Last year, I was shocked to read that Iain M. Banks announced that he had cancer and was going to die within months. I had first come across him when I picked up Consider Phlebas, and several of its sequels when my Waldenbooks shut down and liquidated its stock: his books were among the first that I grabbed and stuck in the backroom to hold while we waited for the store to close. I really enjoyed the novel, although I’ve yet to really pick up any of the others. I was fascinated by the depth and breadth of the Culture.
Banks plays a critical role in the resurgence of space opera in England, leading a number of other well-known authors such as Alastair Reynolds, Peter Hamilton, Stephen Baxter and others around the 1990s. Space opera is a type of story that’s not been well received, and Banks sort of bridges the gap between authors such as Arthur C. Clarke and C.J. Cherryh and those such as James S.A. Corey.
Go read The Culture of Iain M. Banks over on Kirkus Reviews.
In the long and storied history of the SF Signal Podcast, never had the powers-that-be deigned it safe to allow John H. Stevens, Fred Kiesche, and Jeff Patterson to appear on the same panel discussion. “It would be like crossing the streams,” they said. “Violent weather would sweep the land, and cicadas emerge from the depths!”
In this inaugural episode of The Three Hoarsemen we discuss Iain M. Banks, how our book format preferences dictate our reading (and buying) habits, and recommend some books and stories we’ve recently enjoyed.
Sad news, folks. BBC News is reporting that Iain M. Banks has died of cancer. HE was 59 years old.
Just 2 months ago, he announced he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was withdrawing from public engagements.
Banks is of course best known to fandom for his Culture series of space opera novels. He also wrote more mainstream novels as Iain Banks (without the M.). When news broke in April, fans flocked to sign his guestboook and leave their best wishes.
[via Lawrence Person]
Amazon has the cover art and synopsis of the upcoming novel The Quarry by Iain Banks, hittng bookstore shelves on June 20, 2013.
The author credit lacks the “science fictional “M.” because this isn’t science fiction, however, it is the author’s last novel and one whose themes are familiar.
Here’s the synopsis:
The sad news broke today that Iain M. Banks, author of the Culture space opera novels, has late stage gall bladder cancer. The prognosis is not good, and Ian thinks it’s “extremely unlikely I’ll live beyond a year”.
Ian goes on to state that he is withdrawing from public engagements and his latest novel, The Quarry, will be his last.
Our best wishes go out to Iain and his family.
For more info, see Ian’s personal statement
[via Fred Kiesche]
This isn’t new, but I just came across this short film called Something Real. It’s a fan film based on Iain M. Banks Culture novels.
It’s been twenty five years since the release of the first Culture novel by Iain M. Banks. Today, over at the Kirkus Reviews Blog, I take a look at the series over the past two-and-a-half decades.
Hop on over to read this new Science Fiction Series Spotlight: The Culture by Iain M. Banks
[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]
Iain M. Banks’ Consider Phlebas was published in 1987, the first book written of what would come to be known as the Culture sequence (or cycle). Released just this year, The Hydrogen Sonata marks the tenth book in the long running, award winning Space Opera series. But what makes for a good Culture novel, what is the secret to Banks’ longevity?
We asked this week’s panelists…
Q: In celebration of Iain Banks’ CULTURE series, what do you think sets this work apart from other space opera fiction? What specifically makes for a good CULTURE novel and why?
Here’s what they said…
I’m going to be honest and note that the reason that I read the Culture novels are not for the stories themselves — which are very good, mind you — but because I like wandering around the books like a tourist, gawking at all the cool shit that’s in the Culture. So I suppose what I really want is an “encyclopedia of The Culture” sort of book with pretty pictures and maps and a timeline and crap like that. Which is the exact opposite of a novel. I’m not sure if this makes me a bad reader of Culture novels or just a highly specialized one. What I do know is that I’m always looking out for the next one. So for me, what makes a good Culture novel is that Iain Banks has finished it and his publisher has offered it up for me to buy.
Upcoming4.me has posted the cover art and synopsis of the upcoming Culture novel by Iain M. Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata.
Here’s the synopsis:
It is, truly, provably, the End Days for the Gzilt civilization.
An ancient people, they helped set up the Culture ten thousand years earlier and were very nearly one of its founding societies, deciding not to join only at the last moment. Now they’ve made the collective decision to follow the well-trodden path of millions of other civilizations; they are going to Sublime, elevating themselves to a new and almost infinitely more rich and complex existence.
Amidst preparations though, the Regimental High Command is destroyed and Cossont is blamed. Wanted dead — not alive. Now, aided only by an ancient, reconditioned android and a suspicious Culture avatar, Cossont must complete her last mission given to her by the High Command — find the oldest person in the Culture, a man over nine thousand years old, who might have some idea what really happened all that time ago. Cossont must discover the truth before she’s exiled from her people and her civilization forever — or just plain killed.
The book will be available in the U.S. and U.K. in October 2012.
[via printSF @ Reddit]
…but not adapted from the story you might think…
SlashFilm reports (via ScreenDaily) that an Iain M. Banks Culture story is headed for the big screen. That story is the short fiction piece “A Gift from the Culture” in which a female member of the Culture, now re-gendered and living among humans as one of them, is asked to commit an act of terrorism to cover some gambling debts.
It’s a great story (see my review here) and while it may not be based on one of the more widely-known Culture books, I think this will play out well on the screen…not only because of the story itself, but because short fiction seems to be better suited towards a standalone film.
Maybe this will finally be the push I need to finally start diving into the Culture novels…
Times Online is reporting that the new Iain M. Banks novel, Transition, is being serialized for free on iTunes as an abridged audio book:
Iain Banks’s latest novel, Transition, is to become the first newly published book to be serialised internationally on iTunes.
Publisher Little, Brown Book Group has agreed a deal with Apple to make an abridged audio version of the novel available as a free podcast.
The first podcast will go live on September 3 when the novel is published. A further 22 episodes, each 15 minutes long, will be released on iTunes in Britain and America every Thursday and Saturday for 12 weeks.
[via Locus Online]