It took a while to get used to Iain M. Bank’s style of changing the focus to different scenes and characters every chapter and the “Culture” species, ships etc but after that Look To Windward was quite good. Will keep an eye out for other “Culture” novels
The Wikipedia provides a good introduction to The Culture describing it as:
a fictional anarchic, socialistic and utopian society invented by the Scottish writer Iain M. Banks and described by him in several of his novels and shorter fictions. Banks’s second Culture novel, The Player of Games is widely considered to be the best introduction to the Culture.
The Culture is a Transhumanist society, which originally came about when seven or eight roughly humanoid space-faring races coalesced into a rough collective — a “group-civilisation” — and ultimately consists of approximately thirty trillion sentient beings. Little uniformity exists within the Culture. Its citizens are such by choice, they are free to join, leave, and rejoin or indeed declare themselves to be, say, 80% Culture. Techniques in genetics are advanced to the point where human bodies are freed from built-in limitations: a severed limb grows back, bodies can be gender reassigned according to whim, automatic reflexes such as breathing can be switched to conscious control, bones and muscles adapt quickly to changes in gravity without the need to exercise them.