'A Gift From the Culture' Set for the Big Screen?

Last week's big Banks buzz (which broke while I was away on holiday, hence the late posting here - apologies for that to everyone who came looking for a timely update and didn't find one...) is about the prospect of a film adaptation of the short story 'A Gift From the Culture', which was first published in issue #20 of Interzone, the UK's longest-running science fiction magazine, and is more readily available in the Iain M collection The State of the Art.

Various websites carry versions of the news:, and included. At the moment there really isn't anything to add to those announcements. I'll certainly try to post fresh updates as and when they become available (hopefully with a little more alacrity...) and in the meantime, do feel free to join in the discussion of the project over at the Iain Banks Fan Forum (you'll need to be a forum member in order to post replies to the thread).

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8 Comments and counting

  1. Mark Lord says:

    Do you have any more information about the Director mentioned in the reports, Dominic Murphy. It would be great to hear about why he chose this story. Is he a fan of Iain's writing?

  2. Darren says:

    Hi Mark - There's some basic info on his IMDB profile. Anyone else got anything a bit more detailed?

  3. Jasper says:

    Could someone remind me? What was "A gift from the Culture" about? I have read all of Banks Sci-Fi Books including the State of Art, but I dont have them with me...

  4. Paul says:

    @ mark... I suspect it's about size. I'd love to see something like Consider Phlebas or Use of Weapons transferred to the big screen, but you just couldn't fit it into 2 hours. We'd be looking at a Star Wars/LOTR style trilogy at least to do it justice. So a novella is much better suited to such adaptation I reckon.

    @ jasper... It's been a few years since I read it, but if I remember rightly, In A gift from the Culture, the Culture visits Earth in the early 1980's with a view to making contact. They send an agent down through the atmosphere (in a Volvo) and that agent has a good look at what's going on. The story is a morality tale, as most of Banks' novels are.

  5. JM Inc. says:

    Interesting choice for a film, if it was such a thing. I suppose most of the Culture stories are either too long or too complex for the big screen, but something like A Gift From the Culture could easily be expanded to a full length feature film.

    A Gift From the Culture, sf fans will remember, was the story in which a Culture person living in a backwater alien world is blackmailed by a criminal cartel (or terrorist organisation?) that has discovered his identity into using a stolen Culture weapon (an antique pistol; Culture weapons, of course, are only usable by individuals whose extended genome presents a certain degree of the Culture's trademark genofixing) to assassinate several high profile individuals in that society by blowing up a military starship upon its much celebrated return to the homeworld.

    A few more scenes would definitely be required, especially since, if this is to be a feature film, a much more thorough introduction to the idea of the Culture and its politics will be required to initiate the non-sf audience.

  6. Andy says:

    Empire managed to have a chat with TMH:

  7. Seth Ridley says:

    The same approach was taken when William Gibson. Someone took the decision to make the a film based around Johnny Mnemonic, a short story from Gibson's early Burning Chrome collection, rather than one of his better known full length novels such as Neuromancer.

    As Paul says choosing a short story allows the director to concentrate and develop properly a small number of concepts and characters, rather than get lost in the intrigue and complexities of a full length novel.

    I don't think it's a bad a idea, although I'm really hoping the result is better than Johnny Mnemonic, which frankly could have been a lot better.

  8. isten says:

    Now i cant find any clue of this thing, if it was canceled or happened behind my back?

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