Just finished my annual October half-term visit to Lyme Regis with my extended family. We’ve been doing this for over 30 years now and for the past 20 the ritual has included a visit to Waterstones in Bridport (via a boozy lunch at the George) to get my ‘Banks’ for the holiday. Until this year I hadn’t really given it much thought . . . this year I can’t stop thinking why I miss it so much. Consistency denied!!!
Farewell, my dear.
Thanks for sharing Iain !!!
Just finished The Wasp Factory and loved it. I came in at the rear end of this huge talent. He grabbed my attention as a fellow cancer sufferer and I thought it curious that unbeknown to him the very subject matter for his last novel was sadly prescient. Having tracked his first novel from the library I also picked up The Steep Approach to Garbadale and I’m looking forward to chomping my way through all Iain’s novels!
Thanks Iain for sharing all of your visions. Wherever you’ve gone, I’ll see you there later.
I have no words. I just found out today (October 31). I was looking at my collection of Iain’s books last night and wondering what might be coming next. Iain saw me through some very tough times in my life. His sense of wonder and vision of the universe inspired me at a fundamental level. He was an old comforting friend that I met time and again through the pages of his books. I am incredibly sad at his passing. My thoughts are with his family and I wish them to know that Iain made a positive difference in the life of at least one man.
thank you Iain
To hear of Iain’s “sublimation ” was to say the least, very sad indeed. I have journeyed with Iain from the wasp factory until the present day and almost feel like a culture citizen. My only hope is he is actually on board a GSV.
Please accept my most heartfelt condolences he will be very very sorely missed.
I’m heart broken to hear your sad new, haven’t felt this bad since I’d finished all the Flashman books only to discover that George MacDonald Fraser had passed just a year before.
Now it’s the same with you, I’ve been addicted to your science fiction works ever since I stumbled across Surface Detail a couple of years ago and since then I’ve read all of them so nothing more to look forward to. I’m not even into science fiction, I think it was your humour that pulled me in but in time I actually got to feel inspired by your vision of the Culture, somehow believable and desirable no matter how ironically it was intended. I wish there was someone else out there with would could take up the mantle. I’ll be devouring your other works now for some time.
I hope that one of these miracles you sometimes hear about intervenes to preserve your imagination for us but if not I wish you the most happy time possible with your family.
Sad sad sad, just discovered your books , currently reading The Business. And just read you are on your way, your books are a great legacy, you will surely rise on the third day and will ever be celebrated. Enjoy your trip while I will go on enjoying your books till we meet in Spirit.
As a huge fan of The Culture novels I checked in to see what we could expect next year (this being a non-sci-fi year); and found the worst possible news concerning the beloved Mr Banks.
The Culture novels were part of a great bond between and my best friend and me, him having gotten me into them many years ago.
I’ll miss those twisty blackly funny plots, beautifully described locales and unpronounceable protagonists!
If only he could have benefited from some of the technology that he suggested to us; either to cure him or allow his conciousness to float around in a wobbly tin box, aura field glowing red, writing wonderful books forever.
Travel well Iain, you will be sorely missed.
One night at a party I met an enchanting girl who told me I might like ‘The Bridge’, because I reminded her of her boyfriend and it was his favourite book. Slightly crestfallen in that early-20s way, I read it; then, mind blown, I read everything else of yours I could get my hands on, not-M and M. Years later, a chance conversation has enriched my life and thoughts immeasurably. I wish I could thank that girl and her boyfriend; I also wish I could have thanked you in person.
We lost you too soon, but you left a remarkable legacy. I think we can all learn from your imagination, your humour, and your integrity both in text and life. The grace and courage with which you responded to your illness seem to me to be nothing short of heroic. Thanks for everything.
Suddenly missed him again
Thank you so much for all of your books.
I’m too late, And don’t know what to say. A very big void for so many people in so many ways. Sorry for your family’s loss.
I enjoyed it, thought with your books. Forever Mr Banks
Thank you for all the times you have helped me escape the mundane. Your books were mind expanding. I would also like to send my best wishes to Mrs Banks and say thanks for making him happy.
I just finished watching episode 3 of the Crow Road when I found out the sad news. I think I have read almost all of Iain Banks’ writings. Now I want to start again and enjoy them even more.
Iain Banks was mentioned by Alex Salmond in his Conference speech in which he urges Scottish people to vote for independence. Iain was a supporter of independence and I think being quoted in such a speech is a great tribute. It is a great speech regardless of one’s nationality – I am certainly not Scottish – because it promotes the vision of a society which is founded on equality and fairness, which also inspire the vision of The Culture. I believe it is a speech Iain Banks would be proud of and he would be proud to have inspired part of it with his vision of hope. xxx
It struck me hard to see that my favorite SF author has gone so early.
Despite his cruel fate Iain is one of those few gifted guys who will live on in our minds forever by the power of his imagination. I strongly hope that he had the time to complete his bucket list.
The universe you created will live on in our minds, you will be sorely missed Iain.
I can’t begin to express how much your works mean to me. You won’t be forgotten.
I am crestfallen to understand that I have only discovered Iain after he is gone.
What a blessing he was, and continues to be for us all.
May your neural lace always function properly…
Hi, just reading Hydrogen Sonata, the last M book.
The first appearance of a Culture vessel near the start of the book brought about smiles and laugh-out-louds. “Welcome back to my universe,” the author was saying, “let’s have some more fun.”
Many words ahead, only on Chapter 6, each to be savoured.
I read The Wasp Factory many years ago as a youngster and it awakened a great passion for literature in me which has played out strongly ever since. The news of your death prompted me on to a new appreciation of your work in the form of the Culture novels which I am still lucky enough to be working through. Thanks from the bottom of my heart for your immense contribution…
Like Cathy’s message below, I too started reading Iain B’s books while living overseas in Asia, not (yet) his science fiction but the other ones. And what always resonated with me most was his characters’ accounts of walking–whether in the woods, along the beaches, through the city, his words evoked movement, sensation, and thought process in such an authentic way, doing nothing more than walking. Having recently moved to a Malaysian island jewel of a home I find myself reading and rereading his stuff, my head over in Scotland, still grieving the loss of this vibrant writer. What devious twinkle he must have had…and what good use he put it to. So grateful.
Just finished Consider Phlebas again. What a joy. Heard a talk from prof Grayling on why humanities matter last night and this book again proved the point. Love, loss, revenge. Clever, funny, surprisingly. Yet again Iain has made me look at my life. Shall I read my favourite again- why not- time for Player of Games. Thanks again Mr Banks. RIP.
ah, its just so damn tragic. i am so sorry. i just read your site and found out that of your struggle. cancer. what a thing. so fast. i am so sorry.
wherever you are now, in the hope that wherever that is you actually ARE, i hope that you know how special your words were, have been, and will be to me and all your happy readers. what a gift you have, and what a gift you share. thank you.
to adele, family, and all those who monitor and have kept this going, thanks for sharing and my kindest regards and deepest condolences for your loss.
peace, love, and joy to you all.
Oh boy. Since I finished your last book several weeks ago I have been groping about for anything in sf that even comes close to your imaginative genius. I sometimes thought your writing was a little difficult but this was a minor, minor annoyance. There must be someone out there but i fear no one compares to you.
Take a look at Peter F Hamilton.
you must try Chris Beckett ,hes the closest to Iain M Banks ive found for descriptive quality and ability to really grab you and make you think .Dark Eden and the God Machine are 2 great ones.
Iain M banks you have a great ability to describe size ,speed and strangeness and tech like nobody else,your universe was incredible and i loved every one of you sci fi books .I truly hope theres a few in hiding just waiting to be found by your wife .All the best on your journey and thank you very much for the stories.
singularity sky by charles stross will give you a chuckle in a banksy kind of way.check it out.
Left a thank you for the books (much) earlier. Just had to say I’m currently reading “Raw Spirit” and thought if I’m gunna read Banksy’s musing on single malts I should at least give one a crack myself.
If you’ve read the book you know how much Iain liked the Islay whiskies, and as my local retailer had Bowmore in stock, Bowmore it was.
In short, Great, another example of how your influence outlives you Banksy.
Great book, I was travelling the same route at the same time as a whisky lover and bumped into the man a couple of times.
Saw him last in The Cafe Royal bar Edinburgh not long before his untimely demise not knowing he was in a terminal decline.
I m a fan and always will be. I started my travelling in Asia, picking unconvinced in the usually poor selection of secondhand traveler bookshop . I picked a Iain Banks randomly. A lot of them followed. And I have been reading them fast, I have been reading them twice. I have been giving them to fellow travellers who i thought deserved a good karma. My long train and bus journeys became joy. I still have a lot of them to enjoy. I think some of his books are greater than other but there will always be a sentence or a quote that just hit it.( I remember one in Dead Air about Starbucks Giant Coffee Cup, one in Stonemouth about Love and one in The Business about a talismanic monkey…) It is very sad news. I loved your vision of life, or what I thought it to be. You make us want to be kids again , or teenagers, or careless, or crazy. RIP .
Hi Ian. I’m afraid I only started reading your books after I heard about your cancer. The first book I read was “The Algebraist”, and I immediately loved it. I am astounded by your ability to come up with so many distinct aliens, and weave together a fictional history on a galactic scale. I’m currently working my way through the Culture books. I’m Truly sorry I didn’t start reading your work earlier, and I had to let you know before you go.
I think I learned more from the sh** you made up than from any of the stuff that really happened.
Thank you for your words.
Iain is gone.
For over 26 years, I devoured his books, and absorbed his sense,
despite horror, short-sightedness and cruelty, that more is possible.
That we can aspire to understanding, and earn our redemption.
This gave me hope, in the hardest of times, and joy during the best.
I thank him for that gift.
Some of the best stuff I’ve ever read, esp. The Algebraist. Inspirational! Thank you and all the best! RC
I’ll read all of your books. This is sad news. Have a good trip, I hope it’s easy
Since I first heard the news about Iain’s health, I have been reminded of how much his fiction meant to me. His books, both with and without the “M” initial, have been companions to me for over twenty years, and have formed part of the fabric of my life.
It is truly sad that while I expected, with the luxury of thinking us all immortal, so many more books from him, i am left to reflect on the legacy he has left.
But what a legacy it is. No writer has inspired me in the way he has. Here’s a cask strength whiskey to him!
Triste por la muerte de un grandísimo escritor que me ha hecho vivir horas de lectura alucinantes. Sus novelas son simplemente increibles, con un retorcido humor negro y un virtuosismo al alcance de muy pocos. Su obra me ha impactado hasta el extremo de sin conocerlo de nada llegar a apreciarlo muchisimo. Escribo esto con lagrimas en los ojos. Una gran perdida sin duda. Descanse en paz
I have only late last year read my first Culture novel, a book handed to me at work by a colleague as it was on his desk. I can’t really put into words how much I have enjoyed the books so far, and how much I look forward to reading the rest. I send my deepest condolences to family and friends.
Thank you Ian for digging so deep and sharing the results with us. Your Sci-Fi is so daring, expansive and inspirational !
Very sorry to hear of your illness. I have really enjoyed your science fiction and other works over the years. Best wishes and good luck. Max Taylor
It seems I arrived late at the party but found the music still playing. While torn out of balance for a moment when I realized the sad truth, reading these updates and the Guardian interview has left me in awe of the courage, openness and charm Iain displayed in his last moments. I cannot imagine the loss of those who were closer, but I know beyond doubt that his powerful imagination, inspirational worldview and deep humanity will not soon be forgotten. Thank you for sharing him with us.
I just finished the Hydrogen Sonata and began googling for news of the next book only to find my favorite SF author is dead. I will therefore fantasize your mind state has been taken aboard Mistake Not…and you live on in the wonderful universe you created.
From the family at gadgetronx, I would like to truly thank you for sharing. It has been a wonderful blessing to be invited into your world. Your ability to share your story has made a difference in my life.
After devouring several Culture books with wild abandon, I learn that the author has Sublimed.
My sorrow and condolences extend to those left behind. I only every knew the man through his works, and know that we are less than we were without him. I can only imagine the void left for those who actually had such wit as an active part of their lives.
Thankyou for the words, Iain, and all the confluence of their meaning.
I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your stories.
Thank you, Ian Banks, for many, many hours of reading pleasure. You have been one of my favorite authors for many years. My deepest condolences to your family.
Thank You for your Culture Novels.
Was a gift to know your work… Wanted you to know that you made a difference.
Iain Banks, literary hero.
You shall be missed greatly, I have never before had the feeling of such utter loss when i finished one of your books, basically due to the fact that it had ended. You offer hope, and a chance to daydream in a world so astonishing and fantastic. The good, the bad and ugly all woven into your narrative. I thank my friend Steve for introducing me to your books and I thank you for everything you have given in your work. Rest in peace Mr Banks.