Mongrel-Culture was the predominant pan-human species among biological Culture citizens. Mongrel-Culture represented an eclectic mix of species, augmentations, and properties facilitated by, or added through, biological engineering. The species was as old as the Culture and its properties were constantly changing.[1]

It was physiologically adapted for an environment with one standard gravity and a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere.[2]

Genofixes[edit | edit source]

Many inherent properties and augmentations were called genofixes. These included glands, regeneration, and improved organs and immune system.[3]

Genofixing allowed the body to adapt to changes in the environment without conscious thought or activity; adaptions included bones and muscles to higher gravity, and changes to the length of the day-night cycle.[4]

Culture genofixing was detectable by Culture genetic scanners.[5]

Awareness speed[edit | edit source]

Awareness speed could be increased - to at least to near-AI levels[6] - through glanding and the neural lace. Vast quantities of data could be processed in moments,[7][8] as well as increasing reaction speed.[9]

It was difficult to communicate at multiple speeds at once; the lace could quickly ramp up and down awareness speed to accommodate such situations.[9]

Maximum acceleration caused deterioration within minutes and burn out within a quarter of an hour. This was only used in emergencies, and used to interface with machines in extreme circumstances.[9]

Pregnancy[edit | edit source]

Mothers could consciously monitor and influence the development of their child while in the womb.[10] The mother's genofixing ensured offspring were not born crippled or mentally subnormal.[3] A genofix enabled interspecies reproduction.[11]

Fertilized embryos could be held in stasis in the ovaries permanently.[12] Similarly, a fetus could be held healthily and indefinitely in the womb.[10]

Pregnancy could only occur if the potential mother and father both consciously allowed it, and it could be reabsorbed at will.[11][12][13]

Sex change[edit | edit source]

Changing sex was initiated by a thought and a short trance. No further intervention was necessary. Gland secretions and viruses started the conversion, which was painless and took up to a year.[12][4]

Physical form[edit | edit source]

The Mongrel-Culture pan-human form easily admits minor changes, such as the addition and removal of digits and joints.[14]

The founding species of the Culture were pan-human,[15] but Culture citizens also switched to non-pan-human bodies according to personal preferences and fads. They could assume almost any mobile physical form imaginable, including machines, ones with distinctly alien biology, and those that did not normally support sapience.[8]

In some cases, consciousness was transferred by transplanting the pan-human brain into the new body.[8] In other cases, the personality was transcribed into the new body.[16]

Consciousness could typically be transcribed back and forth between the non-pan-human body and a pan-human brain. However, some types of exotic bodies required modifications to the mind that it was impossible to transcribe back into a pan-human brain; in such cases the transformation was effectively one-way.[8]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Hydrogen Sonata, chapter 5
  2. Excession, chapter 6.5
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Player of Games, chapter 1
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Player of Games, chapter 3
  5. "A Gift from the Culture"
  6. Surface Detail, chapter 22
  7. Excession, chapter 1.3
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Matter, chapter 5
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Surface Detail, chapter 3
  10. 10.0 10.1 Excession, chapter 8.8
  11. 11.0 11.1 Consider Phlebas, chapter 11
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Excession, chapter 9.2
  13. The State of the Art, chapter 4.1
  14. The State of the Art, chapter 2.1
  15. "A Few Notes on the Culture"
  16. Excession, chapter 2.2
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