The terrible news that Iain Banks is officially very poorly arrived today. Unlike others on these pages, I don’t know him personally, but his books have been a source not only of delight, but of inspiration.

I’m not a literary critic, so I won’t say any more about the writing style than that it makes me want to read more of it. Also, while I do (mostly) love the Iain Banks books, it is the Iain M. Banks version, and particularly The Culture, which has had the most impact on me, and which makes me want to write something, having heard that news today. In his Culture novels, Banks has created what as far as I know is the only convincing utopia in print.

Iain M Banks, and what we might be when we have nothing to fear.

If you think the Culture novels are simply and straightforwardly utopian, you’re not reading as carefully as you should.