Scottish novelist Iain Banks, who also wrote under the name Iain M. Banks, passed away on Sunday, a mere two months after he announced to the world of his terminal cancer.
While many are mourning Banks’ passing, there is joy in knowing that he was able to finish his final novel The Quarry (Redhook HC 9780316281867 $26), and that it will be published in the US on June 25th.
Personally, I can’t wait to read it. For me, I had never heard of Banks until sometime in the early 90’s, when a friend loaned me a bookseller’s catalog (funny to think of discovery in the pre-Internet days), and the bookseller raved about Banks’ novel Player of Games and Use of Weapons with such a fevered appreciation, I just had to check him out.
Several years ago, Macadam Cage telephoned me to ask for a pull-quote for the first American publication of Banks’ 1992 novel The Crow Road. I retrieved my battered copy of the book, began to page through it, and before I knew it, about four hours had passed by and I was half-way through re-reading it.
Of course, it’s difficult to resist a novel that opens with the line “It was the day my grandmother exploded”.
The Guardian has a very thorough obituary for Mr. Banks, and it’s well worth a look. However, I think my favorite tribute comes courtesy from writer Charles Stross, who posted the above photo on his Twitter feed (@cstross).