The ship didn’t even have a name.
This, believe it or not, is the first line in the first science fiction novel that Iain M. Banks published, Consider Phlebas. It’s too soon for retrospectives – the wound is too fresh – but I suspect Iain would have appreciated the irony of beginning an SF career that brought new wit and invention to the naming of starships with such a line.
No doubt many words of appreciation will be written over the coming days and weeks, many books re-read and many glasses of whisky raised to his memory. For my part, I think I’ll look not to the past but to the future. Rather than thinking of Iain as ‘gone’, I prefer to think of him as ‘away’ – away on a journey without end, travelling the length and breadth of the Culture, collecting new tales and charming all he meets; standing, no doubt, on the bridge of the GCU Dramatic Exit, Or, Thank you And Goodnight.
No, thank you, Iain.
R.I.P. Iain Banks, taken from us too soon with too much still to say. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.