Scottish author Iain Banks has died at the age of 59 after a short battle with gall bladder cancer. He made a splash with his debut novel, The Wasp Factory, and continued to draw praise for his gritty realism. But he also found a second audience with his science fiction novels, written as Iain M. Banks. In these, starting with Consider Phlebas, he wrote unapologetic space opera, mostly in a far-future post-scarcity society called The Culture which dealt with human tragedy against a background of artificial intelligence, war and espionage.
Banks’ most recent book is the science fiction novel The Hydrogen Sonata, but his final work, a mainstream novel called The Quarry, is due out this month. When he announced his terminal illness April 3 on his website, he said he’d hoped to live long enough to see it in print. Sadly, he did not.