Yesterday afternoon I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Iain Banks, My favourite author.
As is always the case, when one gets a bit older, your heroes start to die off, but Iain was taken off at the pointlessly young age of 59, a victim of gall bladder cancer.
Iain Banks had a great career in writing, a career that spanned Genres, finding success writing both contemporary literature and Science Fiction (ok... high end space opera might be more accurate)
It's the science Fiction for which I'll remember him most, I don't recall how long ago it was that I first picked up a copy of 'Consider Phlebas' but I can tell you I was hooked. His fantastic imagining of galaxy spanning civilisations drew me in and I waited with baited breath for each new novel thereafter. The twisting tales, the often unfortunate characters, (their misfortune delivered with some grisly zeal at times!) the Gadgets, the wonderfully quirky sentient ships! the ideas, so many ideas! All reflecting, as the very best science fiction does, an enlightened counterpoint to the human experience, and all of it making my life a better place to be along the way.
And accepting that I will never again be able to buy a new story of this glorious imagined universe really does leave me with a bloody great hole in my literary heart.
Like all great Scots, Iain apparently enjoyed a decent drop of Whisky from time to time, I intend to raise a few myself this week in his memory, and the memory of those characters, the likes of which I fear I shall never read again.
Nobody did it better... no one did it so well.
He will be, by many and by myself, greatly missed.