Iain Banks - Page 1
First British Edition Little,Brown (2002) |
A couple of ice cubes, first, then the apple that really started it all. A loft apartment in London’s East End; cool but doomed, demolition and redevelopment slated for the following week. Ken Nott, devoutly contrarian leftish shock-jock attending a mid-week wedding lunch, starts dropping stuff off the roof towards the deserted car park a hundred feet below. Other guests join in and soon half the contents of the flat are following the fruit towards the pitted tarmac . . . just as mobiles start to ring, and the apartment’s remaining TV is turned on, because apparently a plane has just crashed into the World Trade Center . . .
lain Banks’ daring new novel starts with a bang and then accelerates through one man’s political obsessions, manic media manipulations and wildly dangerous private life, speeding through a London of pubs, clubs and geezers of extreme dodginess to a twinned climax of nail-shredding intensity. A novel about politics, trust, paranoia and - perhaps - redemption, Dead Air is lain Banks at his coruscating best.
`For any lover of a good story well told, a new book by lain Banks is always a treat. Imagination, wit and complexity are his hallmarks and The Business is no exception’ Sunday Express
`Written with enormous energy, crunchy wit and more curves than an alpine road . . . this is a poisoned bonbon, a bitter fairy tale . . . The Business is the business’ Independent
`Banks’ mercurial wit [is] in full flow, his cinematic prose seductive and sinister, devilishly inventive and inventively devilish’ Sunday Times
`A highly inventive piece of work, amusing and sinister by turns . . . any chapter of The Business, picked at random, will give an idea of lain Banks’ merits: the technical pizzazz, the profound compassion, above all an understanding of the way the world works’ Guardian
`Eng Lit for the age of www’ Independent On Sunday
Look to Windward
|Paperback - Orbit (2001) |
It was one of the less glorious incidents of a long-ago war.
It led to the destruction of two suns and the billions of lives they supported.
Now, eight hundred years later, the light from the first of those ancient mistakes has reached the Culture Orbital, Masaq’.
The light from the second may not.
‘Confirms Banks as the standard by which the rest of SF is judged’ Guardian
‘In terms of sheer storytelling prowess and verve, Look to Windward is a work of genius’ SFX
‘A great book’ New Scientist
‘It’s a gymnasium for the imagination’ Evening Standard
‘A mordant wit, a certain savagery and a wild imagination’ Mail on Sunday
‘Spectacular… the field needs his energy, skill and invention’ The Scotsman
‘Banks’ mind-expanding future history is unrivalled for imaginative sweep, startling ideas, and savage buy wry sense of humour. One of the very best just got even better’ Starburst
‘Banks is a phenomenon: the wildly successful, fearlessly creative author of brilliant and disturbing non-genre novels, he’s equally at home writing pure science fiction of a peculiarly gnarly energy and elegance’ William Gibson
‘Banks has re-written the libretto for the whole space-opera genre’ The Times
‘Few of us have been exposed to a talent so manifest and of such extraordinary breadth’ The New York Review of Science Fiction
`One of the most able, energetic and stimulating writers it the UK’ Time Out
‘Poetic, humorous, baffling, terrifying, sexy - the books of lain M Banks are all these things and more’ NME
‘Staggering imaginative energy’ Independent
Kate Telman is a senior executive officer in The Business, a powerful and massively discreet transglobal organisation whose origins predate the Christian Church if not the Roman Empire (which The Business actually owned for 66 days). Financially transparent, internally democratic and disavowing conventional familial inheritance, the character of The Business seems, even to Kate, to be vague to the point of invisibility. It possesses, allegedly, a book of Leonardo cartoons, dozens of Michelangelo's pornographic paintings and several sets of Crown Jewels. It has a permanent base in Antarctica, and wants to buy its own State in order to acquire a seat at the United Nations.
Kate's job is to keep abreast of current technological developments and her global reach encompasses both Silicon Valley and Silicon Glen, a ranch in Nebraska, the firm's secretive Swiss headquarters, and a remote Himalayan principality. In the course of her journey Kate must peel away layers of emotional insulation and the assumptions of a lifetime. She must learn to keep her world at arm's length.
To take control, she has to do The Business.
Praise for Iain Banks:
'A Nineties' Robert Louis Stevenson at ease with fashion and fares but still writing breathless adventure stories that never ignore the injustices and moral conundrums of the real world' Independent On Sunday
First British Edition Orbit (1998) |
Some years ago, rocks and fire fell from the sky and the old Empire fell with them. In the lands released from that crushing hegemony, a new world order is about to emerge. Two people in particular can see all this in a wider context.
In the winter palace, the King's new physician has more enemies than she at first realises. But then she also has more remedies to hand than those who wish her ill can know about.
In another palace across the mountains, in the service of the regicidal Protector General, the chief bodyguard too has his enemies. But his enemies strike more swiftly, and his means of combating them are more traditional.
Both the doctor and the bodyguard have at least one person they care for deeply and who cares for them. None of them, however, can risk saying so.
This is the story of two stories. Spiralling round a central core of secrecy, deceit, love and betrayal - and linked more closely than even those involved can know - each climbs to its own devastating climax.
Inversions is a dazzling work of science fiction from an author writing at the height of his remarkable powers.
'Poetic, humorous, baffling, terrifying, sexy - the books of Iain M. Banks are all these things and more.' NME
'One of the most able, energetic and stimulating writers in the UK' Time Out
'Staggering imaginative energy' Independent
'Unfailing inventiveness and wit' Guardian
'Sharp, witty and comprehensively terrifying' Observer
A Song Of Stone
First British Edition Abacus (1997) |
The war is ending, perhaps ended. For the castle and its occupants the troubles are just beginning. Armed gangs roam its lawless land where each farm and house supports a column of dark smoke. Taking to the roads with the other refugees, anonymous in their raggedness, seems safer than remaining in the ancient keep.
However, the lieutenant of an outlaw band has other ideas, and the castle becomes the focus for a dangerous game of desire, deceit and death.
A SONG OF STONE demonstrates lain Banks' unique ability to combine a gripping narrative with a soaring, voyaging imagination. Romping with brio from morality play to thriller and back again, he addresses the timeless questions of truth, betrayal, duty and loyalty, weaving them round a complex plot and into a seamless, spellbinding whole.
'The most imaginative British novelist of his generation' The Times
'Currents Of dark wit swirl through Banks' writing, enriching its buoyancy and like Graham Greene, he can readily open the reader's senses to the "foreign-ness" of places' Scotland on Sunday
'His technical facility with language now matches his instinct for storytelling, and the combination makes him one of the best British novelists' Guardian
'A Nineties' Robert Louis Stevenson at ease with fashion and faxes but still writing breathless adventure stories that never ignore the injustices and moral conundrums of the real world' Independent on Sunday
|About The Author|
lain Banks was born in Fife in 1954. An only child, his father was an Admiralty officer and his mother a professional ice skater. At Stirling University, he read English Literature with Philosophy and Psychology and he now holds honorary doctorates from that university and St. Andrews. During vacations, he took odd jobs as a hospital porter, estate worker, pier porter (on Clydeside docks), road worker, dustman and gardener. He now lives with his wife in Fife, in a house overlooking the Forth Bridge.
lain Banks had written several novels (mostly science fiction), before submitting The Wasp Factory to Macmillan Publishers. It was picked out of the publisher’s ‘slush pile’ as an unsolicited manuscript and published in 1984 (on lain’s 30th birthday).
The critical reaction varied widely from the Daily Telegraph ‘one of the most brilliant first novels I have come across for some time’ and the Financial Times, ‘A Gothic horror story of quite exceptional quality ...an outstandingly good read,’ to the Irish Times ‘It is a sick, sick world when the confidence and investment of an astute firm of publishers is justified by a work of unparalleled depravity’. The Mail on Sunday concluded ‘If a nastier, more vicious or distasteful novel appears this spring, I shall be surprised. But there is unlikely to be a better one either.’
After the publication of two further mainstream novels, Walking on Glass and The Bridge, Banks’ published his first science fiction novel, Consider Phlebas. In this novel, he introduced his socialist utopia, The Culture, which has featured in many of his SF novels in various guises. Banks took the opportunity of crossing genres to put back into his name the middle initial ‘M’ for Menzies, his family name.
A regular fixture on the bestseller lists, lain Banks’ novels have also been adapted variously: The Wasp Factory for theatre, Complicity for film and The Crow Road for television in a successful four-part BBC television series (now video), starring Joseph McFadden, Bill Paterson and Peter Capaldi. Espedair Street was serialised on BBC Radio Four early in 1998, with John Gordon Sinclair as Weird, Paul Gambuccini narrating and the songs and music written by Banks himself. In 1997, composer Gary Lloyd released a CD of music based around The Bridge that included passages from the book read by lain Banks. In 1993, Granta chose lain Banks as one of the Best of Young British Novelists.
A compilation of lain’s favourite records was released by EMI on CD in March 1999 as part of the Emi Songbook Series. Called Personal Effects, the songs range from Bowie to The Sex Pistols and from Radiohead to Neneh Cherry.
The Times has acclaimed lain Banks `the most imaginative British novelist of his generation’.
lain Banks lives in fife, Scotland.
Look to Windward
Orbit Pbk Aug 01
Little,Brown Aug 99
Pbk Aug 00
A Song Of Stone
Against A Dark Background
The Crow Road
The State of the Art
Use of Weapons
The Player of Games
Walking On Glass
The Wasp Factory
N.B. dates and publishers in dark red indicate British First Editions. Dates and publishers in black indicate recent reprints.