The Early Days of a Better Nation

Friday, June 14, 2013

Iain M. Banks (1954 - 2013)

[Image: Kate Copeland, The Skinny]

Iain Banks died last Sunday. I have lost my oldest friend. I was asked to speak about him for radio and TV, and I have. I was asked to write about his SF, and I did. I've tried to write something more personal, and I've failed.

Here are a few lines I wrote some years ago, for an introduction to a German edition of Consider Phlebas. It outlines an outlook implied in the Culture books.
To live a human life is to die. Immortality is for gods. Humans can become gods, but to do so is to cease to be human, and that too is a kind of death. In accepting mortality the humans have the chance, their only chance, to make their lives complete, sufficient, shaped; and to get out of the game while they're ahead.
This is what gives the book, with all its violence, its fundamental gaiety. Life may be a game of damage, but it is a game to be played with grace, every day new under the sun.

Iain did that.
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Saturday, June 01, 2013

Impending Manifestations

I have two public events coming up, this month and next.

First, there's the Futura Sci-Fi Convention, a one-day event on Saturday 15 June in Wolverhampton's innovative arts centre the Light House. My fellow guests of honour are Adam Roberts and Ian R. MacLeod, so I feel honoured indeed, and I'm very much looking forward to it. The day and evening event has all the usual features of an SF convention: panels, GoH readings, kaffeeklatches, signing sessions, book stalls, a real ale bar etc, without the hassle of hotels and all for a modest £25 (or £100 for a group of five). Details and bookings here.


My second upcoming public event is in July. Napier MA Creative Writing student Anni Telford has made canny use of her contacts to set up a series of workshops for writers featuring three-quarters of the Napier MA Creative Writing course team. Stuart Kelly talks about writing creative non-fiction next Friday (7 June). I'll be talking about writing SF and fantasy on Friday 5 July. David Bishop will teach the dark arts of writing graphic novels on Tuesday 23 July. Full details and bookings here and the same with a downloadable flyer from the group putting on the workshops, the Booktown Writers.

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