Tributes paid to 'Wasp Factory' author Iain Banks after he dies from cancer: 'He's dead, I'm crying in an empty house'

 

Bestselling crime writer Ian Rankin has led tributes to his late friend Ian Banks, author of The Wasp Factory and The Crow Road, who died yesterday aged 59 just two months after announcing he had terminal cancer.

Rankin said his friend had “great imagination” and could be described as a writing machine who “was doing a book a year - a sci-fi novel, then a straight novel, then a sci fi novel”.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland Rankin praised his friend’s versatility as an author: "He could go off to science fiction conventions, he could go to comic shops and sign for people who were very excited to meet him and talk about this world that he created, this culture he created.

"But he could also go to traditional bookshops and talk to audiences, go to literary festivals, and he loved that he could do both of those."

Another fellow writer Ken MacLeod told BBC News:  “What Iain brought to his writing was himself. He brought a wonderful combination of the dark and the light side of life, and he explored them both without flinching.”

"He left us a very significant body of work both in mainstream literature and in science fiction. And he left a large gap in the Scottish literary scene as well as that of the wider English-speaking world."

Another close friend and author, Neil Gaiman, tweeted: "Iain Banks is dead. I'm crying in an empty house. A good man and a friend for almost 30 years."

Fife-born Banks broke the news of his gall bladder cancer last April with the words: “I am officially Very Poorly”.

He went on to document his experience of the disease in his blog. In his last update on 20 May he wrote that he was considering chemotherapy to prolong his life.

Rankin said this morning that Banks’ wife Adele had sent out an email yesterday warning friends about his sudden deterioration.

"Adele sent out an email yesterday evening to friends just to say on Tuesday he was being told he had a few months still and then suddenly on Wednesday there was a deterioration," Rankin said.

"There was still plenty to do and he was loving what life he had left. It's just one of the things with cancer, just when you're not looking, that's when it hits you in the face."

In a statement, Banks’ publisher Little Brown, said he was an irreplaceable part of the literary world.

“Banks has been one of the country's best-loved novelists for both his mainstream and science fiction books since the publication of his first novel, The Wasp Factory. Just three weeks ago he was presented with finished copies of his last novel, The Quarry, and enjoyed celebration parties with old friends and fans across the publishing world.

"Iain Banks's ability to combine the most fertile of imaginations with his own highly distinctive brand of gothic humour made him unique. He is an irreplaceable part of the literary world."

Banks had asked his publishers to bring forward the release date of The Quarry so he could see it on the shelves. Sadly he didn’t live to see that. The Quarry is due to hit bookshops in 10 days’ time.

The numerous other fellow authors to tribute to Banks on Twitter included John O'Farrell, Irvine Welsh, Warren Ellis and Deborah Beale.

Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond tweeted: "One of Scotland's literary greats who always approached life with extraordinary vitality."

Banks was born in Dunfermline, Fife, in 1954. An only child, he was the son of an Admiralty officer and an  ex-professional ice skater. He studied English literature with philosophy and psychology at Stirling University.

In 1979 he moved to London where he lived in a flat above the Camden music pub, the Hope and Anchor, while working in a law company as a costings clerk. He wrote several science fiction short stories (collected in The State of the Art in 1991). But it was not until Macmillan bought and published The Wasp Factory in 1984 that he could finally give up the day job.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmWith comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Off set: Bab El Hara
tvTV series are being filmed outside the country, but the influence of the regime is still being felt
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the first-look Fifty Shades of Grey movie still

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

film
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

film
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

    Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on