Iain Banks (1954-2013)

Author Iain Banks, 59, who wrote SF as Iain M. Banks, died June 9, 2013, just two months after announcing that he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Iain Menzies Banks was born February 16, 1954 in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland. He is best known in SF circles for his brilliant Culture novels, about an anarchistic, post-scarcity, utopian society of humanoids and sophisticated AIs who meddle in the affairs of alien cultures for their own good. The series began with Consider Phlebas (1987) and continued with The Player of Games (1988), The State of the Art (1989), Arthur C. Clarke Award and British SF Award finalist Use of Weapons (1990), British SF Award winner Excession (1996), Inversions (1998), Look to Windward (2000), Matter (2008), Surface Detail (2010), and The Hydrogen Sonata (2012). His non-Culture SF novels are Against a Dark Background (1993), British SF Award winner Feersum Endjinn (1994), Hugo Award finalist The Algebraist (2004), and Campbell Memorial Award nominee Transition (2009).

He had a parallel career as a cutting-edge literary novelist under the byline Iain Banks, and was a critically acclaimed bestseller for those works, especially in his native Scotland and in Britain. He began publishing with classic The Wasp Factory (1984), which has elements of surreal horror. Walking on Glass (1985), The Bridge (1986), and A Song of Stone (1997) all have SF or fantasy elements, and Canal (1997) was set in the (very near) future of the year 2000.

On April 3, 2013, Banks announced that he had received a terminal diagnosis of gall bladder cancer and did not expect to survive more than a year. He is survived by his second wife, Adele Hartley, married soon after his terminal diagnosis.

For more, see his entry in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. See the July issue of Locus for a complete obituary.