Artist's impression of an 'Orbital' world from Iain M. Banks's "Culture" series, April 18, 2007 - Hill/Wikimedia Commons
CAIRO – 22 February 2018: In a bid to compete with giants such as Netflix and HBO, Amazon is developing its own epic series based on the works of late sci-fi author Iain M. Banks.
Amazon has successfully acquired the rights to produce the first book in Bank's Culture series titled "Consider Phlebas". First published in 1987, the book is a far-future exploration of an advanced galactic society known as the Culture, which unites species from across the stars, including humans, under one Utopian society. Of course, it isn't all perfect in paradise; the Culture is under threat from the Idrians, highly religious and war-like aliens who have hired a shape-shifting hitman known as Horza in order to retrieve a powerful piece of Culture technology; a lost Artificial Intelligence known as a Mind.
The works of Banks have been considered literary treasures amongst science-fiction enthusiasts, and the enduring popularity of his works has seen multiple attempts by Hollywood to buy the rights to adapting his worlds. Now, Amazon has won that war, enlisting Brad Pitt's production company Plan B Entertainment to produce the series while the estate of the author will serve as executive producer.
Screenwriter Dennis Kelly is reportedly working on the script according to The Verge.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has stated that a mission for the company is to “find its Game of Thrones”. The dominance of Netflix has seen Amazon attempt to pick up the slack, having bought rights to develop properties based on sci-fi classic “Ringworld”, and even Tolkein's “Lord of the Rings”. It remains to be seen as to whether or not their efforts will bear fruit, but the digital giant is certainly not holding back in acquiring what it can.
If “Consider Phlebas” proves successful, Amazon may have struck gold; before his death in 2013, Banks had filled the “Culture” series with 10 massive books in total, each a standalone story that together form a vast science-fiction epic.