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* BoringInvincibleHero: A common view of the Culture, in universe and out. Whilst the Culture is easily one of the most powerful meta-civs in the galaxy (possibly others), it is the first to admit that the Sublimed have them down each time. So they don't bother messing with them. And the Culture only stay "invincible" because there are people, drones, and Minds, who are capable of doing anything necessary to protect its continued existence and interests.



* GambitPileup
** You could also say the entire plot of ''Literature/SurfaceDetail''. [[spoiler:If Vatueil is in fact Cheradenine Zakalwe, we know that the Culture never took their eye off him after (or during) the events of Use of Weapons. A major part of Yime Nsokyi's plot is about how Special Circumstances tried to recruit her, and when she rejected them, they recruited and manipulated her anyway, without her knowing, simply because she was perfect for what they had intended. While she forms a rather insignificant part of the plot of the book, this proves that Special Circumstances don't let go of anybody, and are perfectly capable of the type of extreme manipulation that would be required to get Vatueil to win the war for the Anti-Hell side. They knew how we would act and put him in the right place. All along we are told that the Culture is staying out of the War, only paying a passing interest in case it spills into the Real, even though they very much have opinions about it, they are staking their entire reputation and their own Culture principles on not getting involved, and yet, if Vatueil is Zakalwe, they were more involved than anyone else, but still allowing themselves to be distant. If Vatueil had just been some random dude and the rest of the book had been identical, we couldn't conclusively say the Culture planned every moment of that book.]]



* TearJerker: Quite a few of these have taken place throughout the series. One of the most notable would be, for example, [[spoiler: the conjoined fate of the Masaq Hub and Quilan in ''Look to Windward'']] [[spoiler: Or the real Zakalwe's backstory in ]]''Use of Weapons''. In ''Matter'' there was also the [[spoiler: kicker of Oramen's sudden death, along with Ferbin's later self-sacrifice]]
* TechnologyMarchesOn: While the Culture was always ridiculously technologically advanced, it's kind of noticeable that details like the very instant message/message board discussion-like Mind communications only started being mentioned in more recent books, written after the internet entered popular use.

to:

* TearJerker: Quite a few of these have taken place throughout the series. One of the most notable would be, for example, [[spoiler: the conjoined fate of the Masaq Hub and Quilan in ''Look to Windward'']] [[spoiler: Or the real Zakalwe's backstory in ]]''Use of Weapons''. In ''Matter'' there was also the [[spoiler: kicker of Oramen's sudden death, along with Ferbin's later self-sacrifice]]
* TechnologyMarchesOn: While the Culture was always ridiculously technologically advanced, it's kind of noticeable that details like the very instant message/message board discussion-like Mind communications only started being mentioned in more recent books, written after the internet entered popular use.
self-sacrifice]].

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* MagnificentBastard: Veteuil in ''Literature/SurfaceDetail'' is a ruthless soldier who starts out fighting for the Pro-Hell side in War on heaven, working to sabotage the Anti-Hell side. However, Veteuil opts to sabotage the Pro-Hell side, sabotaging them and helping the novel's heroes to ensure the death of the hell side. A genius strategist, Vetueil manipulates and uses everyone over the course of the novel with none the wiser, possibly even working for the mysterious culture. In the novel's final line, Veteuil's true identity is revealed to be a repentant [[spoiler: Elethiomel Zakalwe, the Chairmaker]], who has been seeking his redemption for centuries.


* CompleteMonster: [[Literature/ThePlayerOfGames Emperor-Regent Nicosar]] & [[Literature/SurfaceDetail Joiler Veppers]]. See the pages for more details.

to:

* CompleteMonster: [[Literature/ThePlayerOfGames [[YMMV/ThePlayerOfGames Emperor-Regent Nicosar]] & [[Literature/SurfaceDetail [[YMMV/SurfaceDetail Joiler Veppers]]. See the those pages for more details.

Added DiffLines:

*CompleteMonster: [[Literature/ThePlayerOfGames Emperor-Regent Nicosar]] & [[Literature/SurfaceDetail Joiler Veppers]]. See the pages for more details.


* FreudWasRight: Played with in ''Excession'' with dROU ''Frank Exchange of Views.''
-->'''Ulver Siech:''' "It looks like a dildo!"
-->'''Churt Lyne:''' "That's appropriate. Armed, it can fuck solar systems."


* TearJerker: Quite a few of these have taken place throughout the series. One of the most notable would be, for example, [[spoiler: the conjoined fate of the Masaq Hub and Quilan in ''Look to Windward'']] [[spoiler: Or the real Zakalwe's backstory in ]]''Use of Weapons'' In ''Matter'' there was also the [[spoiler: kicker of Oramen's sudden death, along with Ferbin's later self-sacrifice]]

to:

* TearJerker: Quite a few of these have taken place throughout the series. One of the most notable would be, for example, [[spoiler: the conjoined fate of the Masaq Hub and Quilan in ''Look to Windward'']] [[spoiler: Or the real Zakalwe's backstory in ]]''Use of Weapons'' Weapons''. In ''Matter'' there was also the [[spoiler: kicker of Oramen's sudden death, along with Ferbin's later self-sacrifice]]


* BoringInvincibleHero: A common view of the Culture, in universe and out. Whilst the Culture is easily one of the most powerful meta-civs in the galaxy (possibly others), it is the first to admit that the Sublimed have them down each time. So they don't bother messing with them. And the Culture only stay "invincible" because there are people, drones, and Minds, who are capable of doing anything necessary to protect it's continued existence and interests.

to:

* BoringInvincibleHero: A common view of the Culture, in universe and out. Whilst the Culture is easily one of the most powerful meta-civs in the galaxy (possibly others), it is the first to admit that the Sublimed have them down each time. So they don't bother messing with them. And the Culture only stay "invincible" because there are people, drones, and Minds, who are capable of doing anything necessary to protect it's its continued existence and interests.



* TechnologyMarchesOn: While the Culture was always ridiculously technologically advanced, it's kind of noticeable that details like the very instant message/message board discussion-like Mind communications only started being mentioned in more recent books, written after the internet entered popular use.

to:

* TechnologyMarchesOn: While the Culture was always ridiculously technologically advanced, it's kind of noticeable that details like the very instant message/message board discussion-like Mind communications only started being mentioned in more recent books, written after the internet entered popular use.

Added DiffLines:

* TechnologyMarchesOn: While the Culture was always ridiculously technologically advanced, it's kind of noticeable that details like the very instant message/message board discussion-like Mind communications only started being mentioned in more recent books, written after the internet entered popular use.


* Gambit

to:

* GambitGambitPileup

Added DiffLines:

* Gambit
** You could also say the entire plot of ''Literature/SurfaceDetail''. [[spoiler:If Vatueil is in fact Cheradenine Zakalwe, we know that the Culture never took their eye off him after (or during) the events of Use of Weapons. A major part of Yime Nsokyi's plot is about how Special Circumstances tried to recruit her, and when she rejected them, they recruited and manipulated her anyway, without her knowing, simply because she was perfect for what they had intended. While she forms a rather insignificant part of the plot of the book, this proves that Special Circumstances don't let go of anybody, and are perfectly capable of the type of extreme manipulation that would be required to get Vatueil to win the war for the Anti-Hell side. They knew how we would act and put him in the right place. All along we are told that the Culture is staying out of the War, only paying a passing interest in case it spills into the Real, even though they very much have opinions about it, they are staking their entire reputation and their own Culture principles on not getting involved, and yet, if Vatueil is Zakalwe, they were more involved than anyone else, but still allowing themselves to be distant. If Vatueil had just been some random dude and the rest of the book had been identical, we couldn't conclusively say the Culture planned every moment of that book.]]


* FridgeBrilliance: The game theory concept of the "iterated prisoner's dilemma" states that the logically optimum course of action when dealing with a totally unknown entity is to lead off with a minor but benign gesture and then to tailor your responses to mirror the other entity's replies re: cooperation or noncooperation. Now think back to the plot of ''Excession'', and you will realize '''this is exactly what the Excession was doing'''. The GSV ''Sleeper Service'' even [[{{Lampshade}} Lampshades]] this briefly.


* AuthorAppeal: In conjunction and opposition with [[EveryoneisBi Everyone is Bi]]. While the setting routinely insists that monogamy is no longer a popular ideal and that Everyone is Bi in the Culture, a number of male protagonists have self-described as being unique in their sexual conservatism (never wanting to turn into a chick or get with another dude). Meanwhile, female bisexuality is prominent, and at least one plot revolves around a (female) character freaking out when her (aggressively polygamous but exclusively heterosexual) male lover is unfaithful to her. Both of those points of view--two different takes on sexual conservatism, be it in exclusivity of partner or orientation obsession--are so twentieth century it hurts, in a setting the narration claims has moved on from that kind of silliness. Most poignantly, the man is depicted as despicable (which he is, from our perspective), while the woman who attempted to murder him because he was unfaithful to her once (in line with the social norm) is depicted as a victim (which, like most despicable people who stabmurder their spouses for an act of unfaithfulness in real life, she is not). While Banks' heart is clearly in the right place re: sexual freedom, he doesn't seem willing or able to give equal treatment to male same-sex sex on-screen, or to present the realities of a culture without a polygamy taboo meaningfully.


* AuthorAppeal: In conjunction and opposition with [[EveryoneisBi Everyone is Bi]]. While the setting routinely insists that monogamy is no longer a popular ideal and that Everyone is Bi in the Culture, a number of male protagonists have self-described as being unique in their sexual conservatism (never wanting to turn into a chick or get with another dude). Meanwhile, female bisexuality is prominent, and at least one plot revolves around a (female) character freaking out when her (aggressively polygamous but exclusively heterosexual) male lover is unfaithful to her. Both of those points of view--two different takes on sexual conservatism, be it in exclusivity of partner or orientation obsession--are so twentieth century it hurts, in a setting the narration claims has moved on from that kind of silliness. Most poignantly, the man is depicted as despicable (which he is), while the woman who attempted to murder him because he was unfaithful to her once (in line with the social norm) is depicted as a victim (which, like most despicable people who stabmurder their spouses for an act of unfaithfulness, she is not). While Banks' heart is clearly in the right place, he doesn't seem willing or able to give equal treatment to male same-sex sex on-screen, or to present the realities of a culture without a polygamy taboo meaningfully.

to:

* AuthorAppeal: In conjunction and opposition with [[EveryoneisBi Everyone is Bi]]. While the setting routinely insists that monogamy is no longer a popular ideal and that Everyone is Bi in the Culture, a number of male protagonists have self-described as being unique in their sexual conservatism (never wanting to turn into a chick or get with another dude). Meanwhile, female bisexuality is prominent, and at least one plot revolves around a (female) character freaking out when her (aggressively polygamous but exclusively heterosexual) male lover is unfaithful to her. Both of those points of view--two different takes on sexual conservatism, be it in exclusivity of partner or orientation obsession--are so twentieth century it hurts, in a setting the narration claims has moved on from that kind of silliness. Most poignantly, the man is depicted as despicable (which he is), is, from our perspective), while the woman who attempted to murder him because he was unfaithful to her once (in line with the social norm) is depicted as a victim (which, like most despicable people who stabmurder their spouses for an act of unfaithfulness, unfaithfulness in real life, she is not). While Banks' heart is clearly in the right place, place re: sexual freedom, he doesn't seem willing or able to give equal treatment to male same-sex sex on-screen, or to present the realities of a culture without a polygamy taboo meaningfully.

Added DiffLines:

* AuthorAppeal: In conjunction and opposition with [[EveryoneisBi Everyone is Bi]]. While the setting routinely insists that monogamy is no longer a popular ideal and that Everyone is Bi in the Culture, a number of male protagonists have self-described as being unique in their sexual conservatism (never wanting to turn into a chick or get with another dude). Meanwhile, female bisexuality is prominent, and at least one plot revolves around a (female) character freaking out when her (aggressively polygamous but exclusively heterosexual) male lover is unfaithful to her. Both of those points of view--two different takes on sexual conservatism, be it in exclusivity of partner or orientation obsession--are so twentieth century it hurts, in a setting the narration claims has moved on from that kind of silliness. Most poignantly, the man is depicted as despicable (which he is), while the woman who attempted to murder him because he was unfaithful to her once (in line with the social norm) is depicted as a victim (which, like most despicable people who stabmurder their spouses for an act of unfaithfulness, she is not). While Banks' heart is clearly in the right place, he doesn't seem willing or able to give equal treatment to male same-sex sex on-screen, or to present the realities of a culture without a polygamy taboo meaningfully.

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