Amazon has announced that they have officially acquired the rights to turn Consider Phlebas, the first in Iain M. Banks’ Culture series, into a TV show. They will be working with Dennis Kelly, known for his work on Utopia, and Plan B Entertainment (a production company owned by Brad Pitt). Once the script is written, it will be “ordered straight to series” and might be exactly the kind of headliner show Amazon is looking for.
The Culture series is lofty in terms of the world and characters Banks built. As such, “space opera” is putting it lightly.
This is not the usual sci-fi series that takes place on a single spaceship or planet, Culture spans the entire Milky Way galaxy. It could be argued that the Culture series is an even larger fictional universe than Star Trek, which only managed to expand its horizons with Voyager.
Each book in the series takes a small chunk of the world, often people who are on the fringes of Culture. Each of these characters have vastly different perspectives on exactly how Culture should be running the universe, if at all. Consider Phlebas, for example, centers around an agent from a governing body locked in a brutal war with Culture.
Needless to say, Amazon has a lot to work with here and fans of the series can only pray they will do the series justice. We don’t want a situation like HBO’s Game of Thrones again. However, Kelly states that “Banks has long been a hero of mine” and seems to fully understand what the Culture series is about:
“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.” – Dennis Kelly
There is certainly hope that the Culture series will be adapted with taste and clever writing, as Plan B Entertainment assures fans that “we revere the work of Iain Banks” and explain how grateful they are “for the opportunity to bring his work to life.”
Amazon is certainly setting lofty goals, what with a new Lord of the Rings TV series in the works as well. Do you think Amazon will do the Culture series justice? What key elements in Consider Phlebas do you think they need to include? Let us know in the comments below!