I don’t have a ton to say about this, other than I’m incredibly sad. Iain Banks has been one of my favorite authors for some time, and his Culture series remains one the of the long-form hard scifi series ever written. His world-building abilities are among the most inventive and creative that I’ve ever encountered. And science fiction isn’t even what he’s particularly well known for writing (his “mainstream” fiction is also very good, but I’m a nerd dammit!) I also had tremendous respect for his support of secularism and humanism, and ability to present his atheist views without coming off as arrogant or superior.
I first heard that Iain had terminal cancer back in April, and I was incredibly moved by how eloquent and well…Iain-like he was even when sharing news like this his fans (and the world). I think a lot of us were encouraged by progress he seemed to be making, and were hoping he was going to hold on for just a bit longer. His last few notes to fans were touching and personal, and it was moving to hear him share his last months so candidly.
I am both excited and so very disappointed to be reading the final book in the Culture series in just a few weeks. I’m also very saddened that I’ll never have the opportunity to shake his hand. Iain M Banks is truly among the most talented writers of the 20th century, and the literary and scifi worlds are a little less rich with his passsing.