Readers the world over have been hit with devastating news that celebrated Scottish author Iain Banks has been diagnosed with gall bladder cancer and may have only months to live.
As a writer of literary fiction his reputation is immense. His dark, savagely funny streak a joy, his view on the world truly that of a wonderful mind. His first novel The Wasp Factory, published in 1984, remains a defining work of fiction even today.
Banks also published ground-breaking science fiction novels under Iain M. Banks. He helped reinvigorate the flagging British Science Fiction community and turn it into a prolific force once again.
Banks made the announcement on his website with his usual black humour flourishing despite the grim news. “I’ve withdrawn from all planned public engagements and I’ve asked my partner Adele if she will do me the honour of becoming my widow (sorry – but we find ghoulish humour helps),” he wrote.
“When it hadn’t gone away by mid-February, I went to my GP, who spotted that I had jaundice. Blood tests, an ultrasound scan and then a CT scan revealed the full extent of the grisly truth by the start of March,” he wrote.
“I have cancer. It started in my gall bladder, has infected both lobes of my liver and probably also my pancreas and some lymph nodes, plus one tumour is massed around a group of major blood vessels in the same volume, effectively ruling out any chance of surgery to remove the tumours either in the short or long term.”
His publishers will bring forward the publication date of his new novel, The Quarry, “by as much as four months, to give me a better chance of being around when it hits the shelves”.
He said he and his new wife intend “to spend however much quality time I have left seeing friends and relations and visiting places that have meant a lot to us”.