Lasting Damage
First appearance Look to Windward
Latest appearance Look To Windward
Fate Became the Hub of Masaq orbital, later suicided
Affiliation The Culture
General characteristics
Class General Systems Vehicle (GSV)
Armaments Specifics unknown
Defenses Shields, specifics unknown
Propulsion Warp drive

The GSV Lasting Damage was a fictional General Systems Vehicle belonging to Iain M. Banks' fictional society The Culture. Its Mind later became the Hub of the Orbital Masaq. In this capacity it is a major character in the novel Look to Windward.


The Lasting Damage was one of the GSVs that formed the Culture's offensive forces during the early part of the Idiran-Culture War. During this time the Lasting Damage embarked on a mission behind enemy lines aimed at disrupting the Idiran forces so as to buy time for the evacuation of a group of Culture Orbitals. Evidence at the time showed that its mission was successful, but that it was hunted down by the Idirans and destroyed.

As was common practice, before embarking on its mission, the Lasting Damage had transmitted a copy of its Mind State to another vessel. After its presumed destruction, this Mind State was embedded within a new GSV and it continued to participate in the conflict.

Nevertheless, against all odds the original Lasting Damage had managed to survive, its Mind having escaped in a smaller vessel. It deliberately waited before trying to return to Culture space to avoid detection, and its survival was not known for some time. Upon its return, its successor renamed itself Lasting Damage II, and it took up the name Lasting Damage I. They became part of the same fleet, and fought together for most of the Idiran-Culture War.

Towards the end of the conflict both the Lasting Damage I and II were involved in the Twin Novae Battle. Before this battle the two Lasting Damages exchanged Mind states. During the battle the Lasting Damage II was destroyed. Afterward, the Lasting Damage I merged its mind state with that of its successor and concealed details of which of the two vessels was actually destroyed.

Significantly, at some point during the conflict, the Lasting Damage was tasked with the destruction of an orbital. This was done despite the fact that a number of people were still (willingly) on the orbital. This action deeply affected the Lasting Damage's emotional outlook on war and death.


Some time after the Idiran-Culture War, the Lasting Damage decided to become the Hub of the Orbital Masaq. It continued in this role until it committed suicide 807 years after the end of the Twin Novae Battle as the light of the second nova reached the orbital. In most respects, the Mind was fully sane at that time (and took care that its suicide would not hurt those under its care on the orbital).

As all citizens of the Culture (biological or artificial) are effectively immortal, choosing death at some point is relatively commonplace (though not so much with Minds). The choice to suicide is usually made after one feels that one has either lived one's life to the fullest, or has experienced something after which continued life would be too much of an effort.