I’m going to be one of the ten thousand here and while I’m reading your post, I’ll ask you to suggest one of his books to start knowing him, since I never heard of him before (quite strange for me, since I read many other sci-fi authors).
My personal favourite is Consider Phlebas, which is also the first Culture book (in order of writing; there’s no real reading order).
Thanks! I’ll pick it up and start reading it soon, since I was in a between-books period.
Many people would suggest other books, which may be more accessible and less flawed, such as The Player of Games, but if you stick with Consider Phlebas you will find it worth your while.