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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Muscling in: Noah Stewart and Julia Bullock in 'The Indian Queen'

opera
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TVViewers predict what will happen to Miller and Hardy
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in season two of the series

Watch the new House of Cards series three trailer

TV
Arts and Entertainment
An extract from the sequel to Fight Club

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant, Eve Myles and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch series two

TV Review
Arts and Entertainment
Old dogs are still learning in 'New Tricks'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest' - and other Neil Patrick Harris Oscars jokes

Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Patricia Arquette making her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress Award

Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears

Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

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.

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn