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Iain M Banks is dying. :(

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posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 06:26 AM
One of my favourite Science Fiction authors,Iain Menzies Banks has terminal cancer and maybe only months to live.

For those who may not have read his science fiction novels,they describe a galaxy(our very own milkyway)full of life of all shapes and sizes where humanity has transcended our primitive ways to reach a post scarcity civilisation called "the Culture" where we are "looked after" by giant AI "minds" whose sole purpose is to facilitate the pursuit of happiness of the humans.

He truly is a visionary in terms of how he sees our potential in the future,once we shake off the shakles of slavery to money,resources,leaders,and corruption.

Thats not to say there are no bad guys-they are usually of other species,but they are there and cause some great problems and adventures for citizens of "the Culture."

As a writer,Iain has expanded my imagination in ways I could not fathom before reading his wonderful novels,and it is with great sadness that I write of his failing health.
The really sad thing is that if we were even 1% as advanced as his vision of humans in space,then he could be cured by science.
Yet here we are in 2013 burning coal and oil like its the last day on Earth...

This wiki page has much info on his works:

Although he has until recently shunned the internet,he has now set up a page where people can leave comments for him.
Anyone who is a fan of his work as I am,may leave commets for him here:

His passing will make our planet a less awesome place IMO,yet his work shall endure throughout our future-maybe even influencing the direction we are heading in some way or another.

He should have one of the "mars one" habitats named after him I think,as what they are attempting could well put us on the path to what he envisioned in his incredible science fiction novels-a galaxy where humans prosper because of technology,instead of being enslaved by it.

Thank you Mr Banks,for expanding my imagination,and enriching my existence with your amazing tales of science fiction.
My heart goes out to him and his family at this terrible time,and I will treausre my memories of his stories always.
What a guy.

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 06:59 AM
reply to post by Silcone Synapse

i was horribly saddened when i heard the news a couple of weeks ago, i was actually reading "The Player of Games" at the time.... the man is one of THE best sci-fi writers ever in my opinion, and that does not even consider his other works of fiction.
The Culture is a fabulous creation, he bought Sci-Fi back to life in my eyes

edit on 25-4-2013 by skalla because: emphasis

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 07:19 AM
reply to post by skalla

I agree skalla,he's one of the best,and should have been knighted years ago IMO.
Its worth leaving him a message on his guest book as I think all the prasie and positivity can only be good for the man at this time.
Here is what he said about the comments he has recieved so far:

'I feel treasured, I feel loved, I feel I've done more than just pursue the craft I adore and make a living from it, and more than just fulfil the only real ambition I've ever had - of becoming a professional writer. 'I am deeply flattered and touched, and I can't deny I've been made to feel very special indeed.'
'Mostly, though - good grief! - what an outpouring of love, affection and respect. I honestly had no idea.'

I think I shall email Mars One right now,to suggest that they name one of their habitats or craft after him.
That would be a wonderful thing for them to do for him before he leaves this world.

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 07:41 AM
Here is what I have just Emailed to Mars One:

Hello Mars One team. I am not sure if this is the correct e mail address to use,if not please send me the correct address.
Dear Mars One team, I have a request that I am hoping you will give serious thought to.
One of our planets greatest ever science fiction authors,Iain M Banks of Scotland UK is dying of terminal cancer and may only have months to live.
My request is simple- Could you find it in your hearts to name one of your Mars One habitats after this wonderful author,and to announce this before he passes away?
He has influenced so many over the years with his tales of advanced humanity journeying through our galaxy,and I can think of no greater honour for the man than to have his name live on,not only through his words,but also on one of your installations on the red planet.
If this could be done,I believe he would be deeply touched by the gesture.
Your project could be the first steps to acheiving what he so richly describes in his novels,a galaxy teaming with human explorers,and I cannont think of a better way of thanking him for his contributions to science fiction. PLEASE,give this request your most serious consideration,and may I wish you every success with Mars One. Thank you all. Sincerely,

I hope they consider the request.

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 07:43 AM
reply to post by Silcone Synapse

i just done so

i thought about posting this sad news myself when i heard it... very surprised more here have not commented on it or that it was not discussed here earlier..

ATS readers: you really, really need to read The Culture novels, at the very least... your minds, they will be blown.

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 12:09 PM
Oh, man that is terrible.

I read Transition and it is probably one of my favorite sci-fi novels EVER.

I was in the dollar tree the other day and saw it in the bargain bin... my heart sank.

get better Ian.

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 12:31 PM
reply to post by Silcone Synapse

That is sad news-i've read some of his books.My hubby is a huge fan of his,we have quite a few of his books-GREAT writer,GREAT mind.What a loss,our condolences to his loved ones.

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 01:09 PM
reply to post by Raxoxane

indeed... his vision of how humanoids colonise space, their social systems, habits, tech and interactions with other species is phenomenal.... he writes totally awesome droids and AI too - typically quite hilariously.

The Culture (his symbiotic humaniod-machine space-faring anarchic civilisation) is one of modern fiction's great creations. and Contact and Special-Circumstances, their organisation for meeting emergent civilisations and messing with them in various ways

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 01:50 PM

Originally posted by CagliostroTheGreat
Oh, man that is terrible.

I read Transition and it is probably one of my favorite sci-fi novels EVER.

I was in the dollar tree the other day and saw it in the bargain bin... my heart sank.

get better Ian.

Friend,I have "Transition" in my pile of yet unread books-I read a lot,yet still have a select few unread which I keep for a rainy day.
Thats the one where the Culture intersects with our world if I am correct?
Can't wait to read that one,it may be sent to the top of the pile I think.


Originally posted by Raxoxane
reply to post by Silcone Synapse

That is sad news-i've read some of his books.My hubby is a huge fan of his,we have quite a few of his books-GREAT writer,GREAT mind.What a loss,our condolences to his loved ones.

He is indeed a great guy,
I can see some of his Culture novels being studied by the children of the future,up there with Plato,Shakespeare,Mark Twain and other fantastic writers.

Maybe,just maybe,some of our far off future generations will even study his work on a one million mile diameter orbital,far far away upon a distant arm of our milkyway...

In Iain M. Banks' fictional Culture universe, an Orbital (sometimes also simply called an O or a small ring) is a purpose-built space habitat forming a ring typically around 3 million km (1.9 million miles) in diameter.
The rotation of the ring simulates both gravity and a day-night cycle comparable to a planetary body orbiting a star.
Its inhabitants, often numbering many billions,live on the inside of the ring, where continent-sized "plates" have been shaped to provide all sorts of natural environments and climates, often with the aim of producing especially spectacular results.
I can see this happening,if we could all just stop trying to blow each other up.
Someone please dose the world with one of the love drugs from the Culture.
Just for a day,
Imagine what we could do if we stopped wasting resources on killing each other....
edit on 25/4/2013 by Silcone Synapse because: extra words added

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 02:07 PM
I hope he can find a cure. There was a guy with terminal liver cancer who decided to go on a world-wide travel trip as his last wish. When he went up to Alaska to travel through the snow tundra he came across a native Indian tribe. When he explained to them why he was on his journey they said they had a cure. They took reindeer, killed it, and left the liver to sit in the snow for several days. Then he had to eat all of it raw. Naturally, it made him violently sick, but he was cured - whatever bacteria/toxins had built up, actually killed off the cancer.

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 02:23 PM
I've never heard of him. His books sound interesting though- I am going to look them up.
He's also just extremely handsome, in my most superficial opinion....

Sorry to hear of his state.

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 02:59 PM
as a teaser for those not in on "The Culture", here is a lengthy essay from it's creator:

and a few excerpts... the full piece is a fascinating intro to this dense fictional society..

The galaxy (our galaxy) in the Culture stories is a place long lived-in, and scattered with a variety of life-forms. In its vast and complicated history it has seen waves of empires, federations, colonisations, die-backs, wars, species-specific dark ages, renaissances, periods of mega-structure building and destruction, and whole ages of benign indifference and malign neglect

there is another force at work in the Culture aside from the nature of its human inhabitants and the limitations and opportunities presented by life in space, and that is Artificial Intelligence. This is taken for granted in the Culture stories, and - unlike FTL travel - is not only likely in the future of our own species, but probably inevitable (always assuming homo sapiens avoids destruction).

Briefly, nothing and nobody in the Culture is exploited. It is essentially an automated civilisation in its manufacturing processes, with human labour restricted to something indistinguishable from play, or a hobby.

No machine is exploited, either; the idea here being that any job can be automated in such a way as to ensure that it can be done by a machine well below the level of potential consciousness; what to us would be a stunningly sophisticated computer running a factory (for example) would be looked on by the Culture's AIs as a glorified calculator, and no more exploited than an insect is exploited when it pollinates a fruit tree a human later eats a fruit from.

and so on and so forth.... Bank's Culture has no scarcity of resources and no rulers besides the AI Minds that guide each mega-ship with the population of a planet or continent. it's quite anarchic in make up, and there are strong elements of marxism there too.
however, Banks does not suggest that this is perfect or utopian, and many of the population are quite bored and jaded, spending their time travelling around the universe, hopping from ship to ship and habitat to habitat, changing sex, having glands installed to produce narcotics, even changing form to the most bizarre possible types and back to human again. some even have themselves cryogenicly stored untill times of war or great discoveries so that they can only experience interesting or risky times.

His sci-fi habitats are amazing too, the orbitals are ofc developed from Larry Niven and others, but he has shellworlds which are ancient machines that are later adapted into planets for developing species, of multiple concentric levels, each for a different type of being to safely develop (unless the ancient security system goes haywire and wipes them out
) and unbelievable huge string worlds that circle stars in trillion mile fashion, filled with liquid for their advanced aquatic makers.

yar, The Culture novels make me drool

edit on 25-4-2013 by skalla because: typo

edit on 25-4-2013 by skalla because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 03:00 PM
reply to post by Silcone Synapse
I've read many of his books and whether Iain Banks or Iain M Banks - pure excellence. Wasp Factory was one of the best books I've read and as much as I was into the story, it was as interesting to wonder about the man and his imagination that put it down on the pages. I read it back in 1999 and still remember the scene with the morse code.

After that, I read anything I could find. It's a bold claim, but I regard him as one of the greatest living authors.

If we could stack all of his books in a tower, it's just incredible that he could come up with so many ideas and just pump them out with such quality. He had a life on top of all that too.

He never came close to cliché and yet when I think of his work I can't avoid the cliché of describing him as a rare genius. It's like he's somehow tapped into the essential source of creativity - phenomenal.

A great man.

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 03:02 PM
reply to post by Kandinsky

Very well said Moderator Kandinsky.
So true.

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 03:53 PM
Well I'm very sad to here this. I have never read any of his books, so this thread is also doing him a great honor, by introducing us. I will give his books a read. Always like hearing about new authors, although wish it was under better circumstances.

My best to him and his.

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 07:34 PM
That really is sad to hear, I'm really regretting missing the chance to go see him when he was in Bexhill now...
Without a doubt the best sci-fi writer of his generation...

posted on Apr, 26 2013 @ 05:48 AM
May you go gently into the night Iain. Thank you for the wonder that inspired the child that was me, and the child in me now.

posted on Apr, 27 2013 @ 08:14 AM
reply to post by Silcone Synapse

I read his blog, amazing, honest passionate guy. I will read all of his books as mark of respect.

posted on Apr, 27 2013 @ 09:47 AM
reply to post by old_god

You will not be dissapointed.
I reccomend "Against a dark background","Use of weapons" and "Surface detail"
But all are great IMO.

posted on Apr, 27 2013 @ 11:09 AM
Sad to hear it. One of the Science Fiction greats. His Ship AIs are some of fictions best creations and the culture is the best realised vision of what we could be. Its our 'best case scenario'.

Will go and post something on the linked 'friends' page right now.

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