I was sad to learn this morning that Iain Banks shared that he has terminal cancer and probably only less than a year to live. I first saw the news via Charles Stross’ Twitter account and a number of other people have shared the news this morning.
The first book I read of Iain Bainks was his Culture novel, Use of Weapons. He writes his science fiction books as Iain M. Banks and his fiction books as Iain Banks. Use of Weapons is still by far my favorite book from the Culture series – and when the protagonist makes a cameo appearance years later in a different book, I was thrilled (don’t worry, I won’t spoil which one!) The Culture books are one of the most imaginative and unique universes ever created. I can’t do justice trying to explain it, but Wikipedia has a detailed page about all things Culture. One of my favorite things is the names he gives the ships / AI in his books – how he came up with these names is beyond me, but they’re hilarious and stunning at the same time.
Years later I would dive into his fiction as well. The themes of his books, whether fiction or science fiction, deal with the human condition and how we interact with family, friends and the groups we belong to and are a part of.
I can’t recommend his books enough and I’m thankful I’ve been able to share in his imagination.