||[Jun. 9th, 2013|06:05 pm]
This glass of fine old Scotch whisky in memory of Iain Banks, the finest of us.
Iain Banks is dead. I'm crying in an empty house. A good man and a friend for almost 30 years.
J Courtenay Grimwood:
GSV They Don't Make Them Like That Anymore...
And so on. A great, great sci-fi novelist, deep and shocking literary novelist, and admirable human being. The first 4 or so Culture novels WERE my teenage years. They gave me hope that people out there still had unlimited imaginations, and could tell us all about humanity by describing aliens and computer intelligences. Ian Rankin said "You never knew what you were going to get, every book was different", and this was especially true of the Culture series. The Player of Games followed by Use of Weapons? Excession? You didn't know the scope it was going to be set against, personal or galaxy-wide, or even what the species/physical form of the protagonist would be.
You'll be missed, Iain.
EDIT: He was also one of the most unapologetically left-wing authors, as shown by his response to the UK Conservative party in 2010 (which turned out to be 100% accurate):
"after flat-out lying about the inescapability of cuts and the reason we're in this mess, this bunch of upper-class landed louts, this cabinet of share-portfolioed millionaires, this gang of Greedists – along with their willing chums, the hopelessly deluded, now credibility-free Lib Dems – have returned to cut and butcher their way through our society again, picking on the young through picking on their parents, picking on the poor and the vulnerable, the disabled and disadvantaged, running down precisely those least able to help themselves, the very people any decent society ought to be doing most to help, while the bankers and the City boys sip their Cristal and drool over their upcoming bonuses." http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/oct/23/city-boys-drool-over-cuts
EDIT: Fuck it, I'm reading all the Culture novels again starting now. In order.
Long ago, just after The Wasp Factory, he came to give us an informal chat/lecture at Edinburgh University. I remember him as a scruffy geeky guy, full of hirsute enthusiasm and great ideas about writing, barely started.
Today is a sad day.
When you've done the non-M works, start on the others. I type this while cuddling my copy of Whit like a raggedly-spined teddy bear.
I've read 4 or 5 non-M's: Wasp Factory and Bridge, The Business, Complicity... I'm going to try Crow Road, but I'd heard good things about Whit too. (I can't believe the range in those titles alone.)
I think Dead Air is worth a read too.
I was reading The Hydrogen Sonata when I read the news of his cancer. I couldnt finish the book, knowing that once I had finished it there would be no more Culture books. I have read all his sci-fi, and I admit I selfishly thought I'd be reading them for the rest of my life. Like you, I intend re-reading them.
PS My wife reckons Crow Road is better than Whit.