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WikiProject Novels (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject iconThis article is within the scope of WikiProject Novels, an attempt to build a comprehensive and detailed guide to novels, novellas, novelettes and short stories on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, you can edit one of the articles mentioned below, or visit the project page, where you can join the project and contribute to the general Project discussion to talk over new ideas and suggestions.
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What was the epilogue alluding to?[edit]

It's been a few years since I read Excession, so I may be forgetting something crucial, but what do you think the epilogue was alluding to? Based on the article, I suspected the larger existence was a multiverse a la the many-worlds interpretation, and that the Excession knew travel between different quantum outcomes to be possible. This knowledge was not revealed to the Culture or the Affront, as their behavior in the novel indicates they're unlikely to be able to deal with the moral challenges that come with manipulating all possible outcomes.

In the book it's clear that the Culture accept that reality consists of a succession of universes "centred" (for want of a better term) on the same point, and born one after another in a sequence of acts of creation. Understanding the Excession is seen as the key to being able to move between these universes. But it's not a matter of the many-worlds interpretation of QM, as these universes are entirely distinct. It is described as potential immortality - being able to leave your current universe prior to its heat-death and move to a younger universe. Cfmdobbie (talk) 20:56, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

Not Sure?[edit]

{{spoiler}} I'm not sure that the Excession can really be called a Big Dumb Object. After all, it takes a number of very obvious actions in response to its environment, is eventually revealed to be at least sentient, and indeed has a brief role as narrator. In that short interlude its place in a much broader picture is exposed in a deliberately tantalising manner.

Let's not also forget that the Excession communicates with some of the surrounding Minds; they mention exchanging greetings with it at least once.


well it's fairly dumb, since it doesn't know about capital letters and punctuation according to the epilogue. How about a "Big semi-literate object"? ehh.. seriously I agree, my addition contradicts the Big Dumb Object idea. Uther Dhoul 20:25, 14 July 2006 (UTC)


to call the most powerful technological entity in the Culture Universa a 'Big Dumb Object', is, well, dumb! 11:17, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Spoiler tag[edit]

I added a spoiler tag above the Plot Summary and moved Plot Summary close to the then of the article, because the Plot Summary leaves no real surprises in the 2 main plot threads (conspiracy to frame Affront; Dajiel and G-H). Why was the spoiler tag removed?Philcha 16:38, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Because spoiler tags aren't used on Wikipedia to mark plot sections. It's like putting a warning "Note: technical details" on a section entitled technical details. Readers should expect that a plot section in an encyclopedia will include all major facets of the plot, including the ending. — Carl (CBM · talk) 17:09, 6 September 2007 (UTC)


Outside Context Problem is a neologism coined by Banks for this novel. I've merged the usable content of the article Outside Context Problem with this one. --Anticipation of a New Lover's Arrival, The 18:29, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

That merge has been challenged, so I've made a formal proposal. Please carry out all discussion for or against the proposal at Outside Context Problem#Merge_proposal. --Anticipation of a New Lover's Arrival, The 11:12, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

It's a few months later and still no external material has shown up on the subject of OCP. I've revived the merge proposal. See Talk:Outside Context Problem. --Jenny 18:08, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

I added the category 1990s science fiction novels. Transcendentalist01 (talk) 04:07, 9 March 2014 (UTC)