Monday, 10 June 2013

Books and Stuff

Iain Banks, 1954-2013
It's sad to have to start this week's round-up of my book news with yesterday's announcement of the death of Iain Banks.

I don't feel comfortable saying that I enjoyed Banks' books (after all nobody wants to sound as if they're a twisted pervert), but I read all the Iain M Banks books and a few of the 'straight' novels.    It would be difficult to pick a favorite - Use of Weapons, The Player of Games, Inversions and Look to Windward stand out for me.

He was a master of imagination, with the power to write scenes that stick with you years afterwards (the cannibal-cult in Consider Phelbas or practically anything from Surface Detail were particularly memorable in a disturbing way.  I think the Daily Telegraph's description sums it up sums it up -
Novelist of hallucinatory brilliance who attracted notoriety with  his grotesque and bizarre tales

And by all accounts he was a very nice guy.  I recommend you read the excellent obit here.

What I've been reading this week...

From the sublime to the ridiculous...  Sometimes you need a bit of guff with cardboard-thin characterization.  I started reading Jack Chambers, Lost Fleet: Dauntless.

What I've bought this week...

Annie Tyler, The Amateur Marriage - 50p

James Risk, Henry Pownall, David Stanley & John Tamplin, Royal Service: Vol II - £6.50
David Stanley, Royal Service: Vol III - £4.50
John Van Der Kiste, The Georgian Princesses - £1.00


  1. I remember, vividly, reading Banks at Art college, they were practically deemed essential reading at the time; many of the stories still haunt me now. I am ashamed to say that I've not tries any of the science fiction; something that needs to be addressed I think.

    1. And I must read some of the 'straight' ones.

      I liked Iain Rankin saying that Banks used to call his sci-fi the 'skiffy' books...

  2. Words of wisdom from Neil Gaiman:-

    "If you've never read any of his books, read one of his books. Then read another. Even the bad ones were good, and the good ones were astonishing."


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