You might have heard that there’s a new Culture novel from Iain Banks coming out later this year (October 2010). It’s called Surface Detail and here’s the info about it on his site at the moment:
It begins in the realm of the Real, where matter still matters.
It begins with a murder.
And it will not end until the Culture has gone to war with death itself.
Lededje Y’breq is one of the Intagliated, her marked body bearing witness to a family shame, her life belonging to a man whose lust for power is without limit. Prepared to risk everything for her freedom, her release, when it comes, is at a price, and to put things right she will need the help of the Culture.
Benevolent, enlightened and almost infinitely resourceful though it may be, the Culture can only do so much for any individual. With the assistance of one of its most powerful – and arguably deranged – warships, Lededje finds herself heading into a combat zone not even sure which side the Culture is really on. A war – brutal, far-reaching – is already raging within the digital realms that store the souls of the dead, and it’s about to erupt into reality.
It started in the realm of the Real and that is where it will end. It will touch countless lives and affect entire civilizations, but at the centre of it all is a young woman whose need for revenge masks another motive altogether.
More on the App
But there is also an interview with Iain about Surface Detail on his new iPhone App. So what extra information does he give away?
Firstly he tells us that the book is 200,000 words long, whereas his longest books have been usually around 180,000 words (Consider Phlebus for example).
There’s everything you would expect from a Culture novels – drones, spaceships and knife missiles. Oh and also some human stories too!
“Lededje Y’breq is one of the Intagliated”. She appears to be the main character. Her story revolves around how she loses her tatooes, refinds themand then falls in with the Culture, via two spaceships: a General Systems Unit and a derange Abominator class warship.
Intagliated means to be tatooed everywhere including internal organs, to pay debt for families past crimes.
Part of story is set in “hells” and involves the Culture’s wars against the “hells” which are horrible after-life places. Not much more about what these are but I am guessing these are some sort of virtual worlds where the dead go?
Another major character is fighting wars in the virtual world and now in the real world. It has been a long war in the virtual world (over 30 years), and the Culture is desperate to stop it spilling over into the real world.
And that’s it so far!