MINERVA: Episodic, Single-Player Half-Life 2

Resistance Is Character-Forming -

Already posted over on the other blog, but ... personal hero Iain Banks has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He's likely got less than a year, perhaps just months to live. I learned of this last night, in a typically matter-of-fact, no-holds barred statement brought up by my RSS news reader.

I discovered his science fiction books while not having an especially fun time in life - the sheer escapism, pitch-black humour and leftist sensibilities helping me rebuild my mind into something much sturdier. I promptly devoured everything that Iain M. Banks had written, then started picking at Iain Banks' oeuvre, eager for more.

He's someone I've never met, and likely never will - but I've spent about thirteen years exploring and inhabiting worlds of his devising. And to learn that there's a door now permanently closing is ... painful.

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Kyosho's gravatar

1. Could you recommend a book of his?

Posted by Kyosho at 9:43AM, Thursday April 4 2013

My mother was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer in summer of 2011 and died early last year. As you can imagine, this post hits home with me. I'd like to appreciate this man before he's gone. If you could recommend me a book of his to read, I'd be grateful.

Cargo Cult's gravatar

2. Re: Could you recommend a book of his?

Posted by Cargo Cult at 12:00PM, Thursday April 4 2013

Really awful to hear about your mother. My dad had a pretty serious cancer scare a few years ago, and it made me realise how cruelly random the disease could be. (I'd recently released the second part of MINERVA: Metastasis, only for that subtitle to go from a vague metaphor to a very real thing to be feared.)

Books - his Culture novels are in no particular order, just set in the same universe. My usual recommendation is to start with The Player of Games - while it's not the first published, I reckon it's a much better novel than Consider Phlebas and still acts as a great introduction to the Culture and what it stands for. The Hydrogen Sonata is a weirdly fitting ending.

Non-Culture-wise, I'm still really fond of Feersum Endjinn, and over in plain, non-M. Iain Banks land there's the utterly unconventional The Bridge, and the utterly harrowing Song of Stone. Transition is pretty interesting (it's with-an-M. in the US, without-an-M. in the UK) but I felt never went quite as far as it could have.

I'm trying to decide what to write on the guestbook here: http://friends.banksophilia.com/guestbook/

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