On the passing of Iain Banks

June 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

I ceased to be one of those people who didn’t know who Iain Banks was in December 2010. This was due to a wonderful woman who worked (and maybe still does?) at Collis-Bird and Withey Bookbinders just off Holloway Road. I met her in a state of some agitation, as many of her customers do, I think, carrying about 600 sheets of paper that she agreed to return to me in the form of two bound copies of my PhD thesis the following day. She soothed my nerves – shot from the last frenetic burst of work required to submit the thesis according to its deadline – by talking about fiction. One of us led the conversation onto science fiction/speculative fiction; when she found out I hadn’t read Iain Banks she said I must, and that once I read his work I would be hooked.

I didn’t set out to write a eulogy; I don’t have time to write a eulogy. Iain Banks did many things with his writing, he had a great many great ideas, he provoked a lot of thoughts. That shouldn’t be in the past tense; he will continue to do those things.

You can read a brief note from Iain Banks on capitalism, and an alternative to it, on the blog A Very Public Sociologist, a blog I’ve referenced a few times in my posts.

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