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GSV Officially Very Poorly: a thank you note to Iain Banks. - David Witteveen [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
David Witteveen

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GSV Officially Very Poorly: a thank you note to Iain Banks. [Apr. 4th, 2013|08:33 pm]
David Witteveen
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Iain Banks has cancer.

Late stage gall bladder cancer. To quote his statement: "I’m expected to live for ‘several months’ and it’s extremely unlikely I’ll live beyond a year."

I drifted away from reading Banks's work the last few years. But that news was a punch in the guts.

He's one of the authors who, along with Neil Gaiman and Joss Whedon, helped me decide what I want to do as a writer. He's not just an influence; he's definitional.

I always hoped to meet him one day.

I have this really clear memory of how I discovered his work: I was in my first year at uni, in the Rowden White Library reading a book about cult films. One of the films had this amazing title: The Wasp Factory. The description was even weirder: a teenage boy blowing up rabbits while waiting for his psychopathic brother to come home. The book mentioned the film was based on a novel by Iain Banks. I looked it up in the library catalogue. The Wasp Factory was out on loan, but they had this other book by him: The Player of Games. I read it, and that was that. I was hooked.

Except that memory can't be true.

There was never a film version of The Wasp Factory. My memory must have mixed up a book on cult novels with a different book on cult films. Somehow it seems appropriate that my first memory of Iain Banks is a lie.

Anyway. Enough about me.

Thank you, Mr Banks.

Thanks for Use of Weapons and The Crow Road. Thanks for knife missiles and GSV names. Thanks for Espedair Street, which I read and reread as I was finishing my own rock and roll novel. Thanks for jumping merrily over the line between literary and genre fiction. Thanks for sarcastic drones. Thanks for the lefty politics. Thanks for being so joyously Scottish in your writing, which has inspired me to be joyously Melbournian in mine. Thanks for being the common bond shared between friends. Thanks for the jokes, and the wild imagination. Thanks for building megastructures in space, and then gleefully blowing them up. Thanks for phonetic Glaswegian accents. Thanks for championing science and rationality. Thanks for laughing at how stupid and insignificant humanity can be, and at the same time reminding us how wonderful we can be too. Thanks for the black humour. Thanks for the joy.

Above all, thanks for The Bridge.

Enjoy the time you have left.


Crossposted from sharplittleteeth.dreamwidth.org
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: kitling
2013-04-05 01:23 am (UTC)
Was there a British TV version of the Wasp Factory? Or was that Crow Road...

I am sure I remember something.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: sharplittlteeth
2013-04-05 01:34 am (UTC)
There was a Crow Road miniseries, and a movie of Complicity, neither of which I have seen.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)