A timeline of Iain M Banks’s The Culture novels

Using this timeline from The Culture Wiki, I created a to-scale visual timeline of major events in Iain M Banks’s Culture novels. It requires a bit of scrolling.

Dates are approximate. Where the original timeline gave a range, I’ve put the event in the middle of that range. The present events of Use of Weapons, for example, could fall shortly after Player of Games, not before.

It’s interesting to note that Matter happens earlier than I assumed, and Surface Detail happens a lot later than everything else.

6 thoughts on “A timeline of Iain M Banks’s The Culture novels

    • It should be a bit later, but not much. I was following the linked timeline. Where the date given there is a range, I placed it in the middle. It says Matter is 19th century CE, so I placed it at 1850 CE. However, it can be dated more precisely:

      1. Excession states that it’s 500 years after the Idiran War, so about 1875 CE
      2. Matter states that it happens 20 years after Excession, so about 1895 CE
    • Short answer: basically yes. The Idiran-Culture War occurs during Earth’s late medieval period, the GCU Arbitrary visits during the 1970s, and Windward, Sonata and Surface Detail happen in our far future.

      Longer answer: the numbers correspond to the BC/AD dating system, or rather the Common Era which is exactly the same, but makes no claim about the historical birth year of Jesus, which most scholars now believe happened a few years earlier. However, neither the Common Era system nor the BC/AD system has a year 0. Jesus’s birth was traditionally supposed to have occurred in 1 BC, which was followed immediately by 1 AD. So technically, by including a 0 on the scale (for mathematical neatness), I’ve added a year. But given that we’re talking about rough dates on a scale of thousands of years, it doesn’t matter.

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