On This Day: Iain M. Banks

On this day in 1954, Iain Menzies Banks was born in Dunfermline, Scotland. Do we need to explain who Iain M. Banks is? No, we do not. For many years he was Britain’s bestselling SF writer, a literary novelist of distinction, named by The Times as one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945 and – as noted in a piece in The Guardian over the weekend, written by his close friend and fellow SF writer, Ken MacLeod – a poet.

If the fates had been kinder, Iain Banks would be celebrating his 61st birthday today – with a fine malt whisky, no doubt. He was taken from us far too soon, but we still have his books through which to remember him. Pick one up, read the first line and then try to put it down again – go on, just try:

This is the story of a man who went far away for a long time, just to play a game.


A little more than one hundred days into the fortieth year of her confinement, Dajeil Gelian was visited in her lonely tower overlooking the sea by an avatar of the great ship that was her home.


Near the time we both knew I would have to leave him, it was hard to tell which flashes were lightning and which came from the energy weapons of the Invisibles.

or especially

It was the day my grandmother exploded.


We bet you can’t.