It’s a sad day for British writing and science fiction. Author Ian Banks, perhaps best well known for his Culture series, passed away peacefully this morning, two months after announcing he had terminal cancer. He will be missed.
To be honest, prior to coming to the UK five years ago I hadn’t heard of Ian Banks. Admittedly, my sci-fi reading was generally limited to North Americans, with a few of the classic British authors like Arthur C. Clarke. And generally being a sci-fi loner meant not having someone else to introduce me to new things.
So, I really discovered Ian Banks through attending UK science fiction literature conventions like Eastercon and Novacon, where he was a regular and, indeed, a fairly regular guest of honour. Anyone who knows him, or has heard him speak knows what an entertaining guest he was, and the room was always filled to capacity when he spoke.
Of course, I now know what a respected author he was as well. Although I never got deep into the culture series, I have read a few of the books and very much enjoyed the imagination and the easy flowing style that one would expect from such a well-respected author (one of a very few to manage sci-fi and main stream writing careers).
I was very saddened to learn, a few months ago, that he had terminal cancer, and sadder still to learn today that Ian Banks, one of the greats, has passed on. His charm and imagination will be sorely missed.