Iain Banks a répondu via le net aux questions de ses lecteurs
Voici les réponses
et un petit extyrait :
Q: The Culture books have been chronological so far - have you thought about writing about the Culture before it was the Culture?
Iain Banks: : Yup, I have, and generally jettisoned the idea pretty quickly. It's one of those ideas that is kind of waiting for the right story idea to come along; an idea that somehow implies the Culture but doesn't depend on its existence. I guess the trouble is that when I'm in what you might call a Culture state of mind then I really look forward to using the usual props; the ships, the drones, the knife missiles and so on.
(Even in Matter, where most of that stuff is kept fairly isolated to brief sections while the rest of the story rolls on, there's a kind of expectation, I think, that all this will come to the fore at some point, so that when the flurry of action does take place at the end, it's a kind of long-built-up release.)
And when I don't have my Culture hat on, I usually take the opportunity to get well away and do something quite different, maybe even something that is effectively incompatible with the Culture universe (The Algebraist being the best example). These are kind of the two faces of the coin being spun here, so waiting for a pre-Culture Culture story might be like waiting for the coin to land on its edge. Still, you never know.