Update: Iain Banks’ time was far, far shorter than expected. He died today, 9 June 2013, leaving a legacy that I will enjoy reading through the years to come. He will be missed terribly but read always.
Today’s announcement by Iain (M.) Banks that he has terminal cancer knocked me for six. While years ago I read and enjoyed and creased my brows over some of his earlier non M. works, his Culture novels more recently not only relit my long-extinguished fire for science fiction but made it joyful and mind-expanding. As many know, I am a sucker for novels with spaceships in them but nobody does spaceships like Iain M. Banks. He doesn’t just give them a name, he gives them a mind and personality that either makes you want to leap aboard and hang on for the ride or take pot shots and smash them into oblivion.
But here is science fiction that combines vision and art with accessibility and wonder. The contrary narratives of Use of Weapons for example, moving time in different directions, is awe inspiring and challenging. The perfect mix for a reader that wants the very best.
We’re fortunate to be given the time and chance to let Iain M. Banks know just what he means to us. And that’s an awful lot. We can leave a message for him here.