So Long Iain Banks, Gone Far Too Soon

Iain Banks, one of our finest contemporary writers, has died at the young age of 59 years.

“Scottish writer Iain Banks, known both for his seminal Culture series and his work in more traditional literary fiction, has died at age 59, the BBC reports. In an open letter, Banks revealed in April that he had advanced gall bladder cancer, saying he did not expect to live more than a year. His death comes less than two weeks before the planned publication of his final book, The Quarry — a date that had been moved up in hopes that he would live to see it. Soon after his announcement, he married partner Adele Hartley, who he said wryly he had asked to have “the honour of becoming my widow.”

Read the rest of his obituary at The Verge. More importantly, delve into his books. Iain recently published the finest slide/dice piece on Ayn Rand at Michael Moorcock’s New Worlds. No word yet on whether or not they will post that essay on this side of the paywall, but rest assured their nominal fee is well worth you hard-earned scratch. Here’s a quote:

“If there’s an emotion, a reaction, a feeling I identify with Randian Libertarianism, it’s petulance; an immature reaction to things not being ordered exactly as Randians think they ought to be which sometimes verges on autistic. I was, at this point, going to characterise the worst Randians as basically stuck around an emotional age of six, but, thinking about it, they’re more like five: the average six-year-old has generally started to become socialised and had a few of their rougher corners smoothed away after a year at primary school. The most tantrum-prone Randians are still at the stage of thinking that everything’s all about them, everything belongs to them (or should), and the other kids don’t count.”

Please do yourself a favor and take a look at New Worlds. And though it may seem a bit inappropriate, yes, that’s where I cross-published my interview with John Shirley.

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