One of the discussions with Alan regarding the adaptation project was to look into alternatives for what I could work on. I decided tonight to return to the source material to see if I could find a location or event that more closely ties with the novel's themes of death, rebirth and a war between numerous VR versions of Hell.
I went back to an earlier extract, that described the opera house as that is where a key character dies (spoiler alert, although does it count if it is at the end of chapter one?) and is reborn inside one of the Culture's ships, a vessel called "Sense Amidst Madness, Wit Amidst Folly", unfortunately despite the rather interesting name, the character spends much of the chapter she wakes up in a simulation of a bedroom. There's an endless continental European landscape outside her window but the room itself, while described doesn't sound like it could keep me going. Same goes for the landscape and we see none of the rest of the ship.
What these earlier chapters did affirm was my estimation of Veppers' position - the man is confirmed to be the Sichultian Enablement's richest, most powerful CEO: a rather nasty combination of the wealth of Bill Gates, the playboy attitude of Tony Stark and the aspirations and the "I can buy my way out of a prison sentence" mentality of Lex Luthor. I also looked into more architecture for Iobe and got intrigued by the mention of cantilevers. Give nthe terraced nature of the city I am now thinking about the lower half being a series of platforms jutting from the cavern wall, supported by buildings that rise through multiple levels.
However I did find a possible alternative in the following video. It is a construction sequence connected to a 2004 art project book for a structure called a Globus Cassus. A megastructure built using the material of the Earth's interior to create a shell with an internal surface area twenty times greater than the Earth's surface
It is an ambitious design, and the ending card makes me wonder about making an adaptation of Globus Cassus. The current issue I face with adapting Surface Detail is that the amount of story I'm covering in comparison to the entire book is very little, while I could potentially portray the full construction sequence of Globus Cassus as a narrative. Perhaps starting by showing rockets or shuttles deploying the four initial structures and then various perspective shots showing the different phases. But this project already has an animation and possibly some publicity tied to it which might limit creative freedom.