Culture ship names

Update 2014-02-12

Thank you for reading "Culture ship names". This listing is no longer maintained. Wikipedia's page List of spacecraft in the Culture series has a much more exhaustive listing, to which you can contribute freely and directly.

  • Consider Phlebas
    • Nervous Energy (GCU)
    • Prosthetic Conscience (GCU)
    • The Ends Of Invention (ex-Culture GSV)
    • Eschatologist (GSV; temporary name)
    • Irregular Apocalyse (GSV)
    • No More Mr Nice Guy (GSV)
    • Determinist (GSV)
    • Bora Horza Gobuchul (GSV)
    • Profit Margin (LSV)
    • Trade Surplus (ROU)
    • Revisionist (ROU)
  • The Player of Games
    • Screw Loose (Clipper)
    • Flexible Demeanour (GCU)
    • Just Read The Instructions (GCU)
    • Of Course I Still Love You (GCU)
    • Limiting Factor (GOU)
    • Cargo Cult (GSV)
    • Little Rascal (GSV)
    • So Much For Subtlety (GSV)
    • Unfortunate Conflict Of Evidence (GSV)
    • Youthful Indiscretion (GSV)
    • Gunboat Diplomat (LOU)
    • Zealot (dROU)
    • Kiss My Ass (Superlifter)
    • Prime Mover (Superlifter)
  • Use of Weapons
    • Just Testing (GCU?)
    • Xenophobe (dROU)
    • Very Little Gravitas Indeed (GCU)
    • What Are The Civilian Applications? (GSV)
    • Congenital Optimist (GSV)
    • Size Isn't Everything (GSV)
    • Sweet and Full of Grace (GCU)
  • Excession
    • Different Tan (Mountain class GCU)
    • Fate Amenable To Change (River class GCU)
    • Grey Area (GCU)
    • It's Character Forming (GCU)
    • Jaundiced Outlook (Ridge class GCU)
    • Problem Child (Troubadour class GCU)
    • Reasonable Excuse (GCU)
    • Recent Convert (GCU)
    • Tactical Grace (Escarpment class GCU)
    • Unacceptable Behaviour (GCU)
    • Steely Glint (Plains class GCV)
    • Highpoint (ulterior)
    • Shoot Them Later (eccentric; ulterior)
    • Attitude Adjuster (Killer class LOU)
    • Killing Time (Torturer class ROU)
    • Frank Exchange Of Views (Psychopath class dROU)
    • Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The (Plate class GSV)
    • Death and Gravity (GSV)
    • Ethics Gradient (Range class GSV)
    • Honest Mistake (GSV)
    • Limivourous (Ocean class GSV)
    • No Fixed Abode (Sabbaticaler class GSV, ex-Equator class)
    • Quietly Confident (Plate class GSV)
    • Sleeper Service (Plate class GSV)
    • Uninvited Guest (GSV)
    • Use Psychology (GSV)
    • What Is The Answer and Why? (GSV)
    • Wisdom Like Silence (Continent class GSV)
    • Yawning Angel (Range class GSV)
    • Zero Gravitas (GSV)
    • Misophist (LSV)
    • Serious Callers Only (Tundra class LSV)
    • Not Invented Here (Desert class MSV)
    • Zetetic Elench ships:
      • Appeal To Reason
      • Break Even
      • Long View
      • Peace Makes Plenty
      • Sober Counsel
      • Within Reason
    • Affront ships:
      • Kiss the Blade (battle cruiser)
      • Frightspear
      • Furious Purpose
      • Riptalon
      • Wingclipper
      • SacSlicer II
      • Xenoclast
    • Miscellaneous ships:
      • Full Refund (Empire Class MBU, Homomdan Convertcraft Vessel)
      • Charitable View (Cliff class Superlifter)
      • Just Passing Through (cruise ship)
      • Added Value
      • I Blame Your Mother
      • I Blame My Mother
      • Heavy Messing (ex-Culture)
  • The State of the Art
    • Bad for Business (GSV)
    • Arbitrary (GCU)
    • Cantankerous (GCU)
    • Only Slightly Bent (GCU)
    • I Thought He Was With You (GCU)
    • Space Monster (GCU)
    • A Series Of Unlikely Explanations (GCU)
    • Big Sexy Beast (GCU)
    • Never Talk To Strangers (GCU)
    • Funny, It Worked Last Time... (GCU)
    • Boo! (GCU)
    • Ultimate Ship The Second (GCU)
    • It'll Be Over By Christmas (GCU)
    • A Ship With A View
    • Ablation
    • Arrested Development
    • Credibility Problem
    • Dramatic Exit
    • Excuses And Accusations
    • God Told Me To Do It
    • Halation Effect
    • Happy Idiot Talk
    • Helpless In The Face Of Your Beauty
    • Heresiarch
    • Just Another Victim Of The Ambient Morality
    • Minority Report
    • Not Wanted On Voyage
    • Perfidy
    • Sacrificial Victim
    • Stranger Here Myself
    • Synchronize Your Dogmas
    • Thank you And Goodnight
    • The Precise Nature Of The Catastrope
    • Unwitting Accomplice
    • Undesirable Alien
    • Well I Was In The Neighbourhood
    • You Would If You Really Loved Me
    • You'll Thank Me Later
  • Look to Windward
    • Winter Storm (Chelgrian)
    • Piety (Chelgrian temple ship)
    • Nuisance Value (ROU)
    • Vulgarian (Superlifter)
    • Sanctioned Parts List (GSV)
    • Resistance Is Character-Forming (VFP)
    • From the conversation:
      • All Through With This Niceness And Negotiation Stuff (OU)
      • Someone Else's Problem
      • Lacking That Small Match Temperament
      • Poke It With A Stick (GCU)
      • I Said, I've Got A Big Stick (OU; you have to say the name quietly)
      • Hand Me The Gun And Ask Me Again
      • But Who's Counting?
      • Germane Riposte
      • We Haven't Met But You're A Great Fan Of Mine
      • All The Same, I Saw It First
      • Ravished By The Sheer Implausibility Of That Last Statement
      • Zero Credibility
      • Charming But Irrational
      • Demented But Determined
      • You May Not Be The Coolest Person Here
      • Lucid Nonsense
      • Awkward Customer
      • Thorough But ... Unreliable
      • Advanced Case Of Chronic Patheticism
      • Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory
      • Conventional Wisdom
      • In One Ear
      • Fine Till You Came Along
      • I Blame The Parents
      • Inappropriate Response
      • A Momentary Lapse Of Sanity
      • Lapsed Pacifist
      • Reformed Nice Guy
      • Pride Comes Before A Fall
      • Injury Time
      • Now Look What You've Made Me Do
      • Kiss This Then
    • Grey Area/Meatfucker
    • Soulhaven (Chelgrian temple ship)
    • Lasting Damage (GSV)
    • Lasting Damage I (GSV)
    • Lasting Damage II (GSV)
    • Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall (GSV)

After reading this list you will have gathered that Culture ships tend to name themselves whatever the hell they like. However, you may be puzzled by the recurring appearance of the word "gravitas" in there. We've got the GCU Very Little Gravitas Indeed from Use of Weapons, the GSV Zero Gravitas in Excession, and the GSV Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall from Look To Windward.

Spotting this trend, a number of people questioned Iain M. Banks, the author of the Culture novels. He responded saying that it is basically a running gag within the Culture itself. One of the Involved civilisations (i.e. different civs which have an involvement with the Culture) found it a little surprising that ships with such awesome power and intelligence would be given names like I Blame Your Mother and Space Monster. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to choose names with a little more gravitas?

Supposedly one of the Culture ship manufacturies immediately responded to this by beginning to name all their newly-created ships No Gravitas Here, Dwindling Gravitas, Absolutely No You-Know-What and the like, and continued to do so for quite some time.

Banks claims to have a growing list of about 20 "gravitas" ship names at home, but no way to use them up until his next Culture novel.

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