Iain M. Banks Losing His Battle With Cancer

Iain M. Banks Losing His Battle With Cancer

Sad news in the world of books today: Iain M. Banks—or just Iain Banks, depending on which genre you're reading—announced via his website that he only has months to live. The author of both a successful sci-fi series and several literary fiction titles has run out of options in his fight against gall bladder cancer. He writes:

The bottom line, now, I'm afraid, is that as a late stage gall bladder cancer patient, I'm expected to live for 'several months' and it’s extremely unlikely I'll live beyond a year. So it looks like my latest novel, The Quarry, will be my last. 

As a result, I've withdrawn from all planned public engagements and I've asked my partner Adele if she will do me the honour of becoming my widow (sorry — but we find ghoulish humour helps). By the time this goes out we'll be married and on a short honeymoon. We intend to spend however much quality time I have left seeing friends and relations and visiting places that have meant a lot to us. Meanwhile my heroic publishers are doing all they can to bring the publication date of my new novel forward by as much as four months, to give me a better chance of being around when it hits the shelves.

I haven't been able to find out whether The Quarry will fall under Banks' literary fiction work, or if it will be another in his Culture series of sci-fi novels (if you're unfamiliar with this, iO9 has a nice primer). In any case, let's hope he can see its publication.

Please share your thoughts on Banks and his work in the comments section. When his time comes, he will be sorely missed. 

Photo via Sfx.co.uk

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ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig April 4, 2013 - 8:50am

Big fan of The Wasp Factory and Espedair Street. The husband loves the Culture series. We're pretty bummed out. No one deserves cancer :(

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading a lot more during the quarantine April 4, 2013 - 8:52am

Never read any of the sci-fi stuff, but The Wasp Factory is one of my favorite novels.

Fylh's picture
Fylh from from from is reading is from is reading is reading is reading reading is reading April 4, 2013 - 8:55am

Wow, I admire the way he's presented the situation in that quote. Impressively stoical and good-natured.

big_old_dave's picture
big_old_dave from Watford, about 20 miles outside London, Uk April 4, 2013 - 9:13am

Completely gutted :(


Scott MacDonald's picture
Scott MacDonald from UK is reading Perfidia April 4, 2013 - 10:09am

Been a fan of the man since my teens. The Crow Road, The Wasp Factory and The Bridge changed my views of writing and reading in ways that are still an inspiration to me now (so much so that I got a tattoo of the cover of The Crow Road when I was 19).  I was absolutely gutted to hear this news, like hearing a friend who's been with me through so much has been diagnosed.  Will be raising a glass of single malt to the man and wishing him and Adele all the best for the coming months.  And I still say that the opening line of The Crow Road is one of the greatest ever written:

It was the day my grandmother exploded.

SammyB's picture
SammyB from Las Vegas is reading currently too many to list April 4, 2013 - 10:25pm

Absolutely heartbreaking. I wish him all of the happiness in the world. I've lost several family members to cancer, and it is a horrible disease.