I have realised to my shame that I have never read any Iain Banks (with or
without the M). Can umrats recommend a good one to start with?
Of course you can. Sorry. What I mean is, would umrats be so kind as
to recommend a good one to start with?
Having read more or less everything he published, I'm finding it hard to
know where to start! My favourite SF one has to be "The Algebraist" which
contains the coolest alien ever. But if you're planning to real all his SF
ones eventually, start with "Consider Phlebus" because that's where you'll
learn what The Culture is all about, and an awful lot of his stories are set
in The Culture.
Non-SF? I wasn't keen on "The Wasp Factory" which has always seemed to me
like juvenalia, but all writers have to get that daft first novel out of the
way, don't they? I liked "The Bridge" which is rather surreal and centred
around the Forth Bridge (or was it the Forth Road Bridge? So long since I
read it!) He lived in North Queensferry, of course, so the old rail bridge
was right outside his window. I also liked "Canal Dreams" in which a woman
will put up just about anything until her 'cello is threatened.
The non-SF ones are all stand-alone books, though, and you can start
anywhere, whereas with the SF stuff, so much is set in The Culture that you
ought to read at least those ones in sequence. (When I'm asked silly
questions such as, "If you could live anywhere you like, in time or space,
real or fictional, where would you choose? I always reply, "The Culture.")
By the way, if you're not keen on people dying in gruesomely inventive
ways, with detailed descriptions thereof, don't even start on his books. You
have been warned!
I miss Iain Banks so much. I spent most of my adult life looking forward to
his next book, and now there will be no more ....
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