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I am an avid amateur futurist who just discovered this site and how awesome it is. Seriously, the sheer amount and overall quality of the stuff here is astonishing. I am struck, however, by how much a lot of this mirrors the science fiction of Iain M. Banks. I don't know if anyones brought this up before, but many of the terms and ideas here have direct counter-parts in The Culture universe, although they have different starting points. Is anyone else here a fan of Bank's work (surely there must be many) and did anyone use it as inspiration, or did it just work out that your ideas of futuristic societies happened to be similar?
Welcome to OA!

Yes, Banks has certainly been a great influence. But there are many others, most of which are mentioned on this page

The late, great Mr Banks was producing some inspiring stuff to the very end, and even where his scenario differed to ours (hyperspace, humanoid aliens) it was intriguing. But our scenario also includes large contributions of original material - especially from Anders Sandberg, Aaron Hamilton and Alan Kazlev - which is quite far removed from the Cultureverse.
Hi there, Welcome to OA!

As Steve mentions, Ian Banks has been a major inspiration for OA, up to and including our homage to him, the Banks Orbital:

We also have shellworlds in OA, but IIRC our idea actually precedes hisSmile And the world he depicts in The Algebraist could be some random part of the OA universe with only fairly minor changes in many respects. Although again, OA preceded that particular work.

Getting back to drawing inspiration from the Cultureverse - in many cases it can be fun to see some particularly inspiring depiction of incredibly advanced tech there and then try to figure out how such a thing might work within the constraints of OA canon. In other cases, the tech in question may actually be an idea developed by a third party and both OA and the Cultureverse adopted the idea in one form or another. An example of this would be the passing mention in Excession that people had once looked like animated bushes or mobile smoke - presumably a reference to robot bushes (idea developed by Hans Moravec) and utility fog (idea developed by J. Storrs Hall). There is also a minor character in Matter that is a type of robot bush.

Yes, I'm a Banks fan if that wasn't already obviousSmile


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