The author Iain Banks has revealed that he is suffering from late stage cancer of the gall bladder and is only expected to live for “several months” more.
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. The bottom line, now, I'm afraid, is that as a late stage gall bladder cancer patient, I'm expected to live for 'several months' and it’s extremely unlikely I'll live beyond a year.
His latest novel, The Quarry, will now be his last – he explains that his publishers are hoping to bring forward its publication date so he will be around “when it hits the shelves”.
Banks’s novels include The Wasp Factory, The Crow Road and Complicity. He also wrote science fiction under the name Iain M Banks.
When he guest-edited the New Statesman in 2009, Ken Livingstone - a big fan of Banks's work - interviewed the author about, among other things, his science fiction writing. Banks talked about the way it had been perceived:
There is still a lot of snobbishness about it. There's an awful lot of people who did humanities at Oxbridge who are frightened of technology, and this is a genre that deals with technology and change, so it frightens them. My point has always been that, ever since the Industrial Revolution, science fiction has been the most important genre there is.
You can read their conversation in full here.