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  1.  (11092.1)
    Well damn. This was already linked elsewhere, but I think this deserves a thread of its own.

    Iain Banks dies of cancer aged 59

    Banks was a huge inspiration for me, the Culture series was massively thought provoking, and for me Use of Weapons was one of the most brilliantly constructed sci-fi novels I've ever read.

    I've never had a death of someone I don't personally know be a gut punch like this.
  2.  (11092.2)
    “Two years after I killed Blyth I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different and more fundamental reasons than I'd disposed of Blyth, and then a year after that I did for my young cousin Esmerelda, more or less on a whim.

    That's my score to date. Three. I haven't killed anybody for years, and don't intend to ever again.
    It was just a stage I was going through.”

    The quote above was used in the blurb of Wasp Factory, which I borrowed off my Dad when I was about 14. I'd never read anything like it. Dark, funny in places, sickening in others. He's had a huge impact on me as a writer. A real loss
    • CommentAuthorPow
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2013
  3.  (11092.4)
    Fuck. Horrible news, I'd loved his work since the Wasp Factory, and seriously loved all the Culture stuff too. We'll miss him, enormously.
  4.  (11092.5)
    Even knowing it was coming, it has still made me very, very sad.

    Neil Gaiman's thoughts.
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2013
    A great influence on me, in a few ways. Some of my favourite parts of his writing were where he let the playful, childlike, side of himself shine through. I always imagined him writing the story about the magmites in The Crow Road or the lava rafting sequence in Look to Windward with a big broad smile on his face. A sad loss.
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2013
    Hit me pretty hard too. Not sure I could say that about many people I've never met. I'm glad he at least went knowing how important his work is to an extremely large number of people.
      CommentAuthorCat Vincent
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2013 edited
    I met Banksy a few times, mostly in the late 80s/early 90s at various conventions. Always a complete gent; gave time to chat, stood his round.

    I was at the con Neil mentions, the '87 Worldcon - and, for the record, Iain didn't actually climb up the side of the hotel... he just jumped across from one balcony to another to get to a room party. Admittedly, this was seven floors up. Needless to say, by the time the story hit the con floor next morning, he'd been doing the full Spider-man up the front of the hotel. If he had, it would have surprised no-one.

    His was a rare talent, rarer still that it was possessed by a genuinely good and (from accounts of his close friends) kind person. And for all the mainstream press trying to push his SF work to one side, he was always an unrepentant fan, and proud of his science fiction.

    Charlie Stross's piece on his passing, headed by one of his greatest lines;
    "Fuck every cause that ends in murder and children crying"
  5.  (11092.9)
    I heard about this on the radio this morning. Felt like a cannonball dropped out of my gut. Saw him a few times when I worked at the prince's street waterstones, but never said anything because it was Iain M Fucking Banks.

    Dammit. I'm off to have some whisky and read something
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeJun 9th 2013
    Well, crap.

    I wish he had a few more months, not because we might have gotten another book out of him, but because he deserved some time to enjoy a few more months with his wife.

    Jack Vance dying at 96 wasn't a tragedy. That's longer than most people live, and he'd written and done so much.

    Iain Banks, dying at 59? That's tragic.

    Fuck cancer.
  6.  (11092.11)
    Yep, Stephan. Fuck cancer.

    RIP Iain Banks.

    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2013
    I wish he had a few more months

    Yeah - that's what hit me...

    The cancer announcement seems like it was just a couple of weeks ago - then
    • CommentTimeJun 10th 2013
    So gutted. The man was a huge inspiration not just for his work, but his work ethic.

    Here's a moving piece a friend of Banks write for the paper I work at, a few weeks after his announcement.
  7.  (11092.14)
  8.  (11092.15)
    I've heard of Banks' Culture novels, but have never read any of them. In memory of the man, what would be a good jumping on point?
  9.  (11092.16)
    There's only a few direct links between books, other than the shared universe, but Consider Phlebas or Use of Weapons are both good early Culture books. Bibliography here
  10.  (11092.17)
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeJun 11th 2013
    I'll second Player of Games. That was great.

    Consider Phlebas is very good, but a bit grim; some folks I know were turned off by it. Use of Weapons is intricately structured and unforgettable, but grim and with a really horrific twist . . . well, I'm not sure if you can call it an ending.

    I liked Look to Windward, but it was a bit padded. I didn't like Excession.
  11.  (11092.19)
    I third Player of Games. And right after that Use of Weapons.
  12.  (11092.20)
    His only post-diagnosis interview is up on the iplayer for a week