Iain M. Banks
News today is that Iain Banks, who has written some of the best science fiction of the last quarter century, has terminal cancer and likely has less than a year to live. He has a personal statement on the matter here; that site is also where friends and fans may leave personal messages.
I don’t know Iain Banks personally, and I am something of a latecomer to his work — the first thing of his I read was his 2004 novel The Algebraist, which I enjoyed immensely. For all that I am a fan of his work and of the universes he creates, and particularly of The Culture, which I think is one of the great imaginative achievements in science fiction. I have loved visiting it whenever Banks has opened a door to it.
I am sad to hear the news that his remaining time on the planet is short. From his letter, however, I strongly suspect that his remaining time will also be of high quality, doing what he enjoys with the people he loves. And that, at least, is a good thing.
And although I don’t know him, as a fan I want to thank him for being a wonderful writer and storyteller. I will continue to visit and wonder at his universes, and will be glad he left me ways to get to them. He is, and will remain, in my thoughts.