RIP Iain M. Banks

It is with a heavy heart this morning that I learn that Scottish novelist Iain Banks (aka Iain M. Banks for his Science Fiction books) has passed away due to cancer.

I was a late comer to Mr. Bank’s books, but in the short time that I have been reading his works he has quickly been elevated in my esteem as one of the most visionary and fascinating science fiction authors (I’ve not yet read his contemporary works, though I hear they’re great too).  The three books of his that I have read (“Consider Phlebas” “Excession” and “Surface Detail”) have all been amazing reads, taking an approach to science fiction that are at once familiar space opera and also totally different and new philosophical contemplation about the complexity of societies and cultures.  They are stunning and colorful reads and I look forward to diving into more of his works.

No doubt he will be missed as a visionary voice and a skilled author.

Update: Neil Gaiman has some sweet and sad words in remembrance of Mr. Banks.

Update 2: io9 has a really good list that can act as a primer for what makes Iain M. Banks’ science fictions novels (and in particular his Culture novels) so compelling, interesting, and all around just good.  When I come back to thinking about what I have loved so much in the Culture novels I’ve read, is that, in the end, they seem to me, to really be about the challenge of being good humanists and that, in trying to adhere to this ideal of humanism suffering still occurs, bad people still do bad things, and the universe is still ceaselessly complicated, but the ideal to do better is a constant drive that challenges people and groups to look beyond their own selfish ends and reach for something greater.  They’re really stunningly good books.

~ by Nathaniel on June 10, 2013.

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