Iain M Banks’ first science fiction novel, Consider Phlebas, was published in 1987. Writing at a time when science fiction was experiencing a boom in the British publishing market, Banks is credited with leading the revival and regeneration of the genre and although his star may have recently sublimed from Earth, it continues to shine brightly in the genre in 2015.
Banks’ optimistically utopian novels set him apart from the crowd. His conception of ‘The Culture’, a pan-galactic utopian society in which age, gender, status and work are no longer fixed, but a matter of personal choice, presents as a force worth fighting for, an ideal state of living for characters and readers alike which he questions through the loyalties of his shape-shifting lead character.
The strength of Banks’ writing is his ability to create richly descriptive fantasy which remains grounded in the everyday. He painted the world beyond Earth as appealingly aspirational.
Over the course of his career in science fiction, Banks wrote ten sci-fi novels as well as a collection of stories. He was listed as one of the Times ‘Top 50 British writers since 1945’ for his achievements in both the literary and science fiction genres and has been nominated for and received a number of awards including: The British Association of Science Fiction Award, The Campbell award, The Prometheus Award and the Scottish Fiction Award in addition to awards in other countries.
Banks was so popular in the science fiction genre that in 2013, shortly after his death an asteroid was named after him. Asteroid 5099 Iain M Banks is now in eternal orbit to mark the significance of Banks both on Earth and in the world beyond, proving that his star still shines brightly. The One Giant Read website is gratefully dedicated to his memory.