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Read any Iain M. Banks Novels? [sad prognosis for author] [RIP, June 2013]] [Archive] - DVD Talk Forum
 
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View Full Version : Read any Iain M. Banks Novels? [sad prognosis for author] [RIP, June 2013]]


Cancer Man
06-13-06, 02:58 PM
Has anyone here heard about the Culture novels penned by Iain M. Banks? I have read through Consider Phlebas and I have already got round to buying the next Culture story, The Player of Games. I personnally think Consider Phlebas is a well written and imaginative story. The book is a lot more darker and violent than I anticipated, plus the characters are well realised with Horza being one of the more intriguing and conflicted anti-heroes in sci-fi.

The basic story is this: the Milky Way is plunged in a major interstella war between the warrior Idians and the Culture, with casualties running into the hundreds of billions. Employed by the Idians, Horza is entrusted in a mission to recover a highly important Culture AI system; a Mind. Along the way Horza runs into the weird, the dangerous, the zany and the cruel. And he starts to think of others and not himself, while he starts to doubt his mission. Whatever the case, Consider Phlebas is an excellent story and is an excellent introduction to the Culture-verse.

I am also in the middle of reading a Stephen Baxter book, Exultant, where the tyrannical Coalition of Free Humanity presses on with it's ruthless advance on the untouchable, remote Xeelee.

brainee
06-16-06, 03:56 PM
Hmmm, either there's not much interest in the book forum at DVDTalk or no fans of Iain Banks. Several years ago "Consider Phlebas" was my first exposure to Banks, and I loved it. I like literate space opera, and it's hard finding books with just the right mix: combining strong characters, good story, intelligent writing, intriguing science, and do it in an entertaining readable manner. CP got me interested in tracking down more books by Banks, and that lead me on a varied, interesting, and sometimes frustrating reading expedition.

Evidentally, when he includes the "M" in his name that tells you its a sci-fi story, with the other books in a variety of literary styles. I think I've read most of his other sci-fi (and Culture) books, and have enjoyed them all to varying degrees. They can be a bit of work, and Banks will sometimes play games with unusual story structures and writing styles. When it doesn't work, his books can make you want to give up before finishing. But when it works the payoff is big, and they really stand out from other sci-fi. The non-SF is a real mixed bag. Of what I've read it can be black-comedy/horror ("Wasp Factory"), thrillers ("Complicity"), melodrama ("Crow Road", "Espedair Street"), surrealistic fantasy ("The Bridge", "Walking on Glass"), war ("A Song of Stone"). I'm a bit behind these Banks books -- they're sometimes a bit tougher to find than the SF stuff.

spainlinx0
06-17-06, 04:55 PM
I read the Wasp Factory, and Complicity. I enjoyed them both, and I wouldn't mind checking out some of his other books. I dig sci-fi so maybe I'll check out the book you mentioned.

Amberite
06-18-06, 08:18 AM
Hope you found more Iain Bank's books and enjoyed them.

I used to think he was the greatest writer around but his writing has declined steadily since his masterpiece: The Crow Road.

If you like SF, then his "Use Of Weapons", another Culture novel is superb. Has one of the most breathtaking twists I've ever read in any book.

Cheers

PalmerJoss
06-20-06, 02:23 PM
I haven't read any of his books, but I've heard good things about The Algebraist. I'm waiting for the paperback to come out before I read it, though.

Cancer Man
06-26-06, 09:25 AM
I am now already onto The Player of Games; it's very well written with interesting and likable characters, despite the seemingly unlimited technology and power of the Culture. The Culture is like the United Federation of Planets on illegal steroids.

Deke Rivers
10-02-07, 12:04 PM
just heard about his stuff recently..looks like a lot of his work is out of print though..15 bucks was cheapest i could find a used mass market paperback of Consider Phlebas ..thats nuts..ill have to check my local library

mgbfan
10-10-07, 01:14 AM
I read Excession and was underwhelmed.

Cathepsin
10-10-07, 06:06 AM
Banks' books are readily available from Amazon.co.uk. The shipping costs to the US are pretty high; one of his books will run you about $26, but you can bring the cost down a tiny bit by ordering more than one book. When I ordered mine, these were TPBs, not MMPBs, so it makes the price a bit easier to swallow. The British editions sometimes pop up with used sellers on Amazon.com, too.

Michael Corvin
02-11-09, 11:51 AM
So I was browsing the book store yesterday and happened upon a shelf full of Iain M. Banks novels. I'm not familiar with him at all, one of the covers just caught my eye. I read the synopsis for a few and they all sounded pretty solid. It did appear though that he has an ongoing series about the Culture that sounded pretty cool, so where should I start?

Deke Rivers
02-11-09, 01:56 PM
tracked down a cheap used copy of Consider Phlebas after hearing good things..it was ok but i didnt enjoy it enough to follow up with any of his other books

Lastyear
02-12-09, 12:13 PM
So I was browsing the book store yesterday and happened upon a shelf full of Iain M. Banks novels. I'm not familiar with him at all, one of the covers just caught my eye. I read the synopsis for a few and they all sounded pretty solid. It did appear though that he has an ongoing series about the Culture that sounded pretty cool, so where should I start?

Start with the first-Consider Phlebus. They do not have the same characters from book to book so reading in order is not as important as some series.

Michael Corvin
02-12-09, 01:09 PM
Thanks guys.

dino88
03-31-09, 03:21 AM
I haven't read any of his books "M." moniker, but I'm a big fan of his other work. I've read The Wasp Factory, A Song of Stone, The Crow Road and Complicity. It's been awhile but A Song of Stone has stuck with me the most. I read this before I saw the film 28 Days Later and the second half of the movie was very similar to the book. I'm wondering if Alex Garland got the idea from Banks' book. I could be totally off the mark as it has been a long time since reading SOS, but did anyone else see the similarities?

benedict
04-03-13, 05:25 PM
Currently I own maybe ten of his works split almost equally I think between the SF side and his more slipstream writings.

Sad news I've just seen today on the BBC website:Author Iain Banks has revealed that he has late stage cancer and is unlikely to live for more than a year.

The Scottish writer posted a message on his official website saying his next novel The Quarry, due to be published later this year, would be his last.

The 59-year-old's novels include The Wasp Factory, The Crow Road, Complicity and the Culture series.

The statement said his health problems came to light when he saw his doctor, suffering from a sore back.

He was diagnosed with jaundice, before further tests established the full extent of his illness.

In the personal statement on his website, Banks said he had asked his partner Adele to marry him and was now on a short honeymoon.

Fellow Scottish author, Ian Rankin, said the news of Banks' terminal cancer was "just awful".

He Tweeted: "Typical of Iain to propose marriage to his partner Adele with the words 'Will you do me the honour of becoming my widow?"

Banks, who lives in North Queensferry, Fife, said he had cancelled all future public engagements.

He said: "The bottom line now, I'm afraid, is that as a late-stage gall bladder cancer patient, I'm expected to live for 'several months' and it's extremely unlikely I'll live beyond a year.

"So it looks like my latest novel, The Quarry, will be my last."

He said the disease had spread to both lobes of his liver, and possibly his pancreas and lymph nodes.

The author said there was little chance of surgeons being able to remove the tumours because of how far they had spread.

He has asked his publishers to bring forward the publication of his new book to "give me a better chance of being around when it hits the shelves."

Banks also praised NHS staff who have looked after him - and said he may undergo chemotherapy to extend his life when his jaundice clears up.

He said: "We're all just sorry the outcome hasn't been more cheerful."

Born in Fife, Banks studied at Stirling University before publishing his first novel, The Wasp Factory, in 1984.

He has alternated between mainstream and science fiction novels, which he wrote under the name Iain M Banks.

In 2008, he was named one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945 in a list compiled by The Times.

He has alternated between mainstream and science fiction novels, which he wrote under the name Iain M Banks.

In 2008, he was named one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945 in a list compiled by The Times.I will be looking into more of his fiction this year by way of celebrating his life.

There's a fanzine here: http://efanzines.com/Banksoniain/Banksoniain19.pdf

brainee
04-03-13, 05:33 PM
Damn :( Between this and the Roger Ebert thread, I'm afraid to open up bumped threads with someone I like in the title.

movieking
06-09-13, 11:29 AM
Sadly, he has now passed away:

Iain Banks dies of cancer aged 59

Author Iain Banks has died aged 59, two months after announcing he had terminal cancer, his family has said.

The Scottish writer revealed in April he was suffering from terminal gall bladder cancer and was unlikely to live for more than a year.

He was best known for his novels The Wasp Factory, The Crow Road and Complicity.

In a statement, his publisher said he was "an irreplaceable part of the literary world".

Geofferson
06-09-13, 11:39 AM
:rip:

benedict
06-09-13, 11:57 AM
I really hoped that he would kick its arse for well over the announced 12 months - 10% are said to survive for five years from stage 3/4 - but it looks like it was not to be :(

Full BBC article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22835047

At my current rate I will be reading his works for years to come but it is always particularly sad when someone goes "before their time".

Here are a couple of newspaper articles from happier times...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/3605692/A-writers-life-Iain-Banks.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/my-perfect-weekend/4523839/My-Perfect-Weekend-Iain-Banks.html

And another reader's appreciation, written soon after they heard of the diagnosis: http://lazerguidedmelody.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/iain-banks-an-appreciation/

benedict
06-10-13, 02:40 AM
In his own words: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-22780003

http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/68026000/jpg/_68026120_quarry.jpg

"The narrator is an 18-year-old boy who's on one or two different spectra, possibly Asperger's being one of them. But in a sense, the main character's his dad, who's dying of cancer.

"But I was 87,000 words into the book before I discovered the bad news. I had no inkling. So it wasn't as though this is a response to the disease or anything, the book had been kind of ready to go. And then 10,000 words from the end, as it turned out, I suddenly discovered that I had cancer.

"I've really got to stop doing my research too late. This is such a bad idea."

http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/68023000/jpg/_68023946_iainbanksmusic.jpg"I'm thinking the solace is going to come because I write music. I've pretentions towards being a composer. And that's what I intend to spend most of my creative energies on in the next couple of months or however long I've got, writing music and trying to get it to some level of presentability so that should be, you know, accessible."

"I can only really do one at a time. So now that that's it, basically, with the writing, I can devote myself more to this. And even if no one ever hears it or no-one ever enjoys it, it'll be fun for me. It will be genuinely therapeutic. I just have such a hoot with this."

<small>Iain Banks: Raw Spirit will be broadcast on BBC2 Scotland on Wednesday 12 June at 21:00, and for a week afterwards on the BBC iPlayer.