1318711350It is with very heavy heart that I must pass along the news that one of my favorite authors, Iain Banks, has announced he has terminal cancer. Banks has described his situation in very frank, open terms here, and there have been several major news articles about Banks and his announcement (here and here). I don’t agree with his politics, but I’ve always loved his work. I wish him the very best in the days to come.

I’ve been reading Banks’ work since the late 1990s, and he’s an unusual fellow: he writes both mainstream fiction (as Iain Banks) and SF (as Iain M. Banks). I’ve never been disappointed in anything of his in either category and recommend you check out his work. I haven’t blogged much about Banks over the years — and never reviewed any of his stuff — but I did mention when I acquired a book signed by Banks (a treasured possession), a relatively recent interview with him, and I mentioned him in my very first blog post where I listed my favorite authors. If you have not yet read of Banks’ work, I highly recommend him. His prose can be dense at times, but reading Banks is always a rewarding experience.

To make this a more useful post, what follows is a bibliography of Banks’ fiction. I especially recommend his Culture series, which first showed me what a post-Singularity, post-scarcity transhumanist society might look like. For the Culture books, I suggest starting with CONSIDER PHLEBAS. I reread that again last year and enjoyed it as much as I had the previous times I’d read it. For his more “mainstream” fiction, I’d suggest starting with his very first book, THE WASP FACTORY.

dbd53043b6024ea59384c555367444341587343Mainstream Fiction by Iain Banks
The Wasp Factory (1984)
Walking on Glass (1985)
The Bridge (1986)
Espedair Street (1987)
Canal Dreams (1989)
The Crow Road (1992)
Complicity (1993)
Whit (1995)
A Song of Stone (1997)
The Business (1999)
Dead Air (2002)
The Steep Approach to Garbadale (2007)
Transition (2009)
Stonemouth (2012)
The Quarry (to be Banks’ last book; forthcoming 2013)

9892b7184bf5b80593945685651444341587343The Culture series by Iain M. Banks
Consider Phlebas (1987)
The Player of Games (1988)
Use of Weapons (1990)
Excession (1996)
Inversions (1998)
Look to Windward (2000)
Matter (2008)
Surface Detail (2010)
The Hydrogen Sonata (2012)

Other (non-Culture) SF by Iain M. Banks
Against a Dark Background (1993)
Feersum Endjinn (1994)
The Algebraist (2004)

Short Fiction Collections
The State of the Art (1991) [includes three Culture stories]
The Spheres (2010)