The widely acclaimed science fiction writer Iain Banks, whose novel Complicity was made into a film starring Jonny Lee Miller and Brian Cox, has died of cancer at the age of 59. He had been ill for several months and taking chemotherapy in an effort to prolong his life.
Banks sprang to fame in 1984 with The Wasp Factory and went on to write The Crow Road, which became a popular television series, along with numerous other novels, many of which have been considered for films. He created the Culture series, considering how a human-like species might behave in an age of plenty, and he was described by the Times as one of the top 50 writers of the century.
To those of us who had the pleasure of meeting him, he was also a warm, likeable individual, known for his sense of humour. His use of the middle initial 'M' to distinguish his different literary personae evolved from a schoolboy habit designed to confuse examiners. He was a great fan of real ale and was passionate about politics; when his cancer was diagnosed, one of his hopes was that he might still live to see Scotland become independent.
This month will see the release of his final novel, The Quarry.