Novelist Iain Banks thanks fans for messages since he announced he has cancer

Having just returned from his honeymoon, the author says he was 'truly stunned' by the reaction

The Scottish novelist Iain Banks has said he was "truly stunned" by fans' online reaction to his announcement that he has terminal cancer.

The science fiction author announced earlier this month that he was "officially Very Poorly," writing: "The bottom line, now, I'm afraid, is that as a late stage gall bladder cancer patient, I'm expected to live for 'several months' and it’s extremely unlikely I'll live beyond a year. So it looks like my latest novel, The Quarry, will be my last."

Since then he has married his new wife Adele, and says they spent their honeymoon in "mostly-sunny-with-a-touch-of-rain Venice and then mostly-rainy-with-a-touch-of-sun Paris."

And in a blog post this week, he thanked fans for their support and pledged to write to the authors he admires, telling them as much.

"Good grief!," he wrote, "what an outpouring of love, affection and respect. I honestly had no idea. Of course I’ve always known I have a fair few fans, and I’ve always been a fan of my fans.

"However. Discovering the sheer extent and depth of the feelings people have expressed on the message board over the past two weeks has been truly astounding.

"I feel treasured, I feel loved, I feel I’ve done more than just pursue the craft I adore and make a living from it, and more than just fulfil the only real ambition I’ve ever had – of becoming a professional writer. I am deeply flattered and touched, and I can’t deny I’ve been made to feel very special indeed.

"I need to tell other writers how much their work has meant to me while they are (and I am) still alive. Means writing yet more letters, but I feel it’d be hypocritical of me not to, now. I think I’ll start with the amazing Mr Alasdair Gray."

Banks says he is still working on his next novel, which is out on 20 June.

It is, said publisher Little, Brown: "a virtuoso performance whose soaring riffs on the inexhaustible marvel of human perception and rage against the dying of the light will stand among Iain Banks' greatest work".

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