates of things and whether they take place before or after each other in the Culture history, he makes reference to the player of games in Excession even though the book repeatedly dates itself to hundreds of years before Player. I'm sure the actual reason Banks gives three different dates is just that he got the time line mixed up in his head, but if I'm trying to come up with an in universe way to reconcile them this is my argument, “1500” could be an approximation and “chel debacle” is vague enough not to necessarily mean the cast warYisiririiysiyriyi (talk) 19:03, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

This inherent uncertainty is why I proposed my revision: we don't know which date it took place in, so we should offer a range of possibilities. I would argue upon reflection that the two possibilities we should refer to are the ones based in the text of the novel, and we should ignore the interview since it isn't canon, but in any case we can't just list one date, especially given the possibilities. Smith(talk) 20:27, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

I still think the Chell reference is to vague, would you settle for having it 2875 to 2967?Yisiririiysiyriyi (talk) 19:18, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

I honestly think that 2875 is the later date I think we should list - I don't think that an interview that isn't canon should be given precedence over in-universe sources. I'm happy to list it as a part of a range, but there's no way that the Chell debacle lasted that long, given that it's basically wrapped up at the end of the novel (with the e-dust assassin killing the instigators of the attempted orbital destruction, there's not really much more the Chelgrians would do). I also don't think there's any harm in listing a wider range, given that doing so would reflect the uncertainty well. Smith(talk) 14:06, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

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  1. ^ The book repeatedly refers to the Idiran war as occurring about 1500 years earlier; the war formally ended in 1375. However, it also states that the events of Look to Windward occurred about 600 years earlier.
  2. ^ The book repeatedly refers to the Idiran war as occurring about 1500 years earlier; the war formally ended in 1375. "Wired.co.uk talks to Iain M Banks about his latest Culture novel, Surface Detail". Wired. 14 October 2010. ) "This one takes place about eight hundred years later on in the chronology of the culture" at the time he was speaking the latest book in the culture chronology was set around 2167
  3. ^ The book states that the events of Look to Windward occurred about 600 years earlier ("However, as part of what were in effect war reparations after the Chel debacle, six hundred years ago..."), and repeatedly refers to the Idiran war as occurring about 1500 years earlier; the war formally ended in 1375.
  4. ^ "Wired.co.uk talks to Iain M Banks about his latest Culture novel, Surface Detail". Wired. 14 October 2010. ) "This one takes place about eight hundred years later on in the chronology of the culture" at the time he was speaking the latest book in the culture chronology was set around 2167
  5. ^ “Shortly following the Idiran War,” the Bodhisattva said, “the Culture became the latest in a long line of trusted Level Eights to be given Protectorate custody of the Disk. However, as part of what were in effect war reparations after the Chel debacle, six hundred years ago, we ceded overarching control of the Disk to the Nauptre Reliquaria and their junior partners the GFCF.” - roughly 1/3 of the way through the book