Amazon has acquired the global television rights to the Culture’s first novel, Consider Phlebas.
The famed space opera by Scottish writer Iain M. Banks features Banks’ fictional interstellar utopian society, the Culture. A kinetic, action-packed adventure on a huge canvas, Consider Phlebas draws upon the extraordinary world and mythology Banks created in the Culture, in which a highly advanced and progressive society end up at war with the Idirans, a deeply religious, warlike race intent on dominating the entire galaxy. The story centres on Horza, a rogue agent tasked by the Idirans with the impossible mission of recovering a missing Culture ‘Mind,’ an artificial intelligence many thousands of times smarter than any human – something that could hold the key to wiping out the Culture altogether.
What unfolds, with Banks’ trademark humour, ultimately asks the poignant question of how we can use technology to preserve our humanity, not surrender it.
The series is being adapted by Dennis Kelly, the brains behind the book for stage musical Matilda and the underrated TV series Utopia.
“Iain Banks has long been a hero of mine and his innate warmth, humour and humanism shines through these novels,” says Kelly. “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 series will be produced by Plan B Entertainment (World War Z, Twelve Years a Slave, The Big Short, Moonlight, Feud), with the Estate of Iain Banks taking an Executive Producer role.
“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,” adds Sharon Tal Yguado, Head of Scripted Series at Amazon Studios. “We are honoured 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.”