Iain Banks: A Tribute

It was while out with friends, in a break between an impromptu game of rounders and a very British picnic involving a flask of tea, cherries and little sausages, that I heard the heart-breaking news of the death of Iain Banks.  The strangeness of the contrast between this awful loss and the time and place left me baffled – numb, I took it in in silence, and then put it to one side, to deal with later.  It wasn’t the moment.

Some time has passed and it’s given me a chance to consider the impact that Banks and his work have had on me as a reader, but also as a person, and a citizen of the world; universe, even.  Perhaps that sounds a bit hyperbolic, but in fact, I think my reading of Banks’ incredible fiction, scientific or otherwise, has been fundamentally important. Continue reading “Iain Banks: A Tribute”

Iain (M) Banks – “I am Very Poorly”

Yesterday it was publicly announced for the first time that, as Iain says, he is “Very Poorly”.  In a personal statement published on a number of websites, he announced that he has terminal cancer, and that his next novel, The Quarry, will be his last.  There is an official ‘guestbook’ to sign to leave messages, thoughts and wishes too.

It may seem a selfish reaction but I was devastated when I read the statement, because I felt that this was a writer I had grown to know and who had shaped my reading and writing through his own.  Of course, it is an appalling tragedy for his family and friends – that goes without saying – but as the day went on, it seemed I wasn’t the only one to feel this personal, if premature, sensation of loss.  Iain and his works have meant a huge amount to a vast number of people and it seemed right to make the most of the time we still have with him in the world to revisit and celebrate his work. Continue reading “Iain (M) Banks – “I am Very Poorly””