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Iain M. Banks Culture Universe Spaceship Names

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Culture Setting (Iain M. Banks Culture Universe)Edit

Common ship typesEdit

Main article: Ship types of the Culture

Class

Acronym

Description

General Systems Vehicles

GSV

Mobile habitats and / or factory ships, largest Culture ship type. May be home to billions of people.

Medium Systems Vehicles

MSV

Smaller versions of the above. Sometimes former GSVs downgraded as larger GSV classes were developed.

Limited Systems Vehicles

LSV

Smaller versions of the above. Sometimes former GSVs or MSVs downgraded as larger GSV classes were developed.

General Contact Vehicles

GCV

Contact-configured GSVs; Mission-identical to GCUs (see below)

General Contact Units

GCU

Ambassadors, scouts and light transports; also main warship in peacetime

Limited Contact Units

LCU

Smaller versions of the above.

General Offensive Units

GOU

Dedicated main warships

Rapid Offensive Units

ROU

Dedicated fast warships

Limited Offensive Units

LOU

Dedicated warships, smaller than GOUs

Demilitarized ROUs

(d)ROU

Civilianised ROUs used as courier ships, all or most weaponry removed

Very Fast Pickets

VFP

A euphemism for (d)ROU, used in the same role.

Heavy Lifter

HL

Dedicated materials mover, smaller than GCUs.

[edit] NovelsEdit

[edit] Consider PhlebasEdit

Civilisation

Name

Ship type

Comments

Culture

Nervous Energy

GCU (Mountain-class)

Culture

Prosthetic Conscience

GCU

Culture

Bora Horza Gobuchul

GSV (Ocean-class, later Range-class)

The name chosen by the Mind at the center of events after rescue, upon emplacement within a GSV.

Culture

Determinist

GSV (System-class)

Largest GSV class mentioned in the books so far.

Culture

Eschatologist (temporary name)

GSV (Ocean-class)

Sent by the Culture to destroy Vavatch orbital.

Culture

Irregular Apocalypse

GSV

Culture

No More Mr Nice Guy

GSV

Culture

Profit Margin

LSV

Culture

Revisionist

ROU (Killer-class)

Culture

Trade Surplus

ROU (Killer-class)

Culture Ulterior

The Ends Of Invention

GSV

Non-aligned (Ex-Hronish)

Clear Air Turbulence

Armoured assault

Pirate ship, one of the main settings of the book.

Idiran

The Hand of God 137

Light Cruiser

Advance force invading the planet Sorpen to rescue Horza.

[edit] The Player of GamesEdit

Ship Type

Name

Class

Comments

n/a

Screw Loose

Clipper

GCU

Flexible Demeanour

n/a

GCU

Just Read The Instructions

n/a

GCU

Of Course I Still Love You

n/a

GOU

Limiting Factor

Murderer

Jernau Morat Gurgeh's ship to the planet Azad. An allegedly demilitarized GOU.

GSV

Cargo Cult

n/a

Play on the cargo cult concept.

GSV

Little Rascal

Plate

'Throughput'-ship (ship assembly and crewing).

GSV

So Much For Subtlety

n/a

GSV

Unfortunate Conflict Of Evidence

n/a

GSV

Youthful Indiscretion

n/a

LOU

Gunboat Diplomat

n/a

(Special Circumstances), play on the gunboat diplomacy concept.

dROU

Zealot

n/a

n/a

Kiss My Ass

Superlifter

n/a

Prime Mover

Superlifter

(Azadian)

Invincible

Battlecruiser

Flagship of the Azad Empire.

[edit] Use of WeaponsEdit

Ship Type

Name

Class

Comments

GCU

Just Testing

n/a

dROU

Xenophobe

Torturer

GCU

Very Little Gravitas Indeed

n/a

Part of the "... Gravitas ..." running gag.[3]

GSV

What Are The Civilian Applications?

Continent

Limited edition Prompt subclass. Can outrun a Very Fast Picket.

GSV

Congenital Optimist

n/a

Rescued Zakalwe from Fohls.

GSV

Size Isn't Everything

n/a

The GCU Sweet and Full of Grace was constructed aboard this ship.

GCU

Sweet and Full of Grace

n/a

[edit] ExcessionEdit

Civilisation

Ship Type

Name

Class

Comments

Culture

GCU

Different Tan

Mountain

Culture

GCU

Fate Amenable To Change

Escarpment

Culture

GCU

Grey Area (AKA Meatfucker)

n/a

(Eccentric) Ostracised for nonconsensual mindreading.

Culture

GCU

It's Character Forming

n/a

Culture

GCU

Jaundiced Outlook

Ridge

Child ship of the Sleeper Service.

Culture

GCU

Problem Child

Troubadour

Early (vs Excession-contemporary) GCU, historical mention. Nominally captained by Zreyn Tramow.

Culture

GCU

Reasonable Excuse

n/a

Culture

GCU

Recent Convert

n/a

Culture

GCU

Tactical Grace

Escarpment

Culture

GCU

Unacceptable Behaviour

n/a

Culture

GCV

Steely Glint

Plains

Culture

n/a

Highpoint

n/a

(Ulterior)

Culture

ROU

Shoot Them Later

Gangster

(Eccentric, Ulterior)

Culture

LOU

Attitude Adjuster

Killer

Culture

ROU

Killing Time

Torturer

A pun on a saying that 99% of war is just killing time, while the rest is the killing time.

Culture

ROU

Heavy Messing

Gangster

Culture

dROU

Frank Exchange Of Views

Psychopath

Culture

GSV

Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The

Plate

Culture

GSV

Death and Gravity

n/a

Culture

GSV

Ethics Gradient

Range

Culture

GSV

Honest Mistake

n/a

Culture

GSV

Limivorous

Ocean

Culture

GSV

No Fixed Abode

Ex-Equator

(Sabbaticaler)

Culture

GSV

Quietly Confident,
later Sleeper Service

Plate

(Eccentric, Ulterior) Known as storage ship for biological persons in stasis. The name Sleeper Service is a pun on sleeping car (transport) and sleeper agent (espionage). It also secretly converts itself to be "mostly engine" so it can move unexpectedly quickly - a parallel to sleeper cars (racing).

Culture

GSV

Uninvited Guest

n/a

Culture

GSV

Use Psychology

n/a

Culture

GSV

What Is The Answer and Why?

n/a

Culture

GSV

Wisdom Like Silence

Continent

Culture

GSV

Yawning Angel

Range

Culture

GSV

Zero Gravitas

n/a

Part of the "... Gravitas ..." running gag.[3]

Culture

LSV

Misophist

n/a

Culture

LSV

Serious Callers Only

Tundra

Culture

MSV

Not Invented Here

Desert

Culture

Superlifter

Charitable View

Cliff

Culture

n/a

I Blame My Mother

n/a

Culture

n/a

I Blame Your Mother

n/a

Zetetic Elench

Stargazer

Appeal To Reason

n/a

Zetetic Elench

Stargazer

Break Even

n/a

Zetetic Elench

Stargazer

Long View

n/a

Zetetic Elench

Stargazer

Peace Makes Plenty

n/a

Zetetic Elench

Stargazer

Sober Counsel

n/a

Zetetic Elench

Stargazer

Within Reason

n/a

Affront

n/a

Kiss the Blade

Affront

n/a

Frightspear

n/a

Affront

Light Cruiser

Furious Purpose

Meteorite Class

Affront

n/a

Riptalon

n/a

Affront

n/a

Wingclipper

n/a

Affront

n/a

SacSlicer II

n/a

Affront

n/a

Xenoclast

Battleship

Homomdan

Main Battle Unit

Full Refund (Ex-'MBU 604')

Empire Class

(Convertcraft)

Culture

n/a

Just Passing Through

Cruise Ship, n/a

[edit] The State of the ArtEdit

Most of the Culture ship names in this collection come from the titles of the chapters in the titular novella; the narrator explains that he has chosen ship names for these titles.

Ship Type

Name

Class

Comments

GSV

Bad for Business

n/a

GCU

Arbitrary

Escarpment (middle series)

Produced by a manufactory of the Yinang Orbitals of the Dahass-Khree, known for ships that are "a bit crazy."[4]

GCU

Cantankerous

n/a

GCU

Only Slightly Bent

n/a

GCU

I Thought He Was With You

n/a

GCU

Space Monster

n/a

GCU

A Series Of Unlikely Explanations

n/a

GCU

Big Sexy Beast

n/a

GCU

Never Talk To Strangers

n/a

GCU

Funny, It Worked Last Time...

n/a

GCU

Boo!

n/a

GCU

Ultimate Ship The Second

n/a

GCU

It'll Be Over By Christmas

n/a

GCU

A Ship With A View*

n/a

GCU

Ablation*

n/a

GCU

Arrested Development*

n/a

GCU

Credibility Problem*

n/a

GCU

Dramatic Exit, Or, Thank you And Goodnight*

n/a

GCU

Excuses And Accusations*

n/a

GCU

God Told Me To Do It*

n/a

GCU

Halation Effect*

n/a

GCU

Happy Idiot Talk*

n/a

GCU

Helpless In The Face Of Your Beauty*

n/a

GCU

Heresiarch*

n/a

GCU

Just Another Victim Of The Ambient Morality*

n/a

GCU

Minority Report*

n/a

GCU

Not Wanted On Voyage*

n/a

GCU

Perfidy*

n/a

GCU

Sacrificial Victim*

n/a

GCU

Stranger Here Myself*

n/a

GCU

Synchronize Your Dogmas*

n/a

GCU

The Precise Nature Of The Catastrophe*

n/a

GCU

Unwitting Accomplice*

n/a

GCU

Undesirable Alien*

n/a

GCU

Well I Was In The Neighbourhood*

n/a

GCU

You Would If You Really Loved Me*

n/a

GCU

You'll Thank Me Later*

n/a


*Names mentioned in the chapter names of the title novella only. All of them belong to ships produced by the Infracaninophile manufactury in Yinang orbital.

[edit] Look to WindwardEdit

Most of the Culture ship names in this novel are only mentioned in a humorous conversation about ship names in Chapter 11, Absence of Gravitas, and do not represent characters in the novel. The Chelgrian ships are not artificial intelligences like those of the Culture.

Ship Type

Name

Class

Comments

(Chelgrian)

Winter Storm

n/a

(Chelgrian)

Piety

n/a (Temple ship)

(Chelgrian)

Soulhaven

n/a (Temple ship)

ROU

Nuisance Value

Torturer

n/a

Vulgarian

Superlifter

GSV

Sanctioned Parts List

n/a

VFP

Resistance Is Character-Forming

Gangster

OU

All Through With This Niceness And Negotiation Stuff *

n/a

n/a

Someone Else's Problem *

n/a

n/a

Lacking That Small Match Temperament *

n/a

GCU

Poke It With A Stick *

n/a

OU

I Said, I've Got A Big Stick*

n/a

The small print (spoken softly) is a pun on "Speak softly and carry a big stick."

n/a

Hand Me The Gun And Ask Me Again *

n/a

n/a

But Who's Counting? *

n/a

See below for the ship "Me, I'm Counting"

n/a

Germane Riposte *

n/a

n/a

We Haven't Met But You're A Great Fan Of Mine *

n/a

n/a

All The Same, I Saw It First *

n/a

n/a

Ravished By The Sheer Implausibility Of That Last Statement

n/a

n/a

Zero Credibility *

n/a

n/a

Charming But Irrational *

n/a

n/a

Demented But Determined *

n/a

n/a

You May Not Be The Coolest Person Here *

n/a

n/a

Lucid Nonsense *

n/a

n/a

Awkward Customer *

n/a

n/a

Thorough But ... Unreliable *

n/a

n/a

Advanced Case Of Chronic Patheticism *

n/a

n/a

Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory *

n/a

n/a

Conventional Wisdom *

n/a

n/a

In One Ear *

n/a

n/a

Fine Till You Came Along *

n/a

n/a

I Blame The Parents *

n/a

n/a

Inappropriate Response *

n/a

n/a

A Momentary Lapse Of Sanity *

n/a

n/a

Lapsed Pacifist *

n/a

n/a

Reformed Nice Guy *

n/a

n/a

Pride Comes Before A Fall *

n/a

n/a

Injury Time *

n/a

n/a

Now Look What You've Made Me Do *

n/a

n/a

Kiss This Then *

n/a

GSV

Lasting Damage

n/a

The Lasting Damage was one of the GSVs that formed the Culture's offensive forces during the early part of the Idiran-Culture War. Later mind-state copied into other ships, it became the Mind of Masaq orbital.

GSV

Lasting Damage I

n/a

The original Lasting Damage, assumed destroyed but eventually returned.

GSV

Lasting Damage II

n/a

The recreated backup copy twin of the Lasting Damage.

GSV

Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall

Equator-class

Part of the "... Gravitas ..." running gag.[3] Also mentioned in Matter.


*Names mentioned in a humorous conversation about various Culture ships in Chapter 11 of the novel.

[edit] MatterEdit

Civilisation

Name

Ship type

Comments

Culture

Don't Try This At Home

MSV (Steppe-class)

Culture

Eight Rounds Rapid

(ex) GOU (Delinquent-class)

Potentially an inside joke alluding to Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart's command of "five rounds rapid" against a hostile "chap with wings" in The Dæmons (Doctor Who).

Culture

Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall

GCU

Part of the "... Gravitas ..." running gag.[3] Also mentioned in Look to Windward.

Culture

It's My Party And I'll Sing If I Want To

GCU (Escarpment-class)

Pun on the song It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to, which continues "... You would cry too if it happened to you."

Culture

Lightly Seared On The Reality Grill

GCU

Culture

Now We Try It My Way

(ex) General Transport Craft (Interstellar-class)

Culture

Liveware Problem

Superlifter (Stream-class, modified Delta-class)

Likely a Special Circumstances operative. The phrase is a joke among computer engineers, suggesting that the problem lies with the user.[5] Destroyed whilst battling a Morthanveld ship which had been taken over by a member of the Iln in the core of Sursamen.

Culture

Pure Big Mad Boat Man

GCU

An inside joke based upon the language of Ned (Scottish) culture. It would be read/heard as "a pure big, mad boat, man" roughly meaning "a very large and deadly serious boat my good man".

Culture

Qualifier

GCU (Trench-class)

Culture

Seed Drill

GSV (Ocean-class)

Culture

Subtle Shift In Emphasis

GCV (Plains-class)

Culture

Transient Atmospheric Phenomenon

GCU

Culture

Xenoglossicist

LSV (Air-class)

Culture

You Naughty Monsters

GCU

Culture

You'll Clean That Up Before You Leave

(d)ROU (Gangster-class)

Nariscene

Hence the Fortress

Comet (Star-cruiser)

Nariscene

Hundredth Idiot, The

White Dwarf

Chose its name from a Nariscene proverb.

Morthanveld

Fasilyce, Upon Waking

Cat.5 SwellHull

Morthanveld

Inspiral, Coalescence, Ringdown

Great Ship

Comparable to a GSV; the name refers to three stages in the merger of two black holes.

Morthanveld

On First Seeing Jhiriit

Cat.4 CleaveHull

Morthanveld

Now, Turning to Reason, & Its Just Sweetness

Cat.3 SlimHull

[edit] Surface DetailEdit

Civilisation

Name

Ship type

Comments

Culture

Sense Amid Madness, Wit Amidst Folly

GSV (Plate-class)

Culture

Me, I'm Counting

(ex) LOU (Hooligan-class)

Culture

Bodhisattva, OAQS

GCU

Part of Contact's Quietudinal Service (Quietus). Quietus ships added letters OAQS - On Active Quietudinal Service - to their names while they were so employed.

Culture

Total Internal Reflection

GSV

One of the "Forgotten" Culture ships.

Culture

Armchair Traveller

GCU (Mountain-class)

Culture

The Usual But Etymologically Unsatisfactory

FP/(d)ROU (Psychopath-class)

Culture

Hidden Income

n/a (Interstellar-class)

Type not mentioned in novel, but possibly General Transport Craft (see Matter)

Culture

Falling Outside The Normal Moral Constraints

GOU (Abominator-class)

self categorized as PS class, "Picket Ship"

Culture

Hylozoist

(ex) LOU (Killer-class)

Culture

No One Knows What The Dead Think

FP/(ex) GOU

Previously named Obliterating Angel

Culture

Pelagian

GSV (Equator-class)

Culture

Fixed Grin

n/a

Culture

Scar Glamour

n/a

Culture

Labtebricolephile

n/a

Labtebricolephile means a person or thing that likes living in holes

Culture

Dressed Up To Party

GSV

Jhlupian

Ucalegon

Heavy cruiser

Ucalegon means "a neighbor whose house is on fire"

GFCF

Messenger Of Truth

Contact Craft (Succour-class)

GFCF

Fractious Person

Minor Destructor Vessel

GFCF

Rubric Of Ruin

Minor Destructor Vessel

GFCF

Abundance Of Onslaught

Deepest Regrets-class

GFCF

Vision Of Hope Surpassed

Deepest Regrets-class

Nauptre Reliquaria

Partial Photic Boundary

Bismuth category

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