Iain Banks Not Dead: Official

Observatory

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Iain’s trademark black humour has been in  full force lately. I first heard that he was extremely ill some weeks ago, when he texted several friends with the news and made some cracking jokes about his mortality. I’d met him a little while back, and we went for a drink. Now the Scottish SF author has publicly admitted that he’s “officially Very Poorly” and is expected to live for just a few months, but that he’ll make his partner ‘a good widow’.

Iain, 59, announced in a statement today on his website, which crashed as thousands attempted to log on, that he had been diagnosed with late-stage gall bladder cancer, and was extremely unlikely to live for long. It’s a devastating blow for SF literature, as Iain is one of the best of my generation of writers. More proof that God doesn’t reward excellence.

Jeffrey Archer is still alive.

10 comments on “Iain Banks Not Dead: Official”

  1. Dylan Lancaster says:

    Sad news. He is a great writer. One of the best and one of my favourites.

  2. Stephen says:

    Very sad news. Both in his ‘regular’ fiction and ‘Sci-fi’ alias he has given me many hours of pleasure. I will always remember being blown away by the surreal dark, twisted brilliance of ‘The Wasp Factory’ when I was 16 (a book which I read only because of it’s title, which shows how important a title can be!). A superb author.

  3. Giles says:

    Ooh, cheap jibe. I hope Jeffrey Archer falls under a bus tomorrow just to ensure you feel some guilt.

  4. Chris Lancaster says:

    After the death of James Herbert, more sad news from
    my short list of essential authors. I also was blown away by The Wasp Factory when I first read it, and it remains a favourite of mine to this day. 59 really isn’t very old. Whenever I’ve seen him interviewed, he’s seemed to be a thoroughly nice man, very intelligent and with a great sense of humour – all of which is evident in his writing. A great shame.

    Whenever I’ve seen Jeffrey Archer interviewed, he’s seemed to be a complete arse who’s full of himself and completely lacking in humour – all of which is evident in his writing. If you want a real laugh, read The Fourth Estate, as I did one holiday when I found it in the small library of books in a holiday cottage we were staying in on Skye. Then go and read an account of the lives of Rupert Murdoch and Robert Maxwell, and their rivalry. And then play a game of Spot The Difference. It’ll make you weep, it really will.

  5. glasgow1975 says:

    Was very saddened by this news today, please get a health MOT Admin!

  6. james says:

    This is shaping up to a terrible year for the writing world. Last month we lost David B. Silva, James Herbert and Rick Hautala. And now this.

    I also remember being blown away the first time I read The Wasp Factory, without a doubt one of the best début horror novels ever written, and he followed it with Walking on Glass, which was almost as good. His non SF work became increasingly mainstream over the years, but was always hugely entertaining and much better written than 98% of the competition. A true giant of two fields.

  7. John Howard says:

    Love the last sentence. Like you, I admire his writing and together with most people here he is one of my ‘must buy’ authors. Can’t think of anything more to say that wouldn’t be unnecessary or selfish.

  8. Bob Low says:

    For me, it’s ”The Crow Road”. It’s one of the finest Scottish-or, British, for that matter-novels about the heart-breaking madness of families, and the inter-connectedness of people generally. This is turning out to be a very sad year indeed.

  9. Fiona says:

    I met Iain at the World Book night event last year. He is very funny and a lovely man to talk to. He patiently put up with me taking a picture with him. I was very sad when I read his announcement. My Science Fiction and Fantasy book group had already decided to read Consider Phlebas for our April book before the announcement. So, we’ll be discussing it with a few drinks all around I imagine.

  10. Fiona says:

    Pineapple Pub in Kentish Town on Tuesday 23 April if anyone wants to join us – around 7pm.

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