A Sad Day for Book Lovers…

If you are a fan of speculative fiction, if you enjoy science fiction or if you are simply in awe of great storytelling with purpose –  you will be as shattered by this news as I was. Iain Banks is leaving us. He reveals the details in a personal letter to his fans around the world and even though he does so with grace and humor, it still cannot change the sad fact that there will be no more stories from this extraordinary literary mind. the wasp factory 

If you have never read his work before I would strongly recommend starting with The Wasp Factory. Even though this novel was published almost 30 years ago it is just as thought provoking and inventive now as it was back than. Be prepared to be frightened and disturbed, yes it is a rather confronting novel, but also in some strange way you most certainly will be deeply moved. The first tributes are already pouring out from the likes of Val McDermid : “we should take Iain Banks’s work seriously because it enlightens us as well as lightening the load. I can’t help raging against the dying of this light. The only good thing about knowing it’s coming is that we can all make bloody sure the man knows how much he means to us;” Paul Krugman, Banks is dealing with his tragedy with awesome good humor — I find myself reminded of the last days of another great Scotsman, David Hume. But what a loss for the rest of us.” and Stephen Fry “So devastated by the sad sad news about Iain Banks – he and Iain M. Banks, his sci-fi alter ego, two of my favorite living writers.”. The author’s website is already experiencing difficulties with coping with traffic, so we attach the complete text of  Iain Banks’s letter right here.

Share your comments and memories of reading Iain Banks books with us and inspire others to discover the legacy that this amazing writer is going to leave with us. Wednesday 3rd April, 2013

A personal statement from Iain Banks: I am officially Very Poorly. After a couple of surgical procedures, I am gradually recovering from jaundice caused by a blocked bile duct, but that – it turns out – is the least of my problems. I first thought something might be wrong when I developed a sore back in late January, but put this down to the fact I’d started writing at the beginning of the month and so was crouched over a keyboard all day.  When it hadn’t gone away by mid-February, I went to my GP, who spotted that I had jaundice.  Blood tests, an ultrasound scan and then a CT scan revealed the full extent of the grisly truth by the start of March. I have cancer.  It started in my gall bladder, has infected both lobes of my liver and probably also my pancreas and some lymph nodes, plus one tumour is massed around a group of major blood vessels in the same volume, effectively ruling out any chance of surgery to remove the tumours either in the short or long term. 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. As a result, I’ve withdrawn from all planned public engagements and I’ve asked my partner Adele if she will do me the honour of becoming my widow (sorry – but we find ghoulish humour helps).  By the time this goes out we’ll be married and on a short honeymoon.  We intend to spend however much quality time I have left seeing friends and relations and visiting places that have meant a lot to us.  Meanwhile my heroic publishers are doing all they can to bring the publication date of my new novel forward by as much as four months, to give me a better chance of being around when it hits the shelves. There is a possibility that it might be worth undergoing a course of chemotherapy to extend the amount of time available.  However that is still something we’re balancing the pros and cons of, and anyway it is out of the question until my jaundice has further and significantly, reduced. Lastly, I’d like to add that from my GP onwards, the professionalism of the medics involved – and the speed with which the resources of the NHS in Scotland have been deployed – has been exemplary, and the standard of care deeply impressive.   We’re all just sorry the outcome hasn’t been more cheerful. A website is being set up where friends, family and fans can leave messages for me and check on my progress.  It should be up and running during this week and a link to it will be on my official website at as soon as it’s ready. Iain Banks