Iain Banks is an author. He writes regular novels (with a dark and sometimes disgusting slant) and science fiction novels (with a lighter although still quite dark slant). He always keeps a sense of humour in his writing, which helps quite a bit with some of the more disturbing parts of his imagination (cf, The Wasp Factory or Complicity). Mr. Banks is from Edinburgh.

His SF writing is set in the utopian paradise (or is it?) of The Culture.

Iain (M) Banks writes under two names, Iain Banks and Iain M Banks. The M in his name comes from one of his grandparents who was angry when he didn't use his full name upon publishing his first book, The Wasp Factory.

When he published his first SF novel, Consider Phlebas, he used the M to help distinguish his SF from his straight work.

non-SF SF

Just in case you were wondering, the M stands for Menzies.

Iain Menzies Banks was born 16th February, 1954, to a sailor and an ex-professional ice skater in Fife, Scotland. During his time in Sterling University, he spent a day as an extra in Monty Python's Monty Python and the Holy Grail, doing menial jobs in the holidays to earn some more money.

After hitchhiking around Europe, he worked for British Steel as a non-destructive testing technician, and his time spent at Nigg Bay was part of the inspiration for The Wasp Factory, for IBM 'trying to make sure that vital computer components urgently required in Cape Town or Johannesburg went via interesting places like Reykjavik, Anchorage, [and] Ulan Bator.' [1]. He moved to Kent when The Wasp Factory was published in 1984, under the name 'Iain M. Banks', and was able to give up the day job.

It was a mistake. It seemed like a good idea at the time... I put in the manuscript of The Wasp Factory as Iain M. Banks, and my publishers then, Macmillan, thought the M. was a little fussy, and would I mind losing it. But then I got grief from my family - 'Are you ashamed of being a Menzies, then?'

When the first science-fiction novel was coming out I had thought of using a pseudonym and then decided against, but I had what I thought was a good idea and said, 'let's put the M. back.' But I regret doing it, intensely now, because I'm always answering questions about it, and also because it passes on ammunition to the literary snobs who just assume that I make the distinction because I'm writing down when I'm writing science fiction.

Interview from Wired magazine, June 1996, taken from Iain M. Banks

Other highlights of his life include getting a photostory rejected by Viz magazine, on the grounds that it was in poor taste, scaling the Metropole Hotel, Brighton, and sitting in on a Creative Writing class he was supposed to be teaching at Stirling University (who rather nicely gave him a honourary doctorate.)

Iain Banks died at age 59 on June 9, 2013, a few months after announcing he had terminal gall bladder cancer.

[1]: James Thin - Iain Banks Page: http://www.jthin.co.uk/banks1.htm<.p>

It's not quite cut-and-paste, but it's not wonderful, either. Don't bless it.

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