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Brunel Writers Series - The Music of ‘The Culture’

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The Music of ‘The Culture’: Gary Lloyd and Joseph S. Norman discuss Iain M. Banks’s Space Opera Series

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Following the publication of The Culture of ‘The Culture’: Utopian Processes in Iain M. Banks’ Space Opera Series by Dr. Joseph Norman, the Brunel Writers Series presents an evening discussing Banks’s Culture texts, one of the most popular and innovative science fiction series of all time.

As well as a keen musician and songwriter, Iain Banks created wonderfully strange and evocative works of fictional music such as ‘Expiring Light’, ‘The Hydrogen Sonata’, and ‘The Sound’ within the Culture books.

Following a presentation on his research which discusses the Culture’s utopian aesthetics and politics, Joseph is joined by composer Gary Lloyd, self described "specialist in hyphenated artforms" - and close friend and musical collaborator with Banks for many years - for a discussion on Iain Banks as writer, musician and friend.

Amongst other things Gary adapted Iain's novel The Bridge as a spoken word and music piece featuring Iain himself as the narrator, published on CD in 1996 by Codex Records & Books, and co-wrote with Iain a selection of songs from Espedair Street intended as "a tribute to a band that never existed".

Company Carpi, a contemporary dance troupe founded by Gary and his partner Bettina, creates hybrid dance theatre works with strong societal and human topics, with texts based on the work of, connected to, or written originally by, outstanding writers. These include: 'The Stumbling Block' by Brian Catling author of The Vorrh); Costa Award Winning opera Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes based on Mary & Bryan Talbot's work, Knots by revolutionary psychiatrist R.D. Laing, and The Mirror of Love by legendary author Alan Moore.

Joseph Norman teaches English & Creative Writing at Brunel. The Culture of ‘The Culture’ was published in January 2021 by Liverpool University Press, and is available at discounted price directly from the publishers using the code: Author35%

View 'The Bridge Redux (In Memoriam Iain Banks)' on Youtube, composed by Gary Lloyd. – a piece in three movements loosely based on extracts from Gary’s work The Bridge. Performed by the Worldcon Philharmonic Orchestra, it was composed especially for Loncon 3, The 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, at which Iain Banks was Guest Of Honour.

Iain (M.) Banks visited the Brunel University library during the 1970s to research his novella ‘The State of the Art’, whilst staying locally with his friend, fellow science fiction author Ken MacLeod, who studied Biomechanics at Brunel in the 1980s.

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