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back to article Scottish SF master Iain M Banks reveals he has less than a year to live

One of Britain's most popular fiction and science fiction authors Iain Banks, or Iain M Banks for lovers of his science fiction, has revealed that he has cancer and is unlikely to live longer than a year. "The bottom line, now, I'm afraid, is that as a late stage gall bladder cancer patient, I'm expected to live for 'several …

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Unhappy

Bugger!

Ian, your books are unique, I have enjoyed many evening bathing in the Culture and if I was a GSV my name would be "A mild case of indigestion".

Live as much as you can as long as you can, the place will be duller without you.

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Re: Bugger!

For those who haven't seen the link from the BBC website or elsewhere, you can leave messages for Iain at http://friends.banksophilia.com/guestbook/. There are some great ones already (though I only got to about page 15 this afternoon).

Let's hope this is one of those situations where the doctors have got it wrong - or that there is an SC vessel being diverted our way with an important mission.

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Holmes

My comment to Mr Banks on that website:

Have greatly enjoyed your books and DEEPLY sorry to hear the news. The probabilistic and quantum natures of reality are no consolation. I was hoping you would get around to the cryocide crybabies or the Chinese Amazon grannies, but time is running out.

It does not seem to be a constructive response to hope the doctors' diagnosis is flawed, but unfortunately yours appears to be the only kind of diagnosis they are especially good at--the too late kind. Should I suggest the ultimate in results-based medicine? I actually want them to do a COMPLETE autopsy on me to find out what REALLY killed me. Then I want them to go back to the doctors who missed the diagnosis before it was too late... Seems like a more useful option than donating to cancer research, eh?

Again, thank you for all the pleasure you have given me. I can only hope the real world can develop along the lines of your splendid imagination.

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Holmes

Banks makes you think

And the thumbs down vote on my post has me thinking WTF.

While I was wandering around that website yesterday, eventually I was actually wondering "Where are the trolls?" These days it seems there are always some of them around. I even started thinking about what kind of trollage they might post, but I was really stumped on that one. Someone is going to complain that Iain Banks was overrated or start a campaign to sell more of his books? Like he needs more money? A complaint that the existence of such superb writers makes it pointless for other people to write anything? (Yes, I do wish I could write more, but envy is not problem and I know I am NOT and never will be a creative force like Mr Banks...)

Anyway, the more I think about this topic, the sadder it makes me feel. Really under the category of 'Nothing can be done' and I just hope he enjoys himself as much as possible while he can. He deserves it and twice on Sundays.

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Re: Banks makes you think

My favourite author. He might want to consider volunteering to test this stuff:

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/03/27/scientists-find-treatment-to-kill-every-kind-cancer-tumor/

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Unhappy

Very sad

I have only recently started reading his sci fi ... very very good, I like the way his mind works. This is very sad news

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Unhappy

He made

SF readable again.

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Unhappy

Well, this is just damn sad news to hear

Although I'm more of his Culture books than owt else, I was first introduced to Mr Banks by way of The Wasp Factory.

Not read any of his books recently but do keep my current collection on the bookshelf ready for another journey. Think I may have to do just that.

Thanks Iain, you have provided this comtentard with many many hours of enjoyment and wonder. Your vision will live on.

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Unhappy

Two of our best authors: Iain Banks and Iain M Banks.

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@ Iain M. Banks

[broadcast Eclear, sent 3651820175.2]

xAndreasKoch, aboard dROU 'Dinner Is Ready'

Thank you for your work.

+++

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Extremely sad to hear this. I read The Wasp Factory years ago and was drawn into his work. A very talented writer, but let's not write his eulogy while he's still kicking. Good luck to you, Iain.

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Unhappy

Damn it all to hell and back

This news has completely ruined my day.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Damn it all to hell and back

I'm sure Mr Banks was none too thrilled on the day he found out either!

I'm sure you probably didn't mean it to sound the way you wrote it.

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Pint

Not a good day!

Can we have an icon showing a dram being raised?

I have a t-shirt with "Break Into Banks" on the back for the "A Song Of Stone" book, love wearing it when I go in to pay my credit card bill.

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Pint

Re: Not a good day!

I got that t-shirt as well, although I think my wife consigned it to charity as I had too many shirts. A lot of people commented on it as it was unusual to see t-shirts for books.

I met him at a book signing for The Business when it was released, nice guy to talk to and will be sadly missed.

It was The Crow Road tv series that got me into him, although I haven't read his sci-fi stuff.

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Sad news.

I've probably read Excession and The Player of Games more times than is good for you. In some ways like Superman comics for adults without the red kryptonite. The comfort of a ship's mind is hard to beat.

Thanks Iain for making my life that bit more enjoyable.

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A very very sad way to prove

that karma is fucking bollocks.

May his last days be as full as he wants them to be.

So long and thanks for putting it on paper.

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Interested in the mind,

but the body does matter too. I hope Ian Banks can enjoy the remaining time in his.

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Pint

Sad now

It's not often that two of yer favourite authors die simultaneously.

Good man, Enjoy what's left, eh?

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To, One Of The Very Best.

Thank you Ian, for all your brilliant work.

O hell, that all I can say.

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Unhappy

Thank you IMB

You have made the last 20 years brighter, and will continue to do so for many years to come.

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Happy

Very smart man indeed...

"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)."

Yes, that frickin' helps indeed. Don't ever think its hopeless and try to continue to focus on the bright side, not the down side.

Because we've seen this many times before in history... Man was told he had only 3 months to live, only to end up 5 years later. In most of those cases the person in question didn't focus on the downside of things but figured that he'd better make the best out of what he still had.

And it's a good thing your widow seems to share your sense of humor.

Honestly folks.. A smiley on my post. Because the last thing that guy needs is a bunch of people who are now going to become all sad and depressed on him.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Very smart man indeed...

I think that doctors give a deliberately low value for life expectancy, if they said 12 months and the person passed away in 6 months then the family might sue.

Of course it can work the other way, someone thinks they have 6 months, sells the house, blows all their money and then ends up living for years instead.

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This post has been deleted by its author

ah balls...

thanks for all the hours buried in the Culture. Some might say it's as close as I'll ever get :)

Off to read player of games again...

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Thanks Iain

Many hours of enjoyment & many more to come from your work. I hope you have had half as much pleasure writing them as I still get reading them. It's not over until the fat lady sings so keep your (raw) spirits up!! God Bless you.

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Unhappy

Well that sucks. His novels gave me much pleasure, here's hoping for a miracle.

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Unhappy

Miracle?

Fuck the miracle ... what's needed is every cancer researcher, replacement organ boffin & geneticist on the planet to get their shit together to solve this.

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Re: Miracle?

There is no cure for cancer. Cancer is the universe's way of telling us we got too good at medicine, diet, etc and are living too long.

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Alien

And, yet, David Cameron is still alive and well...

... there's just no justice in this world :-|

One of my absolute favorite authors.

I've come across very few authors with such imagination.

Reading his books is always such an enjoyable journey.

You never really know just where he's going to go with the story.

A true asset to the literary community.

And, for the record, my personal favorite ship name is 'Anticipation of a New Lover's Arrival'

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MJI
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Re: No need to drag politics in please

DC did save a sheep a week or so ago!

IMB will be sorely missed, I have read most of the M books, Culture stories are very good, I like the anarchy in them, the humour, the orbitals, and the scentient ships. I haven't read any non M books though. I ought to but just haven't.

Too many good authors finishing too early.

One of my favourite quotes from him was about more SF fans go from M to non M than from non M to M.

I will buy some non M and try them out.

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Re: No need to drag politics in please - Non M

If you're after non M - i'd suggest Transitions (very sci-fi non M) Crow Road & Complicity as starting points, also probably wasp factory (just because it's his "famous" one) - these are my favourite non M ones - the rest (IMO!!) are good to read but I often found the conclusions to be a little unsatisfying (except maybe walking on glass - but that one's just odd.)

I always prefered the M stuff (I think i've read all of them more than once) ... heh, you've got me reminiscing now.

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Re: No need to drag politics in please - Non M

I think Transitions was 'M' in the States, but not over here... or vice versa... which is kind of appropriate for the book! I enjoyed The Steep Approach to Garbadale, published a few years back, the first 'non M' I'd read in a while.

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Unhappy

Extremely sad news. Thanks for expanding my mind as to the possibilities for a species such as ours and others too. Extraordinary writing, humour, storytelling. Hope you enjoy every moment you can and then find a way to the other side as quickly as possible.

A fan.

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JLV
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Unhappy

sad

As an avid SF reader, I've mostly dislike space opera. Consider Phlebas, along with a number of subsequent Culture novels made me reconsider my position.

Also believe Wasp Factory to be one of the better mainstream lit book I have read. Hard to believe one author could master two genres as well.

Mr. Banks, you and your wife have the right attitude. Make the best of what fate has dealt to you and fight if you can. Best of luck and thanks for all the books.

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Unhappy

"It was the day my grandmother exploded.."

Best opening line ever.

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Unhappy

Had the honour of meeting him at a book signing last year. Very sad to hear this.

One of the greatest of the modern science fiction authors. He will be sadly missed. Hope his last days are filled with as much happiness as his books have given to us.

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Pint

Use of Weapons

I have been meaning to read Use of Weapons again for ages. Even though I know the twist in the tale. But I couldn't put it down the first time so missed loads cos I should have been asleep instead of "reading".

Good luck to the man - I hope his end is not too painful. He has expanded my mind.

As someone else said "Thanks for all the books".

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Pint

This world is too random.

I remember being in a bookstore way back when amazon didn't even exist and book ordering meant leafing through large catalogues, braving the frowns of the lady with the terminal and having lots of luck to actually get the book delivered. On this lazy saturday afternoon, I checked through the "freshly printed / just in" bookstacks on a large table. There were the usual tie-ins with Star Trek, romance novels, thrillers, maybe a phonebook-sized Ludlum, a Rushdie (which I wasn't ready to read yet) and over there a relatively thin book in tacky blood red with something that looked like a robotized eagle soaring above a landscape deep below. The title was incomprehensible: "Feersum Endjinn". Written by a "Ian M. Banks". Something about arabian legends? Nope. Some chapters looked like phonetics or really bad chatroom spelling. Apparently it had to do with cyberstuff.

Thinking it might not be the worst of the lot, I bought it.

That night, no sleep was to be had.

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Pint

Thanks, Iain

For all your wonderful books, your sense of humour and the great amount of thought you put in your works.We'll miss you. A lot.

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In some ways, he is so ordinary

Iain is a very typical Science Fiction Fan. Like many of the writers, he was also a Fan. I met him several times over the years, often in the bar and both of us part of an incredibly diverse conversation. I could say much the same about other well-known SF authors, and some of them were old enough when I first met them that their deaths were no great surprise. We all die.

This death will be far too soon.

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Unhappy

A sad day...

...for those who read books for pleasure...

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Pint

Thanks Iain.

Your works will be missed. (As will you of course).

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Farewell, Iain

One of the best authors I have ever read.

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Alien

Get a real 2nd opinion, cancer can be beat

He should do a bit of research; there are ways to beat cancer, based on down played hard science, which the pharmaceutical industry and cancer charities really don't want people to know about, because it reduces their nature plagiarist profits and wasted guilt tripped funding!

I'd love to see more Culture novels, because their message of Anarchist tech is a breath of hope during this doomed Corporatist quagmire.

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Re: Get a real 2nd opinion, cancer can be beat

I'm sure you're hinting to the oral application of CBD-acid through eating/drinking raw hemp....yes there are some very good options out there with NO downsides, the above, but also generous and daily ingestion of garlic and lemon

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Crap news. He is not only a great writer, he is an interesting thinker as well. Such a shame.

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Pint

I met him at a book signing a few years ago.

Queued early to be at the front & had a small rucksack of his books with me.

The look on his face at first was "Oh no hear we go, another person just going to get a few signed copies & then sell them on ebay". The way his face lit up with joy when I instead pulled out battered, well read paperbacks instead of mint 1st editions.

I'm glad to be one of the many true fans of yours.

Thank you for your work, few people achieve greatness in their lifetimes you did, multiple times over.

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Pint

Never heard of the man...

But still sorry to hear this sad news......

I hope i go with half the dignity he has shown....

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This is the only comments thread I've read on the subject where some well-meaning sort hasn't come along with their own personal cure for cancer ("massive doses of cannabinols and a vegan diet" being the most popular so far).

A genuine good guy, Banks is a rare think among SF authors in that he is just as erudite and witty in the flesh as he is on paper.

I hope the docs are wrong and you get a few more years rather than months Mr Banks, but if not you've made this geek very happy. Thank you!

"Fuck every cause that ends in murder and children crying"

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