Iain M Banks Biography & Facts
Iain Banks (16 February 1954 – 9 June 2013) was a Scottish author, writing mainstream fiction as Iain Banks and science fiction as Iain M. Banks, adding the initial of his adopted middle name Menzies ( (listen)). After the success of The Wasp Factory (1984), he began to write full time. His first science fiction book, Consider Phlebas, appeared in 1987, marking the start of the Culture series. His books have been adapted for theatre, radio and television. In 2008, The Times named Banks in their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".In April 2013, Banks announced he had inoperable cancer and was unlikely to live beyond a year. He died on 9 June 2013.
Banks was born in Dunfermline, Fife, to a mother who was a professional ice skater and a father who was an officer in the Admiralty. An only child, he lived in North Queensferry until the age of nine, near the naval dockyards in Rosyth, where his father was based. The family then moved to Gourock due to his father's work. When someone introduced him to science fiction by giving him Kemlo and the Zones of Silence by Reginald Alec Martin, he continued reading the series, which encouraged him to write science fiction himself. After attending Gourock and Greenock High Schools, Banks studied English, philosophy, and psychology at the University of Stirling (1972–1975).After graduation, Banks took a succession of jobs that left him free to write in the evenings. These supported his writing throughout his twenties and allowed him to take long breaks between contracts, during which time he travelled through Europe and North America. During this period he worked as an IBM 'Expediter Analyser' (a kind of procurement clerk), a testing technician for the British Steel Corporation and a costing clerk for a law firm in London's Chancery Lane.
Banks took up writing at the age of 11. He completed a first novel, The Hungarian Lift-Jet, at 16 and a second, TTR (also entitled The Tashkent Rambler) in his first year at Stirling University in 1972. Though he saw himself mainly as a science fiction author, his publishing problems led him to pursue mainstream fiction. His first published novel The Wasp Factory, appeared in 1984, when he was thirty. After the success of The Wasp Factory, Banks began to write full time. His editor at Macmillan, James Hale, advised him to write a book a year, which he agreed to do.His second novel Walking on Glass followed in 1985, then The Bridge in 1986, and in 1987 Espedair Street, which was later broadcast as a series on BBC Radio 4. His first published science fiction book, Consider Phlebas, emerged in 1987 and as the first of several in the acclaimed Culture series. Banks cited Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Brian Aldiss, M. John Harrison and Dan Simmons as influences. The Crow Road, published in 1992, was adapted as a BBC television series. Banks continued to write both science fiction and mainstream. His final novel The Quarry appeared in June 2013, the month of his death.
Banks published work under two names. His parents had meant to name him "Iain Menzies Banks", but his father mistakenly registered him as "Iain Banks". Banks still used the middle name and submitted The Wasp Factory for publication as "Iain M. Banks". Banks's editor inquired about the possibility of omitting the 'M' as it appeared "too fussy" and the potential existed for confusion with Rosie M. Banks, a romantic novelist in the Jeeves novels by P. G. Wodehouse; Banks agreed to the omission. After three mainstream novels, Banks's publishers agreed to publish his first science fiction (SF) novel Consider Phlebas. To create a distinction between the mainstream and the SF, Banks suggested returning the 'M' to his name, which was then used in all of his science fiction works.
By his death in June 2013, Banks had published 26 novels. A 27th novel The Quarry was published posthumously. His final work, a poetry collection, appeared in February 2015. In an interview in January 2013, he also mentioned he had the plot idea for another novel in the Culture series, which would most likely have been his next book and was planned for publication in 2014.Banks wrote in various categories, but enjoyed science fiction most.In September 2012 Banks became a Guest of Honour at the 2014 World Science Fiction Convention, Loncon 3.
Radio and television
Banks was the subject of The Strange Worlds of Iain Banks South Bank Show (1997), a TV documentary that examined his mainstream writing, and was an in-studio guest for the final episode of Marc Riley's Rocket Science radio show, broadcast on BBC Radio 6 Music. An audio version of The Business, set to contemporary music, arranged by Paul Oakenfold, was broadcast in October 1999 on Galaxy Fm as the tenth Urban Soundtracks.
Banks's The State of the Art, adapted for radio by Paul Cornell, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2009 with Nadia Molinari producing and directing. In 1998 Espedair Street was dramatised as a serial for Radio 4, presented by Paul Gambaccini in the style of a Radio 1 documentary.
In 2011 Banks featured on the BBC Radio 4 programme Saturday Live. Banks reaffirmed his atheism in this appearance, explaining death as an important "part of the totality of life" that should be treated realistically instead of feared.Banks appeared on the BBC television programme Question Time, a show that features political discussion. In 2006 he captained a team of writers to victory in a special series of BBC Two's University Challenge. Banks also won a 2006 edition of BBC One's Celebrity Mastermind; the author selected "Malt whisky and the distilleries of Scotland" as his specialist subject.His final interview was with Kirsty Wark, broadcast on BBC2 Scotland as Iain Banks: Raw Spirit 12 June 2013.BBC One Scotland and BBC2 broadcast an adaptation of his novel Stonemouth in June 2015.
Banks was involved in the stage production The Curse of Iain Banks, written by Maxton Walker and performed at the Edinburgh Fringe festival in 1999. Banks collaborated frequently with its soundtrack composer Gary Lloyd, for instance on a song collection they co-composed as a tribute to the fictional band Frozen Gold from Banks's novel Espedair Street. Lloyd also scored for a spoken word and music production of his novel The Bridge, which Banks himself voiced and which featured a cast of 40 musicians, released on CD by Codex Records in 1996. Lloyd recorded Banks for including in the play as a disembodied voice of himself in one of the cast member's dreams. Lloyd explained his collaboration with Banks on their first versions of Espedair Street (later versions being dated between 2005 and 2013) in a Guardian article prior to the opening of The Curse of Iain Banks:
When he [Banks] first played them to me, I think he was worried that they might not be up to scratch (some of them dated back to 1973 and had never been heard). He needn't have worried. They'r.... Discover the Iain M Banks popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Iain M Banks books.