Sunday, 9 June 2013

Iain Banks

 I've just heard ( via the BBC ) the very sad news that the wonderful Iain (M) Banks has passed away today at the age of 59. Mr. Banks had announced back in April that he had terminal gall bladder cancer and wasn't expected to live longer than a year. Unfortunately, his remaining time turned out to be a lot shorter. Although expected, his death is still a deeply sad piece of news to hear and I wish my condolences to all his family and friends. As I've said before, I am a great fan of his work and the two novels he signed for me many years ago ( Excession and The Bridge ) are greatly prized possessions.
I will have to write more about what Mr. Banks' work means to me at a later date. I'm constantly aware that I've written nothing about my reading habits in many months. I do still read books... albeit slowly :-) In fact I finally got round to reading the great man's first Culture novel Consider Phlebas a few months back. It was quite a tough read but ultimately rewarding and filled with amazingly vivid images and huge SF ideas. I will definitely have to drag the old "reading update" posts out of limbo... sooner rather than later...

I knew this event, when it came, would hit me hard but it feels even worse because it comes as a sad end to a bloody difficult day here in the Shire. We woke up this morning to find that someone had broken into our house in the night ( while we were all asleep! ) and stolen a load of items including two mobile phones, a laptop, a camera and Sarah's handbag. To cap it all, the bastards took Sarah's car too :-(
Luckily no-one was hurt, but the feeling that your home has been invaded is a horrible one indeed.
Of course, this all pales into insignificance when compared to how Iain Banks' family must be feeling today... but it's still been a very upsetting day.


Kid said...

Let's hope they catch the burglars and give them a good kickin' - er, I mean a good long sentence (or even both).

As for Iain Banks, I've never read any of his books, but which one would you recommend for a new reader?

cerebus660 said...

Cheers, Kid!

I'd definitely recommend Banks' classic mainstream novel, The Crow Road. ( You may remember the '90s TV version. ) It's a very funny, humane and multi-layered novel about family secrets, love, the existence or otherwise of God... and exploding grannies :-)

As for his SF novels, Against A Dark Background and Feersum Endjinn are both well worth a read - standalone books with some outrageous concepts - while from the "Culture" novels I'd go with The Player Of Games or Use Of Weapons - both books featuring plot twists that make you want to re-read them as soon as you've finished them!

Then there's the uncategorisable The Bridge. It's a real mindf*** of a book, featuring some insanely brilliant prose and a Scottish Conan The Barbarian...

Just don't get too attached to any of Banks' characters - he's always absolutely ruthless with them...


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