Iain (M) Banks

The Bridge Born in Fife and educated at Stirling, Iain Banks is probably my favourite author and possibly the best Scottish author of the moment. Hailed as a new Robert Louis Stevenson, his books are alternately sci-fi and "mainstream". Regardless of genre, his books are always strikingly different. Their plots are sometimes macabre, generally bizarre, and never straightforward. Often they hold a cunning sting in the tail.

His latest book in the SF genre is Look to Windward, the story of one of the Culture's mistakes. Set hundreds of years after the Idiran war, it forms a sequel great sequel to Consider Phlebas. His most recent offering is Dead Air. I'll let you know what it's like once I've read it!

The "M" Question

State of the ArtOne of the questions Iain is asked most often concerns his middle initial. His fiction books are written under the name Iain Banks, and the Sci-Fi under Iain M Banks. This distinction was originally thought up by the publishers to keep the two types of book distinct, but seems to be something Banks now regrets doing. A further distinction between the two is the covers. The mainstream books have a striking black/white cover, and the SF a two colour monochrome dustsheet. Either way, a Banks book stands out a mile off on the shelves.

A few Banks links...