an altogether higher class of gibbonindex
At least I had the chance to thank him first.
I think my first exposure to his writing must have been a brief snippet of the Wasp Factory, late at night on Radio 4. It involved an open brain and maggots. It was very late at night.
While at university, following various upcoming computer games, someone online mentioned that the writing for the forthcoming 'Halo' kind of resembled that from a certain 'Iain M. Banks'. Ooh, I thought, let's investigate. A trip to the nearby Blackwell's resulted in a paperback copy of Consider Phlebas - which turned out to be much superior to the unreleased digital alternatives. I commenced the reading of everything else Banksian I could lay my hands on.
I was having a pretty difficult time at university - the escapism, pitch-black humour and leftist sensibilities helped me rebuild some semblance of a functioning mind. The full spectrum of conscious thought - from the breathtakingly ugly to the brilliantly sublime seemed contained within those books.
The novels stayed as an irregular rhythm to my life, an intermittent backdrop as I started to write fiction as part of another unconventional medium - being ever-so-slightly inspired by that Mr. I. Banks, with or without the 'M.'. Additional evidence - the username I go by on many online systems. It's not just a comment on other modders' game development practices...
Eventually, I inadvertently ended up with another job as a result of those spare-time efforts. And, shipped over to the USA, I’d quietly suggest the books of this almost-unheard-of ‘Iain M. Banks’ to friends and colleagues, quietly proud as his name spread through the efforts of publishing companies and others.
The older covers for Banks books in the USA are awful. Yes, I went to an American bookshop on my first trip to the USA - where I did manage to find numerous absent-from-UK-bookshops titles from Stanisław Lem, who'd had the temerity to die just days beforehand.
I never had the chance to meet him. And now I never will. I raise a (sadly American-sized, albeit with a Black Mesa logo) pint in his honour.
Couple of links. You get the idea!
Bonus More Programming Revealed by Radio-4-Matic corner:
posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday June 2 2013
Good news! This blog has been going for an entire year, and I haven't missed a single Sunday Things.
Bad news! My laptop's hard disk has just died, taking with it numerous bookmarks I'd been collating for this week's edition. I've got full backups of everything up to about a week ago; email and suchlike is unaffected. But still, there's the annoyance factor. Curse you, Seagate! The disk's just over a month old, too...
So instead, have a somewhat curtailed, text-only antiquated British technology edition:
- The Letter of Last Resort - radio drama about the hand-written letters from an incoming prime minister to the captains of the UK's nuclear submarines - instructing them on what they should do should the UK government be obliterated. My orders would be for them to nuke the poo out of Milton Keynes, just to make sure it was gone.
- Radio 4's long wave goodbye - one of the means of determining whether Blighty has fallen is whether BBC Radio 4 still exists. Unfortunately, Radio 4 Long Wave's transmitter is on its last legs, requiring huge, antiquated valves to operate. And they're steadily running out, with no way to obtain new ones... via UA
- Low-level Vulcan bomber flypast - the last of Britain's Avro Vulcan bombers being VERY LOUD. I've learned my lesson after a speaker-wrecking Soyuz launch. Also, have some non-British Polish MiG 29 'Fulcrum' photography via phuzz.
Bonus Sunday Things anniversary corner:
- Comic Sans edition - miscellaneous linkage and some horrifying biology, with a coded-specially-to-celebrate-the-Higgs-boson Comic Sans ability.
- Urbex edition - seemingly just a couple of photos, but then you realise each photographer has vast archives of rusty stuff to look at. Also: Flickr is horrible now!
- Historical edition - in which I retype some auroral sarcasm from 1859.
- Demoscene edition - hackers making stuff do what it can't, in the complete opposite of 'programmer art'.
- What the heck, just go look at the archives edition - so many things...
Please feel free to post prior (and new) interesting things in the comments. I'll be busy attacking my laptop with a screwdriver.
Various ruins, caves, bunkers and abandoned cities for this week's edition of ... the Sunday Things!
Bonus Flatulent HTML corner:
- fartscroll.js - I've somehow managed to resist adding The Onion's venture into web frameworks to this blog. But I don't know how much longer I can hold this in...
Yet more space? Indeedy. This time with post-communist leanings.
Bonus 2001: A Children's Odyssey corner:
- 2001: A Space Odyssey - Howard Johnsons Children's Menu - gloriously confused retelling of the film, from 1968. One of my first memories is of watching 2001 on telly. Given how much I remembered of it, from ape-men to EVA pods to space-baby, I must have seen all of it. Aged four. This probably explains a lot.