Just a note to say how sorry I am to hear your news. And also to say thank you.
The books I read have always been a huge part of me; your books have been a huge part of that – ever since a certain tale about a young person who built a tiny maze. Then there was the one about the guy who got given a shiny new space suit and proceeded wear it, and himself, out. Your creations have populated my inner landscape for.. Well let’s just say “for a while”.
So then. Thank you, take care of yourself now.
thank you for expanding my mind and keeping me/us so richly entertained for all these years. Top mind dude. From Ireland, Duncan
On average I have read over 170 books per year for the past 15 years; and I am a lawyer by profession. I think it’s fair to say that I am well read. And you, in M guise, are by far and away my favourite author. You are a genuine genius.
We’re all on this random planet for a short visit (at least, so I assume, but who really knows anything?!), so it’s business as usual: enjoy yourself!
Iain, incredibly saddened to hear the news of your illness. Player of Games is my favourite book of all time. I was completely entranced by it and have read it, and all your other books, many times over.
I wish you all the best at this difficult time. Hang in there.
Your books are the reason I so much relish reading. Thank you!
Dear Iain, I am so very sorry to hear your news. I was at Swanwick in 2011 when you gave a really great after dinner talk which I found very inspirational and which gave me much to think about. I work in the NHS myself and thank you for the comments which you made in your statement regarding your care as we do not always get good feedback! I wish you and your family all the very best at this very difficult time. I will remember the night at Swanwick for a long time to come.
With kindest regards
Wishing you lots of love and happiness to come, and hoping you are this evening enjoying your very favourite malt and playing a great soundtrack to celebrate having seen HER off!
Dear Iain and Adele,
Your news has touched me deeply, as I have just had a very similar experience. My husband Stephen was diagnosed with late stage lung cancer in November and died 9 weeks ago, despite the best efforts of doctors and an operation which successfully removed a secondary tumour in his brain. Like you, he was just 59 years old, and had no indications of any problems until it was too late to help him. I don’t know if my experience will help you but if you would like to talk to someone who knows exactly what you are facing please contact me privately. Stephen faced his inevitable fate with amazing courage as I am sure you will, given the tone of your statement. I have been supported by amazing family members and friends, without whom I could not have survived. I agree with all you say about the NHS – our experience with all of the medical and care people we encountered including District Nurses, local and hospital doctors, consultants and care workers was unfailingly good. Rely on them, and on hospice support. In our case the staff from the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice and Marie Curie nurses were the very best we could ask for.
Although I do not know you, you are in my thoughts,
Incredibly sad news Iain. Your humour, however ghoulish, does you massive credit. The Culture novels are amongst the best in Science Fiction and I’ll really going miss not having a new one every other year or so. I havent got around to reading any of your non-M work, but Transitions is on my list.
My favourite novel is Look to Windward – an incredibly satisfying book all the way through and full of pathos. If only some of your creations were real you’d have some options!
Here’s to the day when we’re all part of a post-scarcity anarchic society run by Minds (assuming we don’t wipe each other out before that).
I wish you and Adele all the very best.
Here’s hoping for a miracle (or alien intervention).
I wrote to you in 2001 asking for help with ‘The Wasp Factory’ as my son was struggling with his English higher exam. You responded by return of post (yes, snail mail!) with a four page synopsis of the book. I’ll never forget this and we still have the letter, and he even passed the exam!
We both wish you the very best of luck
Personally I’m sure you’re just subliming ahead of the rest of us! In any case your neural lace is intact… all of us who have gained so much from your imagination are carrying a part of that for you. Me? I began by falling into those wonderful worlds of the future every time I opened the books, but you are such a SLOW writer, well not producing SF fast enough for me and so I began reading all your work and to my everlasting joy discovered WHIT, The Business, Steep Road.. et al. There are times when I’m re-reading one of your books when I just have to read sentences, paragraphs, out loud to savour them. I have been and will continue to be given so much from your work. Thank you.
Iain – you have signed some books for me over the years and you have always been a gentleman! Thank you for over 30 years of reading pleasure – and a hardback fetish that I will never shake caused by always having to have your latest book as soon as it came out – from the Crow Road on to my signed copy of the Hydrogen Sonata from Mike at Transreal! My floors groan!
I hope you relish the time you have left.
Some years ago as a result of rash comments by a doctor I had lung cancer for the weekend, only to find out on Monday that it was nothing of the sort. If only that were the same in your case though this sounds pretty clear cut. Thank you so very much for The Culture and all your other wonderful work. I once travelled a great deal for my job and on discovering I had left a newly purchased copy of your latest book at home whilst in the cab to Heathrow, I was far more concerned about finding another copy before departure than I was about the career changing purpose of the trip. My wife thought I was mad, but we all know different here don’t we. Still have both books on the shelf. I very much hope that your last journey is as comfortable as can be and that both yourself and your nearest and dearest pick up some of the positive vibes I am sending your way. And, if my son picks up your books in due course well, thats what legacies are all about.
So sorry to hear your not feeling too good Iain. Have read everything of yours since I stumbled across Consider Phlebas in Forbidden Planet and they didnt have the Silverberg I was looking for. I’m not usually one for getting all emotional when a celeb pops their clogs, so I was quite pleased to discover I’m not a total sociopath, as evidenced by the tears that streamed down my face when I read the news.
You have been a positive influence to thousands of people and not a lot of people can say that about themselves.
Just glad you lived long enough to see that old bitch Thatcher die.
All the best
Iain, not only have I greatly enjoyed reading your books over the decades, but from my teens onward they engendered in me a love of fiction in general, which has been priceless. Uniquely though, your books have been something of a literary soundtrack to my life, and re-reading them, as I do every ten years or so, is as much about nostalgia as it is about re-exploring. Thank you. My thoughts are with you and yours.
Iain is my favourite SF author, I enjoy his other fiction enormously and I share both with my children.
It is a shame that we have not achieved singularity yet and the machine immortality that culture would have granted him, but his literature will be more than sufficient for those of that will mourn his passing or discover his discourse in the future.
Thank you Iain.
I rather hoped that I would be reading your latest Culture novel on my deathbed, this doesn’t look as if it will be the case now. Couldn’t you squeeze another one in just for me? I’ve read all of the others, most of them three times.
At least I have UEA Norwich to look back on, I’m sure that was the high point of your career, I asked you a question regarding Zakalwe in Surface Detail, you must remember 🙂
Maggie got there first, she’ll be waiting to shake your hand when you arrive.
All I can do do is wish you all the best.
I was so sorry to hear this news. I have loved your books, especially the SF ones.
I once came to see you talk about your work at Waterstones in Manchester.
You were with another author, whose name I forget, and I am afraid ,unfortunately for him, I think everyone had come to see you.
Lots of people out there are going to miss you, and we haven’t even met you.
Thank you so much for the stories.
Like you, I got diagnosed with (a rare) cancer late lat year, but having left a rather large chunk of me in a bin, and then having had some sessions led in a real life death ray, it seems I might survive to travel a bit further down the line. Isn’t thid cancer thing annoying? I thought that the Hydrogen Sonata was your best Culture novel for a while, and was looking forward to others. (Perhaps you could rent out your universe?) I’ve been in from the start, enjoying Wasp Factory and all, although the sf stories remain most favoured; those and the Bridge, and the one no-one seems to mention, Walking on Glass. Also Espedair street, because of the music, and the fact that one of your lead characters put a bit of Kevin Ayers’ “Confessions of Dr Dream” on a loop. I know where you’re coming from. Thank you for lots and lots of enjoyable hours reading your stories, and if there is something out there, I hope they’ve saved you a good spot.
Saddened as I am to hear of your poor health, I am heartened that you may yet get your wish vis the former prime minister lamented today.
Dear Iain Banks
I’ve compiled a list: Of That Are Great/Spectacular/Awesome About Iain Banks And His Books
– The Steep Approach to Garbadale: it was the first book of yours I read; it made me laugh out loud, like the kind of laugh that makes your shoulders and stomach heave and then ultimately you end up loving Scotland a little bit more.
– Transition is probably my favourite because it helped me let go of an irrational need for serendipity in my life which I think comes from books in the first place. Fairytales and stuff, I guess compared to them you’re keepin’ it real.
– Now that I think about it, I love heaps of your books so ‘favourite’ is a bit of a misnomer.
– I’m excited because I haven’t read The Bridge yet which you’ve often said is the book you are most proud of, and its always a good feeling when you are about to do something that you know will be good. Like the moment before I read a seminal essay on game theory at University and then my life was irrevocably altered in the best and only way. Especially because you are told it is good by someone who is great, and you think it will be good, and then it is really good and when that happens everything is validated and affirmed and well, good.
– I haven’t read the Culture novels yet but this is exciting too because it means I’ve still got all of that in front of me.
– I love the black and white covers from the first editions of your books. I like the cold geometry of them, you are probably more fashionable than you know.
– your imagination. Holy moly.
– being prolific but never diluting your style.
– I’ve met you a couple of times at the Edinburgh book festival, and you have always been super friendly. I made and gave you a bookmark last year and it doesn’t matter if you don’t remember, that’s not why I mentioned it, but that’s the way I want to illustrate that you are an important part of my library. And my library is my most special asset, both in terms of physical book collection and corner of my soul.
– You make me feel ok that I feel angry about things, and that it is ok to be intense. Culturally boycotting Israel; burning your passport: you give me courage to strive for high ideals and get off the fence and to fight corners that may just be railroaded but need a champion and are worth a fight.
– I think you are fair and noble; you form a considered position and then fight it, and you aren’t afraid to give kudos when it’s due. Perhaps I have manicured an image of you in my head, but it is based on the information available to me, and based on this information, you are a role model. As a writer and as a human.
– That you have two personas (but this doesn’t dilute the role model status).
I have some questions I want to ask you ( In a parallel universe we have probably already discussed these things so don’t worry too much about answering them)
Have you read Game of Thrones? it’s a rollick.
Have you tried Royal Loch Nagar whisky? I think it tastes like walking through a Scottish forest in summer time when the canopy is full and the earth slightly damp and musty from heat and rain and lots of bark and decomposing leaves. And there is definitely some running water nearby. It’s lovely, and tastes like a story.
What books do you like to read?
Do you think its ok to have regrets?
I don’t know if you will have time but can you please try and write an autobiography before you go? Or at the very least please brief a good biographer? I don’t mean to be a demanding-diva fan, but I just think you are great and cool and funny and clever and these are all reasons why your life should be captured as I am sure that your life is a very good story in itself.
I feel sad for all the stories and opinions that will go unwritten but happy for all the stories you have written and shared. I think that is what bittersweet is. Congratulations on your marriage, i wish you and Adele lots of happiness. I hope you are not in pain and the future is the best one possible.
Thank you Iain Banks.
So sorry to hear your news. I’ve been reading your Culture novels since Consider Phlebas and Use of Weapons is still one of my favourite books. I’ve not read so many of your other novels although Espedair Street is one of my favourites despite being a Greenockian (you will understand that reference even if no one else does)
I hope you and Adele can make the most of the time you have and your positive attitude will keep you going for as long as possible. I’m hoping Morton will come good and get to the Premier League when you are still with us
So sad to hear the news about your illness, you don’t know me personally but suffice to say as one of your readers there is a connection. You have blessed your readers with many great stories and novels, you will be leaving behind your soul for generations to come.
Now is a time for living the moment with your family and those dear to you- I send loving energy to you all and can only say thank you for the words you have shared…. Love Light and Blessing
very rarely lost for words I am sitting here pondering, trying over and over to write something worthwhile and profound. but nothing I can think of can express the sadness that came over me after reading your announcement.
so to hell with the gloom and thank you for everything my friend !
all the best to you and your widow in waiting – never give in btw !
// the raven of the northern forests
Iain, I treasure every word that you have given us. Sending energy to you and all your loved ones.
People are mentioning favourites so I’d like to say a word for Transition (2009). Multiple readings (key to appreciating the kick-ass structure) got me through a very hard time and the themes, OMG, just let me fetch a lemon and a piece of paper and I’ll take you through them one by one.
For those who haven’t read Transition (but hopefully not too spoilery): one theme is bad behaviour on the part of powerful characters obsessed with avoiding their own deaths. In contrast, Sir Iain seems to be facing his own death with clarity grace & style, making the most of every living moment.
May we as a species honor him by learning from his example(s).
Message for Iain asap. Hope it makes it to you
I can give you my prayers and I can give you information. Please watch the beautiful truth on youtube. Link below
May god be with, whatever you choose to do
Dear Mr Banks,
I am very saddened to hear the news about your health, but I still hope that something can be done to help you recover!
You are my favourite science fiction writer and I am forever thankful to you for introducing me to your rich world of imagination: your Culture novels have had a lot of positive influence on my own decisions in life. I will never forget listening to your story at the University of Edinburgh in September 2011 and speaking with you for a little bit afterwards.
Wish you a truly peaceful and happy time with your wife, and hope that one day humans will evolve into a society similar to Culture.
Mr. Banks, I’m so sorry to hear about your condition. As a holistic practitioner I always hate to hear when someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness or is told they have a permanent condition. I feel like somehow science/medicine has failed and we just haven’t found the right options. I do wish you well in what time you have left with us and hope that you have a peaceful transition into whatever comes next…
I’m a relatively recent fan of yours after reading Transitions a couple years ago and have since been greedily collecting most of your works, and finding them some of the best and smartest sci-fi I’ve ever read (and can’t believe it took me so long to find). As with all of my favorite authors over the years, I’m always sad to reach the end of a novel, much less know that there will be an end to the novels. Thank you for what you’ve given us. (I look forward to happily re-reading down the road).
Long ago I “misplaced” an Iain M. Banks book while on holiday in Mexico. The receptionist’s English was excellent, but explaining how I’d lost my Feersum Endjinn …
So many memories, thank you.
I read the Wasp Factory when I was fourteen, and I’ve loved your writing ever since. Gutted to hear your terrible news, but I wish you luck, and I hope you live and love to the fullest. Your books have been an inspiration.
Congratulations on your marriage!
I started reading you when The Crow Road was released in London. I felt so lucky to have found you! You are one of those writers who truly transport the reader into a different world.
I wish you all the best in everything.
So sorry to hear the news. You got your books published – all those manuscripts tucked away in a Stirling Uni Murray Hall drawer. And I bet you are still brimful of ideas. I just wish you could stay around to get them published too.
All the best,
Thank you so much for sharing your talent with prose, story and all the characters over the years. I’ve been a reader for just over a decade and only picked up your Culture books in the past year and am on the seventh currently.
I thoroughly enjoy your writing, the ideas that you explore and the way that they are cleverly, thoughtfully but also simply written. Complex ideas but written in an accessible way and with many parallels to today and our own individual, personal issues.
I’m so sorry to hear of your illness, my own family has suffered from similar sudden diagnoses and the subsequent loss. I wish you and your wife all the best, I hope that you enjoy your honeymoon and the coming months and rest assured that I will continue to take much pleasure from completing reading your library and inviting others into your rich galaxy for years to come.
The wasp factory and walking on glass are two great classics and a must read , they made me a absolute banks fan!!!.
The culture series is the best sci ever written , even dwarfing Asimov,legendary!!!!
What a great legacy to have left
Dear Mr Banks,
I love your work, especially The Bridge, which completely intrigued me. I look forward to obtaining a copy of your latest book, The Quarry.
I admit that I have not read a single Iain M banks novel….but I hereby promise to buy (and read!) at least one, in tribute to to you, simply because I think you are awesome!
Congratulations on your recent marriage, I hope you had a wonderful honeymoon – my own honeymoon never really was. A big once-in-a-lifetime African safari adventure was pored over and planned but due to a change in family circumstances simply never happened. However, a week in Madeira in November proved to be a romantic wilderness.
With all my admiration, best wishes and sadness, I send you warm regards and an enormous thank you for the hours of pleasure you have given me over the years as an avid bookworm.
I am truly sorry that you are so ill and wish you the least pain and most comfort and happiness that you can obtain in the coming months.
Fond memories and warm regards from an Iain Banks fan.
Hi iain, I wanted to say I will miss you and your books. You have given me so much joy, surprise, humour and ideas to ponder over the years. I have never met you (obviously lol) but I feel saddened by your illness in the same way as if you are a good friend. I wish you and your lovely wife well and hope you can experience all the joys life has to offer in the time you have left. With love and sadness Phil
Dear Iain, your originality of imagination has amazed me since The Wasp Factory. I have always eagerly awaited the latest Ian Banks novel and it is with great sadness there will only be one more.
Thankfully your published books will bestow a literary immortality which I trust brings some comfort to you, your family, friends and dedicated fans.
For me, the great thing about science-fiction was that it reminded me that the world could be so much better than it is. From HG Wells’s Time Machine to Charles Stross (and Cory Doctorow)’s cyber-rapture, it shows both the possibilties for a better future, and also the warnings of how these hopes might be dashed. Iain M Banks’s futures were truly hopeful and heroic.
Thank you so much for the great reads over the years. All the best on your Honeymoon and I’ll hit up a Pub later and hoist a dram to your happiness and honour. Thank you again from a sad reader in Canada.
I can honestly say that you are one of the finest authors I have ever become helplessly addicted to. Effortlessly cool – hairs on the back of my neck every time – simply stunning. For the hundreds of hours of pleasure that your writing has given me, thank you.
I know neither of you directly but I sincerely wish you and Adele much love and hopefully some sunshine in your life together.
I just wanted to thank you, and wish you and your blushing widow well. I hope you surprise your doctors and remain with us for many years to come.
In either event, please understand that you’ve done something we all hope to achieve … you’ve made the world a better place for you having been here. Speaking for myself, I know that very often I catch myself viewing the world partially though the filter of the stories and characters you’ve created. I know that I’m a better person for that. And I thank you.
Hi Iain (and hi to your good lady too),
Never met you, unfortunately not likely to now either, but wanted you to know I’ve been with you on your odyssey for the whole trip, from Wasp right through…. and I’ve enjoyed every single minute of it….Absolutely in bits to hear your news….Pleasae make every remaining minute count like crazy.
Love you and all your magnificent crazy ideas. What are you doing reading this when you could be doing something wonderful ?
Dear Iain, I am writing because I’d like to tell you how much I have enjoyed your books over the years. In 1984 I was 25. I read the ‘The Wasp Factory’ and it was so DIFFERENT – it is one of those rare books where the story line and atmosphere have been available to memory for me. Including all of yours, many thousands of books have built up in my house since, and I have often thought while reading – huh, Iain Banks did that first.
VERY sorry to hear your news.
First off, I’d sooner see a thousand Thatchers go the crow road before you Iain! A bit harsh I know but I’ve always admired reading about your political side as well as your books, you seem like a really cool guy. I’ve read the majority of your works, always mindful to save a few for a rainy day. Even thinking about Steven Grout jumping away from the car’s laser beams still makes me laugh all these years later.
It was you that paved my literary path Iain but I also want to thank you for turning me to some really great music too. At a very young age I checked out Hendrix, Stones and many others just from you referencing them in your books. I am eternally gratfeul for that. Have the greatest time while you are still with us and, when the time comes, do try and send us a sign here on Earth about which religion was the right one 😉 .
“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”
I remember ‘The Wasp Factory’ blowing my mind in the late eighties. I’d never read anything like it. I loved it. You have been an inspiration to me over the years, as each one of your books is different and imaginative and brilliantly original. I went to see you talk at the Edinburgh Book Festival many years ago and you were funny and modest on top of everything else. I’m truly sorry to hear about your illness and hope you take comfort in the knowledge that you have given so much to so many throughout your life. My very best wishes to you and your family.
Your work has brought me a lot of pleasure over the years. Enjoy your remaining time with friends and family, and know your readers will remember you. Besides, I am quietly hoping you get better (being a selfish reader and all).
I’m so sorry to hear this news. I only just finished The Hydrogen Sonata, which I thought was one of your best. For all the times a Culture Mind has made me laugh (a great many), thank you.
Terribly sad to hear about your condition. So it goes. You’re not gone yet, so at least I have a chance to thank you for the days and months of pleasure I have had reading each and every book you’ve published.
You’re an inextricable part of my life.