Talk:The Culture

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Liberal or Anarchist?[edit]

At the beginning of the article,the Culture is referred to as an anarchist utopia. Later in the article under Issues Raised, it is called: "The Culture itself is an "ideal-typical" liberal society; that is, as pure an example as one can reasonably imagine"... I'm confused, is it anarchist or liberal? It can't be both. Anarchism -- with the exception of right wing deviations -- is a form of stateless socialism. Liberalism is a representative state based on capitalism. So the article is incoherent.

For this reason, I added a temporary edit to issues raised, noting that the culture is not liberal and is closer to libertarian socialism or post scarcity anarchism. Because it is a functionally stateless, classless, and lacks wage slavery. (Ideals of libertarian socialists and not of liberals). Ian M Banks, in turn, called it: "socialism within, anarchy without"

For people confused by the concept of libertarian socialism, see my links on the socialist discussion below. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sizemore101 (talkcontribs) 23:41, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

It still claims the society is liberal. I am very confused. Is it liberal or is it libertarian socialist? The two are mutually exclusive. Is Iain Banks politically illiterate or does the author of the section just not understand the difference between liberalism and socialism? (talk) 00:32, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

Aesthetics of Marain[edit]

Just to explain my revert. I can't remember where it's said now, but I'm certain that the aesthetic value of Marain is discussed in one of his novels (along the lines in the article). I did think it was in his "A Few Notes On The Culture", but it's not. Can anyone recall where this comes up? --Plumbago 11:05, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

Might this be The Player of Games:

"Another change, [Flere-Imsaho] thought. [Gurgeh] had altered. ... One reason was that Gurgeh was speaking Eächic all the time. ... when Culture people didn't speak Marain for some time they ... lost the carefully balanced structure of the Culture language, its subtle shifts of cadence, tone and rhythm behind for, in virtually every case, something much cruder." Tonywalton  | Talk 09:58, 25 October 2006 (UTC)

Marain Font[edit]

I have produced a free font based on the description of the Marain langauge at [1], font is TrueType and posted at [2]. I'd like to add this link to the article, any comments?

Tomcully 15:58, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

Culture Planets?[edit]

I'm not aware of any reference to the culture inhabiting any planets. In Use Of Weapons, there is an environmental issue in a Contactee civilisation where the culture backs space habitats rather than terraforming -It appears the culture ethically prefers to build its worlds rather than colonise a naturally existing one -much like we have green belts and national parks. I think if there are any culture planets, they may only be those of hstorical significance (homeworlds of the pre-culture civilisations). I'm going to go ahead and change this, because things take long enough around here and I'm in a doing mood, but if anyone knows of a ref. otherwise (maybe in Phlebas) don't hesitate to correct me.

Zepheriah 11:21, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

I've read all the Culture books, and I'm fairly sure planets are mentioned, in a passage listing all the types of place Culturniks live. To be honest tho I couldn't quote it. Certainly they're less prolific than artificial habitats are.

Regarding Orbitals, they have a lot of faith in their force fields, don't they? Perhaps there's levels of dumb backup, simple automated systems with no intelligent controller.

-- Greenaum —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:19, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Culture planets are mentioned, but more in the sense of the slightly quaint origins of their species, rather than something where a typical Culture person would live.
The orbitals would likely function at least crudely / for some time without automation - they seem to require no external energy for their ecosystems (sunlight coming from the local star) and the side walls would keep in the atmosphere. I do seem to remember that forcefields were necessary however, to keep the plates together. Backups? Heck, you are talking about Culture. They probably have backups whose only job is to think of how to make more backups. Ingolfson (talk) 11:10, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I think it was Consider Phlebas where planets were mentioned. Anyway, the Masaq Orbital (Look to Windward) is home to 56 billion people. I think it's just easier to build orbitals. They hold more people, there's no gravity well to climb out of and they have complete control of it. --Mrmaigo (talk) 09:34, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Morthanveld not Culture[edit]

The Morthanveld are mentioned in the section on Spheres and it is not made clear that the Morthanveld are not part of the Culture but a separate civilisation. (talk) 21:37, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

That section clearly states at the beginning that these aren't Culture-only habitats - rather it explains habitats in the Culture's setting. Cheers, Ingolfson (talk) 05:21, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

weaponry and technology[edit]

how about a section on these things?

Uther Dhoul 14:43, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

very good idea, it does feel like this article's getting very detailed on some aspects, yet thin on others. Lets add it to the To-do's.
Zepheriah 11:14, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

It is stated that "combat drones equipped with knife missiles do appear in Descendant" in the section on Behaviour in war. I don't remember a novel with that title, nor a short story. A clearer reference would be nice. (talk) 21:43, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

The short story 'Descendant' is in 'The State of the Art' story collection. It's the one about the intelligent suit which finally arrives back at base with its occupant dead. Way to give the story away by the internal artwork, BTW. Stupid editors! Ingolfson (talk) 05:24, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

ToDo list[edit]

I moved this note from the page -- something of a to-do list:

"Will fill more in later... stuff to cover: absence of laws (mention "slap-droning" from Player of Games. The only real taboo in C is that of privacy. In an "economy of plenty" there is no value save sentimental value. See Diziet Sma for example of Culture names. Also needs references to various "space habitats": Orbitals, Rings, Spheres, those things in Look To Windward, etc."
Ooops... I wrote that, many many months ago. Just following the "always leave things unfinished" rule ... ;) Feel free to steal the above list for your work on the article :-) --Tarquin 20:36 Dec 10, 2002 (UTC)
I shall re-add the link to Diziet Sma to the article since it is a nice example of Culture names and now the article's explanation of human/drone names is quite terse, imo. --Blueshade 01:10, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Perhaps a section entitled further reading would be good: it would not just list the Culture books, but talk through them, pointing out what aspects of The Culture are described in each, how they relate. Or would this be better as simply part of the text? --Sam
It'd be good to see something about the Effect, or the Effector, the weapon that evolved considerably between the Idiran War setting of "Consider Plebas" and other books that're set centuries after.

Sections spunoff[edit]

Moving the minds/ships listing talk to Talk:Mind (The Culture) where I think it belongs... --Blueshade 00:11, 3 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Kardaschev analysis[edit]

Re: the remark about the Culture's position on the Kardashev scale - as far as I am aware, the Culture have not ventured far outside their home galaxy (the Milky Way, which they share with us). So it's possibly not the case that they qualify for a level 4 placing. However, (among other sources) they also access energy from the "grid" which essentially allows unlimited energy use. Is this what was meant by placing them at level 4? If so, an even higher rating (at least by the article on the scale) might be more appropriate. Care to comment? --Plumbago 08:49, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

My understanding of the levels was utilization of energy in a given spatial area. Given that the Culture (even with its many megaengineering projects) appears not to have exhausted even the energy accesible from the grid in even the area of a globe, my guess is that Kardaschev levels is irrelevant. We might want to say something along the lines of "If the Culture were to be measured on a Kardaschev scale (disregarding the practically infinite energy available from the grid) they would be a level ...". --Maru (talk) 18:12, 4 October 2005 (UTC)
every time I've looked at this page for over a year that line's bugged me. Your sentiments (and mine) have gone uncontested for long enough that I think we can happily go ahead and dispose of it. -Zepheriah 00:35, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Airspheres have no gravity?[edit]

The source and overall directedness of the gravitational field in an airsphere is unspecified, but when Zlepe dropped his stylus in _Look to Windward_, it definitely went in a direction he considered "down". --Jonrock 22:40, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

It could merely have been away from him, or near a portable g-generator, or any number of reasons. Heck, the sphere could be spinning. --Maru (talk) Contribs 23:20, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

Can someone verify: in _Look To Windward_ Airspheres were not commonly used as habitats by the Culture. This might have been because a common Culture technology, fields, made some Airsphere inhabitants uncomfortable. The way I read it, Zlepe's presence in the Airsphere had some of the formality and preparation of a diplomatic exchange, not merely a movement of a Culture citizen to another habitat. -- 12:03, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Yes, I don't believe Airspheres are generally Culture habitats. Zlepe was there in his capacity as a scientist or explorer. As far as I could read he was the only member of the Culture in the Airsphere.--Nick 15:58, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
The impression in Look to Windward is that airspheres are a power in its own right; despite their seemingly "uncivilized" appearance, they are not something you should trifle with. The Culture seems to have understood this. --Alvestrand 18:40, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
The airspheres are not of the culture, it is made clear in LTW that the culture are there under licence.

Just to add a tiny point, yes. Nobody knows who built the airspheres or how they're held together. It's suspected that the Behemothaurs, or perhaps their evolutionary ancestors, had a lot to do with it. This is from Look To Windward. Also I'd agree, they have gravity. There's nothing that refers to a lack of it in the book, and a few indirect references that suggest gravity. -- Greenaum —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:24, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Of course Airspheres have gravity. That's why the behemosaurs are built like blimps. (For a non-G world, I can recommend Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder; top notch steam punk.) And no, they are not Culture, it is made unmistakably clear! Zlepe is FAR away from home, no Minds around to help or advise him, he doesn't even have email. /roger.duprat.copenhagen —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:18, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

Culture Technology[edit]

I suggest we build a section entitled "Culture Technology" perhaps listed as Section 4 underneath habitats shifting the other sections down one number.

Suggestions please for subsections, i have a nice piece on "Culture Weaponry" I intend to expand it referring to specific weapons mentioned in the books used by key characters. Tactics of Drones and Culture (Contact) Hand-to-Hand combat.

Basically i have descriptions of the following to add under "Culture Weaponry" I intend to merge ship and personal weaponry together as there are both large-scale and handheld/drone versions of many of the general categories here. I am debating whether to add my description of "Knife Missiles" here or under a section on Drones.

Gridfire, Nanohole Bombs, CAMs, Lineguns, Plasma Charges, CREWS, Effectors, Pancakers

Can we have some volunteers to build other sections underneath "Culture Technology" (Personally i think we should leave Ships still under "Habitats"


Late in the discussion, but I'd suggest adding knife missiles to Drones if it hasn't been done already. In Use of Weapons, there is a reference to Zakalwe slagging a knife missile with a ".9" rating, and I seem to recall something in that book suggesting that the .9 was a reference to human intelligence (90% as intelligent as a human?) I don't have a copy now, just a suggestion. BaikinMan 14:27, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

That does not necessarily need to imply that Knife Missiles have sentience. MadMaxDog 07:32, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Culture Weapons[edit]

There should also be a subsection of culture tech on culture weapons, gridfire, and the others. The snare 19:57, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

I don't necessarily disagree with you. However, one or two lines do not make a subsection in an otherwise very balanced and well-fleshed out article. For the moment, I have moved your addition to another section (and even expanded it a little). Also see my edit summary. Cheers, and no offense intended. MadMaxDog 09:02, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Reference for claim that Culture contemporaneous with Earth? (Timeline)[edit]

the idea that Culture exists at the same time as us was new to me. Reference? --Alvestrand 19:26, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

The novella The State of the Art is explicitly set near-present day (the 1970s if I remember correctly). It also dates Use of Weapons to near this time because of overlapping characters (e.g. Diziet Sma). Also, Consider Phlebas includes a time-line in its appendix that relates the events in that novel to our timeframe (though it's several hundred years ago by our standards). Incidentally, the Culture's always explicitly been set within the Milky Way. --Plumbago 19:42, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
thanks - The State of the Art added to shopping list! --Alvestrand 19:44, 26 January 2006 (UTC)
Hope you enjoy it. I'm more a fan of the novels myself, but it's still good. Cheers, --Plumbago 19:47, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

The appendix to Consider Phlebas says that the Culture-Idiran War ended in 1375AD. Excession is set 500 years later, so around the end of the 19th Century. Look To Windward is set 800 years after Consider Phlebas, so around the end of the 22nd Century. The events in The State of the Art are set out in a letter from Diziet Sma to an academic named (or from a place called) Petrain. Before setting off to find Zakalwe in Use Of Weapons Sma tells her drone Skaffen-Amtiskaw to "write a stalling letter to that Petrain guy", so putting that stream of Use of Weapons sometime in the future, and Sma's writing the letter further ahead. (The GCU Arbitrary's visit to Earth is in the spring of 1977.)

Nice to have somewhere to share that nerdy thinking. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:18, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Excession includes a reference to heightened signals security following the "Azadian Matter" from The Player of Games, putting PoG somewhere between Phlebas and Excession. (Displacement technology is also mentined in PoG; thus I have changed the article slightly with regards to that technology's earliest use.)

There is a possible discrepency though, as PoG also says that the Idiran War ended a minimum of 716 years earlier, putting PoG in the late 21st Century, clashing with the date in Excession.--Werthead (talk) 23:05, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
"The time frame for the published Culture stories is from roughly AD 1300 to AD 2100, with Earth being contacted during the end of the time frame, though the Culture had covertly visited the planet in the 1970s in The State of the Art." - Can anyone tell me what the source for the bolded part is? Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:28, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

Culture references in other Banks books[edit]

I'd like to add this, with a link to The Bridge. I've a feeling there are some others. Thoughts? Guinnog 21:35, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

The Algebraist[edit]

I added the section below into the discussion page on 'The Algebraist' a couple of days ago, but thought it might be worth repeating it here for comments...
"Yes, but there are some startling similarities! [ie Between the human factions in the Algebraist and 'the culture' Universe] For example, the Beyonders seem to be a grouping that very much resembles the origins of the society that became the the culture (as described in Banks' notes on the culture essay). The Mercatoria is thus much like the oppressive regimes that were seeking to stifle the 'proto-culture'...
The AIs are very much like the Minds of the culture.
All a bit moot I suppose, since the history of the culture is older than that of Earth bound civilisations (which are explicitly referenced in the Algebraist) and the culture is known to have visited Earth (State of the Art).
Having said that though, the Algebraist does make reference to two strands of humanity the 'remainder humans' stuck on Earth and the ones who were kidnapped and 'mentored' as part of the galactic culture.
Even so, the timelines quoted for this book an the culture novels don't seem to tally, so what I think is a nice idea, doesn't seem to work! :-("
Anyone else think this or have any other comments? 09:44, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
I noticed the parallels too, but in fact I was more impressed at how he was NOT falling prey to a "oh I'll just make them act like with my previous ideas" kind of pitfall. Algebraist was clearly Banks, but not Culture. Ingolfson (talk) 10:14, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Nicely put! (talk) 13:48, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
No, this is not coherent.
You've already noted the timeline incoherence.
As The Hydrogen Sonata explains, the Culture is a merge of several panhuman civilizations, NOT including the Earth. The culture already exists for some centuries when they encounter the 1970s Earth in State of Art.
So, no, Earth civilization can't give birth to the Culture one...
But there are also some technology (wormholes) and civilizational (a lot more of involved civilizations). And of course there are the Dwellers, omnipresent in the Algebraist world, but absent of the Culture cycle.
And finally, I don't see real common points between Beyonders and the Culture. The Culture is extremely reluctant for war as the Idiran war first, and the events in Excession relate.
But the most important is Wikipedia gives the current state of human knowledge, such new analysis would be original research and so not publishable here. --Dereckson (talk) 13:28, 2 August 2014 (UTC)

Culture Biology[edit]

I changed "bodies can be gender reassigned according to whim" to "sexual organs can change from male to female with a mental command".

Earth gender politics aside, what actually happens when a Culture human changes from wo/man to wo/man is exactly what I describe above: he or she activates a different set of gonads. Apparently they have both sorts and what Banks has referred to as a "rotary system"- to move them about presumably. I think it was in "The State of the Art" in fact (where the guy who goes native has his removed to resemble the locals better). I seem to remember something about how nothing else much needs to change, since the Culture humans are all drop dead gorgeous so man, woman, it doesn't really make a difference, but I don't have the books at hand (they 're half a continent away) and I can't check for sure, sorry. Stassa 21:58, 13 September 2006 (UTC)

Culture tech goes beyond sex changes, males can become females and give birth and this is an inbuilt choice, I forget which book it is in(maybe player of games) but it is implied that every culture humanoid gives birth to 1 child, culture humanoids can change their boby to an amazing degree. Also culture tech is not limited by DNA, in Excession iirc 1 agent of SC wanted a body of another species, they gave him it. They also saved his head from a bad mission and regrew his body. It is implied that culture humanoids have control over their own DNA.
The regrowth from a head only was in Use of Weapons. Though obviously, since they can back-up humans into comuter data, and reform them from scratch, that operation was actually a little thing for them (basically a courtesy, so that the information and experiences since the last backup survive as well). As for the DNA - I do not think they control the DNA as such (as an individual, their tech is certainly capabble), but they have inbuilt control over biological and morphological functions to an amazing degree. This includes full (not just cosmetic) gender change. Ingolfson (talk) 10:19, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Thinking it over, this makes them almost as the shapechangers in State of the Art. Except not as quickly-acting or as much geared to infiltration.... Ingolfson (talk) 10:19, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
I believe you mean the Changers, like Horza in Consider Phlebas (not in the State of the Art). That was back in the time of the Idiran wars and they were genengineered to be like that too. I'm not entirely sure they weren't meant to be some offshoot of the Culture, or people from a Culture world, or using Culture tech. OK, sorry, digression :)Stassa (talk) 21:52, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
I have a question about this.
Certain eccentrics have chosen to become drones or even Minds themselves, though this is considered rude and possibly even insulting by most humans and AIs alike."
Which is rude and insulting? Becoming drones, becoming Minds, or both?
I'm not sure why it would be rude or insulting. Having other changes wouldn't be rude or insulting, but becoming a Mind or a drone would be? Thanks.  : (talk) 01:04, 16 November 2011 (UTC)NotWillDecker

Decisions in the Culture[edit]

I've just reverted what looked like OR to me. From "A few notes on the Culture" Banks says :

"Politics in the Culture consists of referenda on issues whenever they are raised; generally, anyone may propose a ballot on any issue at any time; all citizens have one vote. Where issues concern some sub-division or part of a total habitat, all those - human and machine - who may reasonably claim to be affected by the outcome of a poll may cast a vote."

While it appears true that in wartime the Minds make a lot of the immediate decisions (though they are most often in the best position to do so), they're treated equally with humans and drones in Culture political life. So the edit suggesting the Minds were in charge is somewhat misleading. Cheers, --Plumbago 08:02, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

I had reverted a prior version on the same grounds. --Guinnog 08:14, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
Cool. I hadn't spotted that. Cheers, --Plumbago 09:27, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
No problem with that. I stand corrected, having read only a small part of the Culture books. Still, the statement about wartime actions was not OR. Unless you consider OR as mentioning something described exactly that way in the book. MadMaxDog 10:57, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
Nor is there any problem with what you tried to add; just that it seems an oversimplification. Maybe we can use an adapted version, especially if you can give a specific quote, ideally with a page reference. --Guinnog

04:28, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

Okay, lets see, if I can find it. Page 309 in 'Look to Windward' (Orbit 2001 Edition): "Just the contemplation of a loss on such a magnitude was sufficient to give the strategic planning Minds of the Culture's war command the equivalent of ulcers..." - I understand that this does not mean they make the ultimate decisions. More like generals in a human democratic civilization, I guess.
Page 312 in 'Look to Windward' (Orbit 2001 Edition): "I (Masaq' orbital Mind) was part of the decision-making process, though even if I'd disagreed I might still have acted as I did. That's what strategic planning is there for." - Note another reference to the strategic planning.
If you don't agree that this shows a certain 'First among equals' status of Minds in the Culture (if only because they are so much more suited to some tasks), then I'd say it still merits a paragraph somewhere about their organizational structure. MadMaxDog 07:20, 9 October 2006 (UTC)


Does it really seem socialistic to anyone? I would like to remove that, but want a second opinion first? Anarchistic I can buy. - cohesion 01:06, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

While I do get your implied point - the thoughts associated with 'socialistic' don't fit what the Culture represents - 'socialism', as defined on Wikipedia, hits relatively close to what the Culture is (especially the first para, though obviously the socialism definition was not written with a post-scarcity society in mind, at least not in this form). One could certainly argue that the means of production are in the hands of the citizens. Long rant, short comment - please do not delete, unless you find a better link to replace it with MadMaxDog 07:29, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Given that it's got a powerful semi-secret police force with a decision mechanism ("Special Circumstances does what's right") that seems only weakly bound to its publicly avowed decision mechanisms ("the citizens vote"), and not much hint that individuals are in charge of the means of production at the scale of Orbital-building (so one can assume that "the state" somehow is)... yes, "socialist" seems to fit. As far as any label fits the Culture, and as far as the label "socialist" fits anything. --Alvestrand 07:31, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
In Player of Games and Look to Windward substantial elements of humans influencing the design of Orbitals exist (the girl in 'PoG' is actually studying to be a 'landscape designer' if I remember it right, and talks about building floating islands...)
Special Circumstances probably has a similar accountability as current western secret services. I.e. details only come to light later or not at all, but the main lines of action are given by authority. Which brings us back to the question of who has authority in the Culture. I still claim that the Minds have a 'primus inter pares' status. May eventually try to rephrase the existing sections describing the power structure...
MadMaxDog 07:05, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
If you read the books you see that it is not Socialist, bank's stated that he belived in a command econamy but thats not what he wrote. 2 things to remember, first they have a democracy but if you dont like the choice you dont need to follow it. Democracy in the culture is just public opinion. The second point is that no one is given the right to control others. All socialist states work on the princeple that someone has a right to control someone else (as do all states). In the culture that dosn't happen, yes force can be used but there is no lie about a right. As for SC, it has no right to do anything. SC is a group of "like minded minds" just as other groups mentioned in the books are. The culture as a whole is simple a group of "minds" that have the same view on whats the best way to act. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
Banks has described (In A few notes on The Culture) his creation as Succinctly; socialism within, anarchy without. So it is Socialist, as well as other things. Lurker 14:28, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
The Culture doesn't seem at all socialist to me. The Culture is a stateless society where individual rights and the libertarian non-aggression axiom are respected; socialism is total statism - the opposite! It's weird (unconvincing, imho) that there's no money or, presumably, trade, in the Culture but that doesn't mean it's socialism. SC doesn't have any authority other than their own, as far as I can tell.
I don't think it matters if even the author said it's supposed to be socialist. What he's written does not conform to the proper definition. ShedPlant (talk) 20:13, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
In non of the dictionary definitions I found does it say socialism is equivalent to 'total statism'. It always say collective decision making, not necessarily a state. Everyone's interpretation of socialism will be different, therefore I think it is important that the author states its social. what would enhance the article would be a description of what the author thinks in socialism Jonpatterns (talk) 18:34, 13 March 2013 (UTC)
Arguably the only true "citizens" of The Culture are the minds ... the assorted "humans" appear to be little more than pets. Thee is a fair degree of anarchy/autarchy kicking about, but it does seem that only the minds have any significant input on matters of import. (talk) 13:16, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

Socialism has absolutely nothing to do with statism, though a lot of statists have used the socialist label for propaganda purposes -- Stalin, Lenin, etc. If you look at the first international, there were two primary strains of socialist thought. One by the Marxists/communists, who wanted to gradually do away with the state; and the other by Bakuninists/anarchists who wanted to do abolish the state immediately. It should be noted, that the Marxists never wanted to increase the power of the state, they actually wanted a more democratic and more libertarian state, they just wanted to maintain some state powers temporarely. So people who are saying that the Culture isn't socialist, because it's libertarian have absolutely no understanding of socialism.

You could question that the Culture is run by AIs, and has some authoritarian aspects, so it might not technically be socialist/anarchist. However, it clearly has some common socialist elements. People have complete control of their work environment, complete economic and social equality -- money and classes don't exist. These are the basic principles of socialism.

Here are some links for people who are confused.

Marxist Concept: Withering away of the state

The Civil War in France (A heavily Libertarian text by Marx)

Libertarian Socialism

Left Communism

Libertarian Marxism

Anarcho Communism

Paris Commune (Example of a Libertarian Socialist society)

Libertarian Etymology (Libertarian was actually first used in a political since by Anarcho communists.

Collectivist Anarchism


First International

Revolutionary Catalonia (Example of a Libertarian Socialist society)

Homage to Catalonia (George Orwell's writing about the above society. George Orwell would later suggest that "The Spanish war and other events in 1936-37 turned the scale and thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it." Why I Write

Russian Free Territory (Example of a Libertarian Socialist society)

I hope this helps. The Culture is clearly partially based on this common socialist tradition. Regardless of whether people are under the misconception that socialism is an antonym for statism. (talk) 22:31, 25 December 2013 (UTC)


To the people who have read all novels already: Are the Dra'zon a sublimed species, or something else? I'm not sure yet... MadMaxDog 09:00, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

I'd assume they are Sublimed, they seem to behave like the other Sublimed species in the Culture books. Lurker 15:23, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Although not entirely. You'll recall that they took an active interest in keeping and maintaining their dead worlds (or whatever they were called), and enforcing rules about them. In later books (Excession,, Sublimed civilizations are described as being utterly detached and indifferent to the physical world.
Still, I tend to agree. Probably just a symptom of the author's writing style evolving over the decade or two between the two books. 16:23, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
I thought that Excession mentioned that the Sublimed species have a presence in the galaxy, but they don't encounter physical creatures much, and their action are incomprehensible to them if they do. So, I thought the Dra'zon are a Sublimed species, and their reasons for preserving the Planets Of The Dead are beyond the minds of mortals.

In the third case it sets up teams to study a civilization that is not threatening but is thought to have eliminated civilizations that attacked it. Which novel makes reference to this? (talk) 00:52, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Look to Windward, I think -- study of the airspheres. -- Mindstalk (talk) 02:45, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Images for this article[edit]

I've been thinking about whether images might be a good idea for this article. But how to get some? Obvious idea would be to get some of the books, but that fair use is only allowed on the book articles - would it be acceptable to photograph a set of books similar to this: Image:Gibson sprawl.jpg What do people think? MadMaxDog 07:26, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

If you were the one who added the picture All_The_Culture_Novels.jpg, you missed out Inversions. Still, nice picture though. Fits into the article well. 16:26, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Dang, I did. Thats good and bad news - I need to redo the image, and I have another book to read that I didn't really realise existed! MadMaxDog 00:18, 7 July 2007 (UTC)
Whoopee - a new novel is coming: Matter (novel)! Ingolfson 11:39, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
I read Matter. It's back to the hardcore Space Opera of Consider Phlebas! Yay! :D Anyway, what I came in here to say was: great picture indeed! Stassa (talk) 21:55, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Earth Contacted?[edit]

The article says:

Seen from Earth, the time frame for the published Culture stories is from roughly AD 1300 to AD 2100, with Earth being Contacted during the end of the time frame, though the Culture had previously visited the planet.

In State of the Art, Earth is visited by the Culture (around 1970), but at the end of the story, the culture decides not to interfere or make its presence known. Is there some other work which involves Earth in which Contact is involved? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Krazdon (talkcontribs) 05:34, August 21, 2007 (UTC).

For a related discussion, please see my comments on the Algebraist above, or in the talk page for that book... 10:46, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
The note at the beginning of the appendix to Consider Phlebas implies that Earth will be Contacted in the mid-1980s. It's anyone's guess as to what might have changed Contact's mind about Earth. -Father Inire 06:56, 22 September 2007 (UTC)
Oops, I was wrong: the year given is actually 2110 AD. -Father Inire 06:21, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
Ah, then it's obvious. They took one look at Judge Dredd and decided there was nothing worth salvaging. -Jenny 10:15, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
No, the deal-killer was Wikipedia:Articles for deletion. --Philcha (talk) 08:15, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I really don't think that the note in CP provides evidence to say that Earth was contacted. It's a good 'tease', but it could mean any number of things. I think the reference should be changed to reflect the note's ambiguity. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:07, 9 November 2010 (UTC)

I am not aware that the Earth was contacted other than in The State Of The Art, if there is evidence to the contrary then a clear reference and perhaps a quote needs to be included in the relevant section. To state "see discussion on The Algebraist" as a reference is simply not good enough. I would like to see this section changed as it based on nothing but conjecture. (talk) 23:19, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

Separate article on The "Culture" stories of Ian M. Banks[edit]

I'm going to start a separate article The "Culture" stories of Ian M. Banks to handle history of the series (e.g. the published version of some are re-writes), themes, literary style, place in science fiction (incl the "British Boom"), critical appraisal - because The Culture is large enough already and there's more that could be written about it as a fictional civilisation. --Philcha (talk) 15:52, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Might I suggest going the other way around? Make this article about real-world issues, and spin-off articles ("Technology of The Culture", "Civilizations of The Culture", etc) can handle the fictional elements of the Culture universe. As it stands, this article has a very high degree of "fancruft" and in-universe material, which would be nice to avoid, since it is the main article on the topic. Don't be afraid to do major overhauls, but make sure any such moves are well planned. AKA, write your material on a subpage of your user space, and move into the article space all at once. Huntster (t@c) 16:20, 15 February 2009 (UTC)
I've already done some research, see "Sources" below, which is not an exhaustive list. I agree that at present The Culture "has a very high degree of "fancruft" and in-universe material", but I already have enough sources to remedy that. While researching I concluded that there was enough to support both an improved version of The Culture as background to the series and a more "lit crit" artcile on the series, and that a combined article would be too long. I decided to tackle the "lit crit" article The "Culture" stories of Ian M. Banks first because it can link to The Culture for details and any "in-universe" info I think would be excessive in The "Culture" stories of Ian M. Banks can be added to The Culture or one of the related articles, with refs of course. --Philcha (talk) 18:38, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

Sources & notes[edit]

Hopefully useful: --Philcha (talk) 15:52, 15 February 2009 (UTC)


Isn't The Culture a very neoconservative society?

Give a fervently idealistic liberal society post-scarcity technology and you have The Culture.

Quoted from the Wikipedia page on Neoconservatism:

"Neoconservatism is a political philosophy that emerged in the United States of America, and which supports using American power, including military force, to bring democracy and human rights to other countries.[1][2][3] Unlike traditional conservatives, neoconservatives are generally comfortable with a minimally-bureaucratic welfare state; and, while generally supportive of free markets, they are willing to interfere for overriding social purposes.[4]"

I confess I've always seen the Culture as a blend of libertarianism (which is incompatible with socialism) and 1960-1970s hippiedom. However sources follow Bank's own statements that it's a socialist utopia. Perhaps everyone's <Critical OR alert> missed the consequence of a post-scarcity society which Friedrich Engels foresaw in Anti-Dühring, that "The government of persons is replaced by the administration of things".<end alert>
Joking apart, if you can find a ref for that, present that interpretation in the article. --Philcha (talk) 08:16, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
That is the point, and important one for post-capitalism in the XXI century: once you achieve post-scarcity, socialism and libertarianism can melt together. That is precisely what Marx envisioned for the future, and that's was what he originally called communism. --Againme (talk) 04:56, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
"socialism" doesn't have to mean centralized government control (and even if it did, the Minds seem to fill the role.) More generally, socialism is about social control of the means of production, vs. private, and the original 19th century "libertarians" were socialist or communist -- "property is theft". The Culture seems to come out of that tradition, though even Marx imagined government withering away in post-scarcity communist utopia. -- Mindstalk (talk) 22:53, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
That wikipedia page mentions bringing liberalism to other countries as well, which is accurate in a nuanced way but funny. Accurate because of concerns about rule of law, private property, and market mechanisms; the Culture claims to have neither law, property, nor markets. The Culture is interventionist, Soviet support of Communists abroad was interventionist, neocons are interventionist; that doesn't mean the Culture is neoconservative. You can make an analogy, yes, but it's misleading in spirit, IMO. -- Mindstalk (talk) 22:53, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
Agree with Mindstalk's opinion. Further, conservativism is, at it's core, a very slow-moving "let's keep the true and tested ways" philosophy (I am not judging, just trying to somehow define conservativism's core for the purpose of this argument). And the Culture, by its nature, is constantly re-evaluating itself, trying to change for the better, which isn't very conservative. Ingolfson (talk) 08:10, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Personally I see the actions of the American neo-conservatives as possessing the brutal selfishness and tendency to war of traditional conservatives, without being restricted by their old-fashioned values. Many people in the world see neo-conservatism as a terrifying tendency towards totalitarianism. I think of the Culture as socialist, but then I am one. In the interests of balance, I think any comparison to contemporary Earth politics really should be taken out completely. It's not needed, and is purely based on the reader's interpretation of the book, which will differ for everybody. Take it out! But then the entire article is Original Research anyway. (talk) 07:31, 13 January 2012 (UTC) Greenaum

Cruft, and avoiding tags and content removals[edit]

The article IS full of material of doubtable notability - I love it, and have in fact created much of it, but I am worried about someone coming along and reducing it to (in effect) the lede, a three para summary and the "real world" section. What can we do to improve notability of the material? Any scholarly work about The Culture out there?

I made a stab at cutting the cruft down, then reverted myself, because I got unsure. In any case, even my significant deletions would have only halved the cruft, rather than removing it. Ingolfson (talk) 08:28, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

civilization or civilisation[edit]

-S- or –Z- words. Words such as “civilisation / civilization” the Oxford English Dictionary favours the -z- form, but sometimes tolerates the –s- version. The British English leans towards the -s- forms, American English to -z- forms.

can we please have one but not both thru out this article? I have yet to read the books was looking over this site and found this page so what ever version the author uses i would think would be the best but can we at least use one but not both... Avarince (talk) 09:26, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Been No updates so I am going to go and change them all to z and if some one does not like it they can revert the change --Avarince (talk) 09:23, 23 July 2010 (UTC)

Given that the author was from UK (well, Scotland), I think I would have gone with the -s- form. But you know what? So long as they are all uniform is style, it doesn't really matter. Good edit. Huntster (t @ c) 09:35, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
I'd've gone with the S, but what does Ian use in the books? We should give him the last word. (talk) 07:09, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

"within tubes"[edit]

I'm requesting a partial protect of the page due to the endemic "within tubes" sophomoric humor discussing the nestworld. Although the vandalism is identical - appending "within tubes" redundantly - the socks rotate so it could be more than one person. Timmccloud (talk) 00:42, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

  • Thank you Courcelles for the protect until Jan 11th, sorry to any anonymous editors affected who are doing constructive edits. Timmccloud (talk)

Edit request from, 25 January 2011[edit]

The Culture (a wiki page based on Ian M. banks novels) lists all the books related to the series. It omits a book called "Against a Dark Background" published in 1993. Please add a ref to this book. Thanks (talk) 03:37, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

  • Against a dark background is a standalone novel; the race of people in the isolated solar system don't have faster than light drive and are not a known precursor to the culture. Yes it is an Iain Banks Sci-Fi novel, but not related - Just like Feersum Enjun is also a sci-fi novel that isn't culture related. Timmccloud (talk) 04:14, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Edit request from MarkHarrisonUK, 23 February 2011[edit]

{{edit semi-protected}}

In the section: Banks on the Culture.

Paragraph currently reads:

Banks informed listeners on BBC Radio 4 programme "Open Book" on 27 August 2009 that he would start writing a new Culture novel, Surface Detail, in January 2010, and announced he had finished it just before Easter 2010.[1]

Suggested Update:

Banks informed listeners on BBC Radio 4 programme "Open Book" on 27 August 2009 that he would start writing a new Culture novel, Surface Detail, in January 2010, and announced he had finished it just before Easter 2010.[2]. The novel was released on the 7th October 2010.

Reason for update:

Paragraph talks about a future event which has now taken place. The event (the publication of the novel "Surface Detail") has now happened, and a wikipedia page about it now exists. The paragraph should, therefore, conclude with a note that the novel announced has been published. The publication date is the earliest date from the Wikipedia page on the novel (which happens to be the UK publication) - the novel page lists publication dates in multiple jurisdictions.

MarkHarrisonUK (talk) 20:28, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

  • Thank you for picking this up. I removed the section as we already have a mention of the new book. --John (talk) 20:34, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Backed-up dead people[edit]

From article - "make backup copies of their personalities, allowing them to be resurrected in case of death, although as these are merely copies, consciousness is not continued, and the original individual is not truly reborn, just replaced"

I don't think that's true. Surely when you're replaced from a backup, your consciousness continues from just before the backup was taken. You're genuinely reborn, and if the backup's recent enough (like they try when things look a bit bad in Excession), you're going to come back from just a few seconds before you died. While there's philosophical questions of provenance, and if a perfect copy is the same as the original, from the view of the books, a restored backed-up person is completely their old self. Does the above need removing? (talk) 07:04, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

Inclusion of "Feersum Endjinn" and "Against a dark Background" in the Novels section.[edit]

Is it correct that the novels "Feersum Endjinn" and "Against a dark Background" appear in the Novels section of the The Culture page? My understanding was that neither of these novels occur in the culture "universe". This is explicitly mentioned in the introduction on the Feersum Endjinn page. Mike talk 22:46, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

The Overview Section[edit]

It seems to me that the Overview section of this article is (a) inadequate as a summary of the topic and, (b) inappropriately argumentative as an introduction to the subject. I think the article would be improved by adding more summary material to the section and moving the quote to another place in the article. (talk) 14:26, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

"The Culture" changed to "Culture (fictional civilisation)"[edit]

This section is an archived discussion forming part of this move request. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page, for example here. No further edits should be made to this section.

See the move request for the result. --Mirokado (talk) 13:44, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Re: change of article title "The Culture" to "Culture (fictional civilisation)" Comment was "(Erc moved page The Culture to Culture (fictional civilisation): Using parenthetical disambiguation per WP:TITLE and remove indefinite article in front of name (it's Culture, not The Culture) per WP:THE)"

Without "The" a disambiguation was indeed necessary. But there was no need to remove "The". WP:THE says:

If a word without a definite article would have a general meaning, while the same word has a specific and identifiable meaning, understood by all, if adding the article, and if there is justification to have separate articles for both meanings, the specific meaning can be explained on a separate page, with a page title including the article. Example: "crown" means the headgear worn by a monarch, other high dignitaries, divinities et cetera; while "The Crown" is a term used to indicate the government authority and the property of that government in a monarchy.

That exactly describes the situation. "The Culture" is correct and does not need disambiguation. In discussion, the disambiguation used is always "The Culture". No one says "Culture (fictional civilisation)" and no one is ever going to type that in a search box. It destroys the simple linking The Culture and now every single link requires this long winded version as well I also note that the same person made The Culture redirect to Culture (series), meaning the books, so all existing links would have been wrong. Thus I reverted that last change. 02:40, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

I'm going to re-iterate the comments I wrote on the Culture (series) talk page regarding wiki's resilience. Page names are NOT meant to be automatically searchable in the search box. This is the reason we have disambiguation pages.
To be frank with you, the old naming structure was terrible. Adding parentheses to the article names creates clarity as to what you are referring to and is fully in line with wiki policy and convention. *YOU* happen to like the old scheme, but the old scheme was confusing because there was not a one-to-one mapping of article name to concept. Redirecting The Culture to the series instead of the civilization was an intentional choice. *YOU* believe that "the Culture" should always refer to the civilization, but some people may want it to refer to the book series. Given that a single word can refer to two things (fictional civilization or book series), the obvious choice is to refer to the source--the book series, from which the fictional civilization derives. To be completely frank, when people were linking to "The Culture", half meant the civilization and the other half meant the book series. The concept itself was broken, and the pre-existing state of affairs were that, by virtue of the confused nature of the naming scheme, half the links did not re-direct to its intended article. The change was an attempt to drive clarity and convention.
Moreover, "The Culture" is not correct. The letter t in "the" is not capitalized. Banks NEVER capitalizes "the" unless it is the first word in the sentence. If you look on the cover of the American books, it says "A Culture Book". This is because Culture is the name of the civilization, not The Culture, similar to how United States is the name of country. To refer to the United States, you need to use an article in front of it, which is why "United States" is almost never used without a "the" in front. But the name of the country isn't The United States. It's just "United States". To analogize, we also can't just stick "the" in front of "Culture", that would be like creating a wiki article called "The United States of America", which would be patently wrong. erc talk/contribs 03:32, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
You've replaced a simple and obvious disambiguation "The" with a longwinded, vague (in what fiction?) and unguessable one "(fictional civilisation)". That's not an improvement. That verbiage can be left to a disambiguation page, there is no need to put all that hair splitting in the actual article title, making it a chore to link, when a simpler alternative exists that follows the principle of least astonishment. And again you choose a bad analogy: "United States" does not need any disambiguation, so adding "the" is unnecessary and would achieve nothing useful. With "Culture" the "the" does sufficiently distinguish it from the generic word, as "The crown" in the above cited passage from WP:THE. Barsoomian (talk) 05:52, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
The original title should be restored per Wikipedia:Article titles#Disambiguation (policy) which lists "Natural disambiguation: If it exists, choose an alternative name that the subject is also commonly called in English, ..." (original emphasis) as the first disambiguation option. "Culture" is clearly already the primary topic, "the Culture" is the entirely familiar and normal way of referring to the Culture (both in the books and references to the fictional setting), thus already more common than just "Culture" in that context, with no risk of confusion with any (if any) other use of "the Culture" on its own, and also conforms to WP:TITLE's "use only as much additional detail as necessary" to disambiguate. Parenthetical disambiguation is second on the list, only to be used "If natural disambiguation is not possible" which it clearly is in this case.
"The Culture" is also explicitly allowed by WP:THE (guideline): "If a word without a definite article would have a general meaning, while the same word has a specific and identifiable meaning, understood by all, if adding the article, and if there is justification to have separate articles for both meanings, the specific meaning can be explained on a separate page, with a page title including the article." (original emphasis).
Erc please restore the original title, say that someone else may do so or indicate that you will insist on a move request (bearing in mind that I no more wish you to waste my time with unnecessary discussion than you wished to waste your own by discussing in advance). --Mirokado (talk) 12:29, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
No. And I don't mean to just say "no" to be spiteful, but I don't believe "the Culture" is sufficiently disambiguous. First, as I said, adding "the" to "Culture" is just wrong. Secondly, if you look on the pages that link to "The Culture", half want the civilization, and half want the series. Having this article ambiguously named "The Culture" is just bad and confusing. It is not the model of clarity that you hold it out to be.
As I think more about it, I think making The Culture a disambiguation page would satisfy me. "The Culture" could either be a new disambiguation page that points to either "Culture (fictional civilisation)" or "Culture (series)". Alternatively, we could have "The Culture" redirect to "Culture (disambiguation)" and add both entries (civilisation / series) to the main "Culture (disambiguation)" page. As much as I hate arguing, I hate confusion more, so until a consensus is found, I'm not going to give up advocating for a better set of articles. erc talk/contribs 13:33, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
Before creating a disambiguation page from a live article, you have to demonstrate ambiguity. Showing some pages have linked to the wrong article isn't "ambiguity", it's something you might have easily fixed. As Mirokado showed more eloquently than I, the original title is quite unambiguous, simple and appropriate. Barsoomian (talk) 17:20, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
I've now reviewed all the 60 or so articles that linked to The Culture. There were perhaps two that should have liked to Culture series, so I corrected those. Several had "The Culture series/books/novels", which wasn't wrong, so I changed those that were appropriate. Further, there are several articles that link to subsections of The Culture, some via redirects, possibly articles that were merged into it. Some of those had been broken by the rename. All would be broken if The Culture became a dab page. So, what little "confusion" there was is now resolved. It would have taken three times longer if I had to use "Culture (fictional civilisation)" title, necessitating an overriding display title in every single instance. So, no reason at all for this rename not to be reverted. Barsoomian (talk) 19:25, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
Agreed for a bunch of reasons. One, natural disambiguation is preferable to parenthetical disambiguation. Two, the parenthetical title is vastly longer. Three, WP:COMMONALITY advises against using the word "civilisation" if we can do without using something that's different across English variants. Four, the protest about a capital T on The Culture is immaterial because all Wikipedia titles start with a capital letter; if we're referencing the term as "the Culture" (which I think we should), the article is still titled "The Culture". See no proposal structure here yet, but I strongly support reversion of the move. —chaos5023 (talk) 22:41, 9 August 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Move back to The Culture[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was move per request.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 01:42, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Culture (fictional civilisation)The Culture – I think we have consensus for a move back to The Culture, but a non-admin move-over-redirect isn't possible, so let's get some actual proposal structure behind it.

  • Support as proposer per discussion above. —chaos5023 (talk) 16:12, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Support, see comments above. --Mirokado (talk) 16:14, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Support, see my comments above. Barsoomian (talk) 18:42, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Strong Support per discussion above. I've never seen Culture (fictional civilization) used anywhere. Oh. Well, now I have. The tag (fictional civilization) doesn't seem to be being used in other fictional civilizations' article titles; change it back, please. htom (talk) 22:04, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose I would think the actual books, Culture (series) might be more reasonably characterized as the proper article for the base name. This isn't the Ian-M.-Banks-pedia. -- (talk) 04:46, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
  • How is that even relevant? Culture (series) is an article about the series of books, while this article is about the central civilization of those books. The name of that article should be restored to Culture series anyway; it's only there because of the relentless overapplication of parenthetical disambiguation style we have to play whack-a-mole with every so often anyway. Your final comment doesn't seem to have any point but to display bias against coverage of fictional elements as topics. —chaos5023 (talk) 05:27, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose; "The Culture" is too ambiguous for my tastes. It could refer to almost anything on Culture (disambiguation). Powers T 15:02, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
There is nothing else on that list that is referred to as "The Culture". It's a natural disambiguator and more than half the time can just be bracketed in text as is. (I've reviewed all the linked articles, I'm not just making that up.) Whereas no one will ever write "Culture (fictional civilisation)" in prose, or search for it. Not even mentioning the s/z spelling. Every search or link in practice would bounce through dab and redirect pages. Barsoomian (talk) 16:39, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't see why that's a problem. I don't feel that a single definite article is sufficient disambiguation for something as obscure as this topic. Powers T 01:38, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
Every link to The Culture will be in a science fiction or literary context. And in that context, it is certainly not obscure. Iain M. Banks is one of the best selling and most critically lauded SF writers of the last 50 years. The issue is "disambiguation" not "defining the word". The latter is what the article does. Disambiguation requires it be unique (as above, there aren't any other uses of "the Culture" on the disambiguation page) and preferably the same as used in normal text, and "The Culture", with capital "C", is. In either case, the text displayed on the page is The Culture so it's not going to be any less "obscure". And we'll have to create a redirect from Culture (fictional civilization) too, because it will be inevitably written like that, as well as other misspellings, if people can be bothered to write out "Culture (fictional civilisation)" at all, which I am heartily sick of already. Barsoomian (talk) 03:43, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
We do not title articles for the convenience of editors. They are titled for the convenience of readers, and I am not persuaded that a reader looking for "The Culture" is necessarily looking for this article. Powers T 14:27, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
What else could they be looking for? That is not a rhetorical question. I can't think of anything and can't see anything at Culture (disambiguation) that is halfway likely. And the very first line of the article links to that dab page anyway. "Editor's convenience" is an issue. Making us use this unwieldy and faintly derogatory name, with variant spellings, is bound to cause errors. It makes it impossible just to bracket text and get a link as we could before. That might be worth the hassle if it actually benefited anyone, but it doesn't. It just annoys everyone who is actually searching for the subject and has to bounce through redirects and dab pages to get here. Barsoomian (talk) 15:10, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
My first assumption would be that they're looking for Culture and either don't understand English well enough to realize the definite article is not required, or are looking for details on a particular culture. Secondarily, they could be looking for either of the bands called "Culture", as band names are often prefaced with "The". Powers T 22:58, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
So both your examples are of people who weren't looking for anything called "the Culture" at all. Therefore there is no requirement to parenthetically disambiguate this article. It's still the only thing likely to be referred to as "the Culture" anyone has suggested. And again, if there are any truly confused users they can use the dab link in the first line of the article. Barsoomian (talk) 05:35, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Note 1: Typing "Culture" into the WP search box gives 10 suggestions, none of them being related to this article. Typing "The Culture" gives you the page at #1. Barsoomian (talk) 16:56, 12 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Note 2: This article has been named "The Culture" since 2002, as far as I can tell. So if there were any need for further disambiguation, it would have become apparent. But reviewing all the links to "The Culture", none of them were intended to go to any of the other articles listed at Culture (disambiguation). Nobody was trying to link to the Jamaican band. No one was trying to link to the French town. All the links actually were to some aspect of Iain M. Banks' Culture. So the putative ambiguity of "The Culture" is disproved by 10 years of practice. Barsoomian (talk) 06:37, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Support, Personally I think that the new name is unwieldly. The supporters above make very good points. Mike talk 23:34, 14 August 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.


Is five to two over three days consensus? Tony (talk) 04:38, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Did you see "No further edits should be made to this section."? I made a new section for this.
Anyway, discussion began on 9 August, 10 days ago. The formal move request was made on 11 August and ran for the 7 days specified. Barsoomian (talk) 05:05, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Since "The Culture" changed to "Culture (fictional civilisation)" contains many of the contributions forming part of the move discussion I have closed it too, with links to the main discussion and this section. --Mirokado (talk) 13:51, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

References etc[edit]

I have updated some of the references and corrected a couple of problems as a result. Just to explain some of the changes in more detail:

  • presentation was inconsistent in various ways: making the refs more consistent, including author first, using Citation Style 1 templates for updates, they were already used a bit and generate the presentation already used in many of the references
  • generally, web reference titles are enclosed in double quotes, printed reference titles and containing works are in italics
  • I used {{cite doi}} for a journal article with doi number: the PDF is behind a paywall and that template provides a nice standardised citation matching the others

Comments welcome. --Mirokado (talk) 16:57, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

Something we try to do is to have a single citation for each cited work, to avoid having lengthy details duplicated in the references list and so we only have to maintain one place in and article to make a change consistently). I have thus referred to a named ref transcluded along with the table from Culture series and used {{rp}} for the page number. There is a comment in the reflist explaining where the ref definition comes from. The rp template is sort-of for emergency use, see the documentation. I will try to design a better solution, for this and other problems caused by the transcluded references, but that will require longer and I will "probably" post here again... --Mirokado (talk) 18:07, 19 August 2012 (UTC)

The Ambiguous Utopia of Iain M. Banks[edit]

A link to "The Ambiguous Utopia of Iain M. Banks", an article by Alan Jacobs, was added as an external ref, later deleted. I put it here as a possible source. Barsoomian (talk) 18:39, 30 August 2012 (UTC)


I does not seem to be anarchist since the Minds are de facto rulers. I'd opt for communist instead. What is the difference between a Mind planning everything and Stalin doing the same? Stilgar27 (talk) 15:04, 1 May 2013 (UTC)

The Culture is clearly democratic with numerous mentions of voting so I have changed anarchic to democratic. Darmot and gilad (talk) 10:10, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

Democracy and anarchism are not opposite concepts. Anarchism denotes a lack of governing force, not chaos. The Culture's lack of formal law denotes an anarchist society. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:17, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

I propose the Culture series be merged into The Culture. The rationale is a strong overlap: any content from Culture series whether is a copy of The Culture content (including the section Novels), whether is a literary analysis of the cycle, which would be appropriated to have in The Culture. As Wikipedia isn't a dictionary, we don't need to get a copy of the information in both pages. The content of the Culture series to move in The Culture would so be both the sections Literary techniques, Genesis of the series. Dereckson (talk) 13:35, 2 August 2014 (UTC)

Reproduction of immortals means population explosion[edit]

Does the series explain anywhere how (or if) the population control is achieved? If all members are basically immortals and each decides to reproduce once per century this already leads to exponential population growth. It can't be explained by simple social responsibility, not to mention people actually do seem to still be born regularly. Errarel (talk) 15:18, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

There's a line in the player of games about how it's considered poor taste to have more than 2 offspring; furthermore, given that The Culture has over 30 trillion individuals, I don't think there is any evidence that there isn't explosive population growth. Orbitals and new ships are constantly under construction. ACB Smith (talk) 15:23, 31 May 2015 (UTC)