Iain Banks (16 February 1954 - 9 June 2013) was a Scottish author. He wrote mainstream fiction under the name Iain Banks, and science fiction as Iain M. Banks, including the initial of his adopted middle name Menzies (/ˈmɪŋɨz/ or "MING-iz").
Following the publication and success of The Wasp Factory (1984), Banks began to write on a full-time basis. His first science fiction book, Consider Phlebas, was released in 1987, marking the start of the popular The Culture series. His books have been adapted for theatre, radio and television. In 2008, The Times named Banks in their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". In April 2013, Banks announced that he had inoperable cancer and was unlikely to live beyond a year. He died on 9 June 2013.
1.1 Writing career,
1.2 Radio and television,
3 Personal life
3.1 Illness and death,
4 Awards and nominations,
5.1 Fiction as Iain Banks,
5.2 Science fiction as Iain M. Banks
126.96.36.199 The Culture series,
188.8.131.52 Other novels,
5.2.2 Short fiction collections,
7 External links,
Banks decided to become a writer at the age of 11 and completed his first novel The Hungarian Lift-Jet at 16.
Following the publication and success of The Wasp Factory (1984), Banks began to write full-time. His editor at Macmillan, James Hale, advised him to write one book a year and Banks agreed to this schedule.
Banks's first literary book The Wasp Factory was published in 1984 when he was 30, and his first science fiction book Consider Phlebas was released in 1987. The Crow Road (1992) was adapted as a BBC television series and Espedair Street (1987) was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Banks cited Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Brian Aldiss, M. John Harrison and Dan Simmons as literary influences.
Banks published work under two names. His parents had intended to name him "Iain Menzies Banks", but his father made a mistake when registering the birth and "Iain Banks" became the officially registered name. Despite this error, Banks continued to use his middle name and submitted The Wasp Factory for publication as "Iain M. Banks". Banks' editor enquired about the possibility of omitting the 'M' as it appeared "too fussy" and the potential existed for confusion with Rosie M. Banks, a romantic novelist in the Jeeves novels by P.G. Wodehouse; Banks agreed to the omission. Following three mainstream novels, Banks's publishers agreed to publish his first science fiction (SF) novel Consider Phlebas. To create a distinction between the mainstream and SF novels, Banks suggested the return of the 'M' to his name and the author's second title was consequently confirmed.
By his death in June 2013 Banks had published 26 novels. His twenty-seventh novel The Quarry was published posthumously.
Radio and television:
Banks was the subject of The Strange Worlds of Iain Banks South Bank Show (1997), a television documentary that examined his mainstream writing, and was also an in-studio guest for the final episode of Marc Riley's Rocket Science radio show, broadcast on BBC Radio 6 Music. A radio adaptation of Banks's The State of the Art was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2009; the adaptation was written by Paul Cornell and the production was directed/produced by Nadia Molinari. In 1998 Espedair Street was dramatised as a serial for Radio 4, presented by Paul Gambaccini in the style of a Radio 1 documentary.
In 2011 Banks was featured on the BBC Radio 4 programme Saturday Live. Banks reaffirmed his atheism during his Saturday Live appearance, whereby he explained that death is an important "part of the totality of life" and should be treated realistically, instead of feared.
Banks appeared on the BBC television programme Question Time, a show that features political discussion. In 2006 Banks captained a team of writers to victory in a special series of BBC Two's University Challenge. Banks also won a 2006 edition of BBC One's Celebrity Mastermind; the author selected "Malt whisky and the distilleries of Scotland" as his specialist subject.
His final interview with Kirsty Wark was broadcast as Iain Banks: Raw Spirit on BBC2 Scotland on Wednesday 12 June 2013.
Banks was involved in the theatre production The Curse Of Iain Banks that was written by Maxton Walker and was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe festival in 1999. Banks wrote the music for some of the songs that were featured in the production and collaborated with the play's soundtrack composer Gary Lloyd, who also composed the score for a musical production of the Banks novel The Bridge. Lloyd explained his collaboration with Banks in a Guardian article prior to the opening of the The Curse of Iain Banks:
When he Banks first played them to me, I think he was worried that they might not be up to scratch (some of them dated back to 1973 and had never been heard). He needn't have worried. They're fantastic. We're slaving away to get the songs to the stage where we can go into the studio and make a demo. Iain bashes out melodies on his state-of-the-art Apple Mac in Edinburgh and sends them down to me in Chester where I put them onto my Atari.
Banks political position has been described as "left of centre" and, as a signatory to the Declaration of Calton Hill, he was an open supporter of Scottish independence. Banks was an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and a Distinguished Supporter of the Humanist Society of Scotland.
In late 2004, Banks was a member of a group of British politicians and media figures who campaigned to have Prime Minister Tony Blair impeached following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In protest he cut up his passport and posted it to 10 Downing Street, the address of the British prime minister--in a Socialist Review interview, Banks explained that his passport protest occurred after he "abandoned the idea of crashing my Land Rover through the gates of Fife dockyard, after spotting the guys armed with machine guns." Banks relayed his concerns about the invasion of Iraq in his book Raw Spirit, and the principal protagonist (Alban McGill) in the novel The Steep Approach to Garbadale confronts another character with arguments of a similar nature.
In 2010 Banks called for a cultural and educational boycott of Israel following the Gaza flotilla raid incident. In a letter to the Guardian newspaper, Banks stated that he had instructed his agent to turn down any further book translation deals with Israeli publishers:
Appeals to reason, international law, U.N. resolutions and simple human decency mean--it is now obvious--nothing to Israel... I would urge all writers, artists and others in the creative arts, as well as those academics engaging in joint educational projects with Israeli institutions, to consider doing everything they can to convince Israel of its moral degradation and ethical isolation, preferably by simply having nothing more to do with this outlaw state.
An extract from Banks's contribution to the written collection Generation Palestine: Voices from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, entitled "Our People", was published in the Guardian in the wake of the author's cancer revelation. The extract relays the author's support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign that was issued by a Palestinian civil society against Israel until Israel complies with international law and Palestinian rights, that commenced in 2005 and applies the lessons from Banks's experience with South Africa's apartheid era. The continuation of Banks's boycott of Israeli publishers for the sale of the rights to his novels was also confirmed in the extract and Banks further explained "I don't buy Israeli-sourced products or food, and my partner and I try to support Palestinian-sourced products wherever possible."
Banks was born in Dunfermline, Fife, to a mother who was a professional ice skater and a father who was an officer in the Admiralty. An only child, Banks lived in North Queensferry until the age of nine, near the naval dockyards in Rosyth where his father was based. Banks's family then moved to Gourock due to the requirements of his father's work. After attending Gourock and Greenock High Schools, Banks studied English, philosophy and psychology at the University of Stirling (1972-1975). He wrote his second novel TTR during his first year at university.
Following graduation Banks chose a succession of jobs that left him free to write in the evenings. These posts supported his writing throughout his twenties and allowed him to take long breaks between contracts, during which time he travelled through Europe, Scandinavia and North America. He was an expediter analyser for IBM, a technician (for British Steel) and a costing clerk for a Chancery Lane, London law firm during this period of his life.
Banks met his first wife, Annie, in London before the 1984 release of his first book. The couple lived in the south of England, then split up in 1988. Banks returned to Edinburgh. The couple later resumed their relationship and moved to Fife. They got married in Hawaii in 1992. In 2007, after 15 years of marriage, they announced their separation.
In 1998 Banks had been in a near-fatal accident when his car rolled off the road. In February 2007, Banks sold his extensive car collection, including a 3.2 litre Porsche Boxster, a Porsche 911 Turbo, a 3.8 litre Jaguar Mark II, a 5 litre BMW M5 and a daily use diesel Land Rover Defender whose power he had boosted by about 50%. Banks exchanged all of the vehicles for a Lexus RX 400h hybrid - since replaced by a diesel Toyota Yaris - and said in the future he would fly only in emergencies.
Banks lived in North Queensferry, on the north side of the Firth of Forth, with the author and founder of the Dead by Dawn film festival Adele Hartley. Banks and Hartley commenced their relationship in 2006, and married on 29 March 2013 after he asked her to "do me the honour of becoming my widow".
Illness and death:
On 3 April 2013, Banks announced on his website that he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the gallbladder and was unlikely to live beyond a year. In his announcement, Banks stated that he would be withdrawing from all public engagements and that The Quarry would be his last novel. The dates of publication of The Quarry were brought forward at Banks's request, to 20 June 2013 in the UK and 25 June 2013 in the US. Banks died on 9 June 2013.
Banks's publisher stated that the author was "an irreplaceable part of the literary world", a sentiment that was reaffirmed by fellow Scottish author and friend since secondary school Ken MacLeod, who observed that Banks's death "left a large gap in the Scottish literary scene as well as the wider English-speaking world." British author Charles Stross wrote that "One of the giants of 20th and 21st century Scottish literature has left the building." Authors, including Neil Gaiman, Ian Rankin, Alastair Reynolds, and David Brin also paid tribute to Banks, in their blogs and elsewhere.
The asteroid (5099) Iainbanks was named after him shortly after his death.
Awards and nominations:
Iain Banks received the following literary awards and nominations:
1988 - British Science Fiction Association Award for The Player of Games (nomination),
1990 - British Science Fiction Association Award for Use of Weapons (nomination),
1991 - Arthur C. Clarke Award for Use of Weapons (nomination),
1991 - Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis for Foreign Novel The Bridge (winner),
1992 - Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis for Foreign Novel The Wasp Factory (winner),
1993 - Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis for Foreign Novel Use of Weapons (winner),
1994 - British Science Fiction Association Award for Feersum Endjinn (winner),
1994 - Locus Poll Award for Against a Dark Background (nomination),
1996 - British Science Fiction Association Award for Excession (winner),
1997 - University of St Andrews honorary degree,
1997 - University of Stirling honorary doctorate,
1997 - British Fantasy Award for Excession (nomination),
1998 - British Science Fiction Award for Inversions (nomination),
1998 - Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis for Foreign Novel Excession (winner),
2001 - Locus Poll Award for Look to Windward (nomination),
2004 - Premio Italia Science Fiction Award in the Best International Novel category for Inversions (winner),
2005 - Hugo Award for The Algebraist (nomination),
2005 - Locus Poll Award for The Algebraist (nomination),
2009 - Locus Poll Award for Matter (second place),
2009 - Prometheus Award for Matter (nomination),
2010 - Open University honorary doctorate,
2010 - John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Transition (finalist),
2010 - Locus Poll Award for Transition (nomination),
2011 - Locus Poll Award for Surface Detail (nomination),
2013 - Honorary Fellow of the Association for Scottish Literary Studies,
Main article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iain_Banks_bibliography
Fiction as Iain Banks:
1984 - The Wasp Factory ISBN 0-333-36380-9,
1985 - Walking on Glass ISBN 0-349-10178-7,
1986 - The Bridge ISBN 0-06-105358-9,
1987 - Espedair Street ISBN 0-333-44916-9 - adapted for BBC radio in 1998 (directed by Dave Batchelor).,
1989 - Canal Dreams ISBN 0-333-51768-7,
1992 - The Crow Road ISBN 0-349-10323-2 - adapted for BBC TV in 1996 (directed by Gavin Millar).,
1993 - Complicity ISBN 0-349-10571-5 - filmed in 2000 (directed by Gavin Millar), retitled Retribution for its US DVD/video release.,
1995 - Whit ISBN 0-349-10768-8,
1997 - A Song of Stone ISBN 0-349-11011-5,
1999 - The Business ISBN 0-316-64844-2,
2002 - Dead Air ISBN 0-316-86055-7,
2007 - The Steep Approach to Garbadale ISBN 0-316-73105-6,
2009 - Transition ISBN 0-316-73107-2 - published in the U.S.A. as Iain M. Banks,
2012 - Stonemouth ISBN 1408702509,
2013 - The Quarry ISBN 0-316-28186-7,
Science fiction as Iain M. Banks:
The Culture series:
1987 - Consider Phlebas ISBN 0-333-45430-8,
1988 - The Player of Games ISBN 0-333-47110-5,
1990 - Use of Weapons ISBN 0-356-19160-5,
1996 - Excession ISBN 1-85723-394-8,
1998 - Inversions ISBN 1-85723-763-3,
2000 - Look to Windward ISBN 1-85723-981-4,
2008 - Matter ISBN 978-1-84149-417-3,
2010 - Surface Detail ISBN 978-0-316-12340-2,
2012 - The Hydrogen Sonata ISBN 978-0356501505,
1993 - Against a Dark Background ISBN 1-85723-179-1,
1994 - Feersum Endjinn ISBN 1-85723-235-6,
2004 - The Algebraist ISBN 1-84149-155-1,
Short fiction collections:
The State of the Art (1991) ISBN 0-929480-06-6
Includes three short works set in the Culture universe. It also includes works of fiction more characteristic of Banks's writing published as Iain Banks.,
The Spheres (Birmingham Science Fiction Group, 2010)
Includes 'The Spheres', excised from the original draft of Transition; and 'The Secret Courtyard', excised from Matter. Limited edition of 500, to mark Novacon 40.,
Raw Spirit (2003) ISBN 1-84413-195-5 -- a travelogue of Scotland and its whisky distilleries,
Banks wrote introductions for works by other writers including:
Viriconium (1988) by M. John Harrison, the Unwin edition, ISBN 0-04-440245-7.,
The Adventures of Luther Arkwright: Book 3, Götterdämmerung (1989) by Bryan Talbot from Proutt Publishing, ISBN 0-907865-03-8.,
The Orbit Science Fiction Yearbook Three (1990) edited by David S. Garnett, ISBN 0-07-088833-7.,
The Human Front (2001) by Ken MacLeod, the PS Publishing edition, ISBN 1-902880-30-7 (hbk) and ISBN 1-902880-31-5 (pbk).