The British production company Film and Music Entertainment, in partnership with director Dominic Murphy (White Lightnin'), have just announced several future projects, including an untitled Bronte film (Charlotte? Emily? Anne?) and Jesus Christ Airlines, about a heroic pilot in Biafra. But most tantalising is A Gift From the Culture, based on a short story by Iain M. Banks, originally published in Interzone and collected in Banks' The State of the Art.
Murphy is writing the script, which if it sticks to source will be about a refugee from Banks' complex utopia The Culture, living undercover on a world that the anarchist socialist intergalactic colonial empire (yes, it's contradictory, we know) has just noticed, and being blackmailed into a violent act using a Culture-specific weapon.
Banks' sci-fi novels (he also writes dark "mainstream" fiction without the M, notably The Wasp Factory and The Crow Road) are fat and full of ideas, and, we'd have thought, pretty resistant to screen adaptation. Banks himself has been equivocal on the subject in the past, although he has joked that he'd be willing to make any compromise necessary, including sticking on a happy ending, to see his mental space opera Consider Phlebas given the $200m Hollywood treatment.
Focusing on a short story is a modest and sensible approach then, but we'll still believe this when we see it.