It is with great sadness that I have learned today of the passing of Iain Banks, who also wrote as Iain M. Banks.
A message posted on Banksophilia, a website set up to provide fans with updates on the author, quoted his wife, Adele, saying: "Iain died in the early hours this morning. His death was calm and without pain."
Iain announced back in April that he had been diagnosed with cancer of the gallbladder and that it was terminal; news which sent shockwaves around the world.
As a writer held in great esteem by so many, we felt the shock very keenly here at the BSFA. Iain was, of course, one of our directors, and his work is beloved by many of our members. He won the 1994 BSFA Best Novel Award for his novel Feersum Endjinn, again in 1996 for Excession.
On the few occasions I had the opportunity to meet Iain Banks, I found him warm, witty and generous. I know that I, personally, will always remember those times with great fondness. It was so wonderful to discover that a writer whose work I loved, was also a person I very much liked.
Iain is going to be very much missed by the science fiction community and beyond. Our thoughts go out to Adele, and Iain's family and friends.
Iain Banks: 16.02.54 ~ 09.06.13