Two years ago today, we lost one of our best.
On 9th June, 2013, Iain Menzies Banks, one of the very few writers to successfully sustain a career in both SF and ‘literary’ fiction (and to do so without recourse to a pseudonym – because really . . .), was taken from the world far too soon; taken by an illness that the medics in his own glorious creation, the Culture, would have cured with a pill – or, better yet, a sarcastic comment and a stern look.
Iain M. Banks never won a Hugo Award. He was not even nominated for a Nebula. He won neither the Tiptree nor the Campbell Memorial Awards, and has but a single Arthur C. Clarke Award shortlisting – in 1991 for what many (your humble correspondent included) regard as the finest British SF novel of the last quarter of a century: Use of Weapons. Of the major English-language genre awards, his tally is just two BSFAs for Feersum Endjinn and Excession. And yet . . . find me a British writer of science fiction under the age of 50 who hasn’t been influenced by him.
Sadly, though the man himself is gone – along with too many others in recent years – his work remains. So, on this day, I intend to spend my evening sipping a glass of single malt whisky with an Iain Banks novel open on my knee.