Monday, 10 June 2013

R.I.P. Iain Banks

I've just heard the sad news that the author Iain Banks has died, only a few months after announcing he was officially very poorly. He was one of my favourite authors and I've read all but his last few novels, as I tend to be a few years behind.

I started reading him before he turned to science fiction with Espedair Street, which was my favourite of his non-sf novels. His science fiction mainly featured the loosely connected universe of the Culture that, unusually for space opera, was a utopian vision of the far-future. My favourite of those was Consider Phlebas. I remember at the time I'd gone off science fiction as most new books tended to be depressing dystopian cyberpunk where I never had a clue what was going on or what half the words meant. Then along came the Culture featuring fast-paced, lively, grand old-fashioned space opera that was above all else fun.

For the last 25 years, whenever I'm seeking out a new science fiction novel to read, my definition of good science fiction has been stories that are a bit like Iain Banks. I can’t see me changing that definition.

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