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.