The Culture: Iain M. Banks

I love speculative fiction because it does not just think outside the box, it opens new boxes.

One of the most striking is Iain Banks’ “Culture.” Banks asks “what if” there was no resource scarcity? What if everyone had unlimited access to unlimited resources?

The entire course of human history is based on competition for resources. Whether it’s food, clean water, brilliant teachers or doctors, personal security, or time, there has never been enough to satisfy us.

Except in the Culture, where scarcity no longer exists. Everyone’s needs, as well as anyone’s desires for more than their “needs,” is instantly met by the AI Minds. Opportunity cost relates only to interactions with other citizens.


This is truly mind-blowing.

While Banks’ characters rarely engage me, his ideas make up for it. For an accessible first look at the Culture, I strongly recommend “The Player of Games.”