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Amazon is working on a TV adaptation of Iain M. Banks‘ Consider Phlebas

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Amazon Studios today announced it 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. The series will be adapted by Dennis Kelly (Utopia, Matilda) with Plan B Entertainment (World War Z, 12 Years a Slave, The Big Short, Moonlight, Feud) slated to produce and the Estate of Iain Banks attached as Executive Producer.

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 ends 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 irreverent humour, ultimately asks the poignant question of how we can use technology to preserve our humanity, not surrender it.

The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender.

Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction.

“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,” said Sharon Tal Yguado, Head of Scripted Series at Amazon Studios. “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.”

“Iain Banks has long been a hero of mine, and his innate warmth, humor and humanism shines through these novels,” said Dennis 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.”

“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,” said Plan B. “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.”

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