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Thread: Are the Culture novels and Algebraist truely unconnected?

  1. #1
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    Default Are the Culture novels and Algebraist truely unconnected?

    Hi!

    I really am complectely new to science fiction. I recently picked up a copy of the Algebraist, and then felt compelled to read on. I've also finished Matter, Windward, Player of games and am half way through Excession. My question is probably a consequence of starting with the Algebraist and wanting everything to tie in nicely. I read that Algebraist was set in a different universe to the Culture; but how can that be? Algebraist mentions Earth, and I believe the Culture visit Earth in State of the Art. Where do all the humans come from in the Culture novels? Feel I need some clarification!! Does SF appreciation involve the suspension of all such niggly questions?

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    They're completely unconnected stories.
    Drink, but very carefully...

  3. #3

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    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRR RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGG... *cough cough* ahem... GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!
    I want to be Cultured

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sian B View Post
    Hi!

    I read that Algebraist was set in a different universe to the Culture; but how can that be? Algebraist mentions Earth, and I believe the Culture visit Earth in State of the Art. Where do all the humans come from in the Culture novels? Feel I need some clarification!! Does SF appreciation involve the suspension of all such niggly questions?
    Hi Sian B

    Think of it like this. If the 2 books were written by different authors would it bother you. Of course not. Also at least one member believes the Culureverse is made up and the writer is not directly channelling from a parallel universe. Takes all sorts.

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    I like to pretend they are all in the same universe, unfortunately it's not likely with the Algebraist. There's way too many discrepancies between the two universes for it to make any sense. Think of it like the differences between the 2001: A Space Odyssey film and reality for instance. Both of them are nice, entertaining, and interesting in their own right. They can't exist simultaneously.

    I like to think that it's possible Feersum Endjinn exists in the culture universe, albeit at a much later stage perhaps, as it's set on Earth, yet it mentions great beings from the past, a higher life form (civilisation, culture?) haven't left Earth years and years beforehand. I imagine it being several (maybe even tens of) thousands of years into the future from now. The Culture novels are set (if I remember correctly) between approximately 1000 AD and 8000 AD, so Feersum Endjinn takes place far enough into the future (in my belief) for the Culture to exert and influence over Earth, and then either leave, or even dismantle, the minds perhaps sublimating and leaving the humans with technology they barely understand. Of course, all of this is unlikely, but it lets me sleep at night.

    I also like to think Against a Dark Background is set within the Cultureverse. If I remember correctly it's set on a planet in the absolute arsehole of nowhere. It's so far away from any type of galaxy that there's no stars in the night sky. For all they know, there could be all sorts of Culture things going on hundreds of light years away, or far into the future/past.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Champagne Socialist View Post
    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRR RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGG... *cough cough* ahem... GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!
    Does this mean you think there is a connection?

    Hang on.. Is there something I've missed. Is there some Banksian sneakiness going on here. Is Sian B alluding to something interesting?
    Last edited by Flashman; 21-06-2010 at 11:12 PM.

  7. #7
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    Sian B, welcome. As far as is known, The Algebraist is not set in the Cultureverse (and neither is Against A Dark Background or Feersum Endjinn). Inversions, despite not seeming to be a Culture novel, almost certainly is. IMB has said that The Algebraist may be the first of a triolgy, providing he ever gets around to writing it.

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    Oh yeah, if you are interested you might read IMB's essay, A FEW NOTES ON THE CULTURE, where he gives some background. You can find it here: http://groups.google.com/group/rec.a...41fee4c2?hl=en

  9. #9
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    The Algebraist is set in a fictional universe and The Culture books are set in a different fictional universe. The fact that both universes have an Earth is coincidental, and, in my opinion, to do with the fact that they were written by an Earthman for reading by other Earthlings.

    The Culture novels are not about Humans, they are about humanoids. The appendix to Consider Phlebas puts The Culture in context to our timeline, and Earth of 1977 shows up in the novella, The Start of the Art. It is one of the games that Iain plays with his readers.

    By the way, The Algebraist is meant to read as if it is the start of a trilogy but Iain has no plans to write the other two.
    Last edited by daveh; 22-06-2010 at 01:12 PM. Reason: Capitalisation.

  10. #10
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    I've not read the Algebraist cover to cover so I can't comment on whether the Culture novels and Algebraist are "truely unconnected" . It's the only Banks book, so far, I've not been able to get into. The Algebraist is most definitely queued up for another attempt now. Current reading speed and list - I'll be back in 6 months or so.
    Last edited by Flashman; 22-06-2010 at 10:59 AM.

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