AKA Iain Menzies Banks
Birthplace: Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
Cause of death: Cancer - unspecified
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Executive summary: Consider Phlebas
Author Iain Banks drew immediate notice with the publication of his first novel The Wasp Factory in 1984. Told from the point of view of 16 year old Frank Cauldhame, a self-confessed multiple murderer, the novel dealt quite graphically with the torture of small animals and the murders of young children. Subsequent novels such as Walking on Glass (1985), The Bridge (1986), Espedair Street (1987), and The Crow Road (1992) dealt with a variety of themes and character types, ultimately garnering Banks enormous popular and criticial acclaim. The Times acclaimed him "the most imaginative British novelist of his generation", and in 1993 he was named one of the Best of Young British Writers. In 1987 Banks published his first science fiction novel, Consider Phlebas, and cyberpunk icon William Gibson later described Banks as, "a phenomenon... wildly successful, fearlessly creative."
Banks was the only child of an Admiralty seaman father and an one-time professional ice skater mother. He was raised in North Queensferry amidst what he describes as a large Scots family with "hordes of cousins". He attended local schools for primary and secondary education, then finished at Stirling University with a degree in English along with emphases in philosophy and psychology. Banks claimed that the highlight of his university period was performing as an extra ("along with 149 other students") in the final battle scene of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Banks subsequently traveled in Europe, the U.S., and Morocco, and held various odd jobs including gardener, clerk, road worker, and non-destructive testing technician -- the latter for a steel manufacturer. In later years his adventuresome nature led him into the midst of various humorous and daring hijinks, including a "perfectly controlled traverse of the south face of the Metropole Hotel, Brighton, at dawn one day during the '87 Worldcon".
Iain Banks taught creative writing at his alma mater, Stirling University, which also, to his amazement, granted him an honorary doctorate in 1997 (adding to another already bestowed by St. Andrews). He published at least 19 novels and several short stories in both science fiction and other genres (his so-called "mainstream" work often blends genres). His Espedair Street was produced as a BBC Radio 4 series (for which Banks wrote the accompanying music and lyrics) and a film version is planned. Film versions of Complicity, The Wasp Factory and The Bridge are also in the works. The Crow Road, already a number one best-selling novel, was adapted for television in 1996.
Banks married in 1992 and lived in Fife, Scotland. In 2013 he announced that he had been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer, and in that summer he died.
Father: (admiralty officer)
Mother: (professional ice skater)
Wife: Annie (div.)
Wife: Adele Hartley (until his death)
University: English, University of Stirling (1975)
National Secular Society Honorary Associate
Risk Factors: Liver Cancer
Author of books:
The Wasp Factory (1984, first novel)
Walking on Glass (1985)
The Bridge (1986)
Consider Phleabas (1987)
Espedair Street (1987)
The Player of Games (1988)
Canal Dreams (1989)
The State of the Art (1989)
Use of Weapons (1990)
The Crow Road (1992)
Feersum Endjinn (1994)
A Song of Stone (1997)
The Business (1999)
Dead Air (2002)
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