Amazon is making Iain M. Banks’ iconic sci-fi Culture book series into a television show. Amazon Studios now has the global television rights to Banks’ first book, Consider Phlebas. Banks wrote ten books for this series. They are based in an interstellar utopian society that has: humanoids, aliens, and has advanced artificial intelligence (A.I.). All of which coexist in habitats spread across the Milky Way. The society itself is known as the Culture. In Consider Phlebas, the advanced and progressive society gets into a war with a society called the Idiran Empire. They are a religious and warlike race that want to dominate all of the galaxy. Dennis Kelly (creator of Utopia) is set to write the script.
Kelly said in a statement, “Iain Banks has long been a hero of mine, and his innate warmth, humour and humanism shines through these novels. Far from being the dystopian nightmares that we are used to, Banks creates a kind of flawed paradise, a society truly worth fighting for—rather than a warning from the future, his books are a beckoning.”
The story centers around a shapeshifting mercenary named Horza, whom gets hired by the Idiran Empire. Horza is hired to track a Culture artificial intelligence which was shot down. The A.I. ends up crash landing on a planet that is supposed to be off limits to both sides in the interstellar war. The A.I. is called ‘the Mind.’ It has immense power that has the ability to destroy the Culture completely. With the task being immersed in the war, it raises ambiguities about each sides means and methods.
Head of Scripted Series at Amazon Studios Sharon Tal Yguado said, “The story of the Culture is so rich and captivating that for years Hollywood has been trying to bring this utopian society to life on the screen. We are honored that we have been chosen, along with Dennis Kelly and Plan B Entertainment, to make Consider Phlebas into a television series we think will be loved by fans for years to come.”
Plan B Entertainment which is slated to produce the adaptation said, “We revere the work of Iain Banks and continue to be moved by his inimitable spirit and his commitment to imagining a better future even in the darkest of times. Consider Phlebas, simultaneously explores the deepest questions concerning humanity and our future. We are so grateful to the Estate of Iain Banks for the opportunity to bring his work to life, and to Amazon for the scope of their ambition to building Iain’s prescient world.”
Consider Phlebas was written in 1987. It is the first book of ten that Banks had written before he died in 2013. He knew that his last book of the series, The Hydrogen Sonata, would be its last.
Banks’ series will air exclusively through Amazon’s Prime Video; however, no release date has been officially announced yet.