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Works by
Iain Banks
(Aka Iain M. Banks, Iain Menzies Banks)
(Writer)
[February 16, 1954 - ]

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http://www.iain-banks.net
Profile created October 5, 2009
Writing as Iain Banks
Fiction
  • Transition (2009, UK) - to be published in the US as Iain M. Banks
    There is a world that hangs suspended between triumph and catastrophe, between the dismantling of the Wall and the fall of the Twin Towers, frozen in the shadow of suicide terrorism and global financial collapse. Such a world requires a firm hand and a guiding light. But does it need the Concern: an all-powerful organization with a malevolent presiding genius, pervasive influence and numberless invisible operatives in possession of extraordinary powers?

    Among those operatives are Temudjin Oh, of mysterious Mongolian origins, an un-killable assassin who journeys between the peaks of Nepal, a version of Victorian London and the dark palaces of Venice under snow; Adrian Cubbish, a restlessly greedy City trader; and a nameless, faceless state-sponsored torturer known only as the Philosopher, who moves between time zones with sinister ease. Then there are those who question the Concern: the bandit queen Mrs. Mulverhill, roaming the worlds recruiting rebels to her side; and Patient 8262, under sedation and feigning madness in a forgotten hospital ward, in hiding from a dirty past.

    There is a world that needs help; but whether it needs the Concern is a different matter.

  • The Steep Approach to Garbadale (2007)
    Dark family secrets and a long-lost love affair lie at the heart of Iain Banks's fabulous new novel. The Wopuld family built its fortune on a board game called Empire! - now a hugely successful computer game. So successful, the American Spraint Corp wants to buy the firm out. Young renegade Alban, who has been evading the family clutches for years, is run to ground and persuded to attend the forthcoming family gathering - part birthday party, part Extraordinary General Meeting - convened by Win, Wopuld matriarch and most powerful member of the board, at Garbadale, the family's highland castle. Being drawn back into the bosom of the clan brings a disconcerting confrontation with Alban's past. What drove his mother to take her own life? And is he ready to see Sophie, his beautiful cousin and teenage love? Grandmother Win's revelations wll radically alter Alban's perspective for ever.

  • Dead Air (2002)
    Iain Banks' daring new novel opens in a loft apartment in the East End, in a former factory due to be knocked down in a few days. Ken Nott is a devoutly contrarian vaguely left wing radio shock-jock living in London. After a wedding breakfast people start dropping fruits from a balcony on to a deserted carpark ten storeys below, then they start dropping other things; an old TV that doesn't work, a blown loudspeaker, beanbags, other unwanted furniture...Then they get carried away and start dropping things that are still working, while wrecking the rest of the apartment. But mobile phones start ringing and they're told to turn on a TV, because a plane has just crashed into the World Trade Centre. At ease with the volatility of modernity, Iain Banks is also our most accomplished literary writer of narrative-driven adventure stories that never ignore the injustices and moral conundrums of the real world. His new novel, displays his trademark dark wit, buoyancy and momentum.

  • The Business (1999)
    The Business, a nearly omnipotent enterprise, is so infinitely discreet that even its top executives are vague about its actual business. It predates the Christian church and counts among its vast riches dozens of Michelangelo's pornographic paintings and several sets of Crown jewels. The only thing it lacks is political clout, a problem the Business plans to solve by buying a nation and joining the United Nations. Kate Telman, the Business's foremost expert on emerging technologies, is chosen to lead the effort. As this beautiful, ambitious American woman pursues the ultimate prize for her highly secretive transglobal employer, Iain Banks -- whom The Times of London calls "the most imaginative British novelist of his generation" -- offers a portrait of today's ubiquitous multinational corporations. Already a bestseller in England, The Business paints a picture that is at once wickedly satirical and frighteningly familiar.

  • A Song of Stone (1997)
    A European nation not unlike Bosnia: armed forces roam the lawless land where dark columns of smoke rise up from the surrounding farms and houses. The war is ending, perhaps ended. But for the castle and its occupants, a young lord and lady, the trouble is just beginning.

    Fearing an invasion of soldiers, the amorous couple takes to the road with the other refugees, disguised in rags. But the brutal female lieutenant of an outlaw band of guerrillas has other ideas. Just hours into their escape, the fleeing aristocrats are delivered back to the castle, where, now prisoners in their own home, they become pawns in the lieutenant's dangerous game of desire, deceit, and death.

    A Song of Stone demonstrates Iain Banks's unique ability to combine gripping narrative with a soaring, voyaging imagination. This noir fable confirms his reputation as the master of things dark and debauched. Singular, haunting, and viciously wry, A Song of Stone is a tour de force of contemporary fiction.

  • The Wasp Factory (1984)
    Meet Frank Cauldhame. Just sixteen, and unconventional to say the least:

    Two years after I killed Blyth I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different and more fundamental reasons than I'd disposed of Blyth, and then a year after that I did for my young cousin Esmerelda, more or less on a whim.

    That's my score to date. Three. I haven't killed anybody for years, and don't intend to ever again.

    It was just a stage I was going through.

  • Whit (1995)
    A little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing. Innocent in the ways of the world, an ingenue when it comes to pop and fashion, the Elect of God of a small but committed Stirlingshire religious cult: Isis Whit is no ordinary teenager. When her cousin Morag - Guest of Honour at the Luskentyrian's four- yearly Festival of Love - disappears after renouncing her faith, Isis is marked out to venture among the Unsaved and bring the apostate back into the fold. But the road to Babylondon (as Sister Angela puts it) is a treacherous one, particularly when Isis discovers that Morag appears to have embraced the ways of the Unsaved with spectacular abandon. Truth and falsehood; kinship and betrayal; 'herbal' cigarettes and compact discs - Whit is an exploration of the techno-ridden barrenness of modern Britain from a unique perspective.

  • Complicity (1993)
    COMPLICITY n. 1. the fact of being an accomplice, esp. in a criminal act

    Local journalist Cameron Colley writes articles that are idealistic, from the viewpoint of the underdog. A twisted serial killer seems to have the same MO -- he commits brutal murders on behalf of the underdog. As the two stories begin to merge, Cameron finds himself inextricably and inexplicably implicated by the killer.

    When the arms dealer whom Cameron plans to expose is found literally "disarmed" before Cameron can even put pen to paper and the brewery chief, loathed by Cameron, who sold out at the expense of his workers finds himself permanently unemployable, the police become convinced of Cameron's guilt, as do half his friends and colleagues, forcing Cameron to employ all his investigative skills to find the real killer and his motive.
    MOVIE: Complicity (2000), Gavin Millar, director with Brian Cox and Jonny Lee Miller  DVD VHS.
    Also known as Retribution (DVD , VHS).

  • The Crow Road (1992)
    "It was the day my grandmother exploded. I sat in the crematorium, listening to my Uncle Hamish quietly snoring in harmony to Bach’s Mass in B Minor, and I reflected that it always seemed to be death that drew me back to Gallanach."

    So begins Iain Banks’ The Crow Road, the tale of Prentice McHoan and his complex but enduring Scottish family. Prentice, preoccupied with thoughts of sex, death, booze, drugs, and God, has returned to his home village of Gallanach full of questions about the McHoan past, present, and future.

    When his beloved Uncle Rory disappears, Prentice becomes obsessed with the papers Rory left behind — the notes and sketches for a book called The Crow Road. With the help of an old friend, Prentice sets out to solve the mystery of his uncle’s disappearance, inadvertently confronting the McHoans’ long association with tragedy — an association that includes his sister’s fatal car crash and his father’s dramatic death by lightning.

    The Crow Road is a coming-of-age story as only Iain Banks could write — an arresting combination of dark humor, menace, and thought-provoking meditations on the nature of love, mortality, and identity.

  • Canal Dreams (1989)
    Hisako Onoda, world famous cellist, refuses to fly. And so she travels to Europe as a passenger on a tanker bound through the Panama Canal. But Panama is a country whose politics are as volatile as the local freedom fighters. When Hisako's ship is captured, it is not long before the atmosphere is as flammable as an oxy-acetylene torch, and the tension as sharp as the spike on her cello. Canal Dreams is a novel of deceptive simplicity and dark, original power: stark psychological insights mesh with vividly realized scenarios in an ominous projection of global realpolitik. The result is yet another major landmark in the quite remarkable career of an outstanding modern novelist.

  • Espedair Street (1987)
    Daniel used to be a famous, not to say infamous, rock star. At 31 he has been both a brilliant failure and a dull success. He's made a lot of mistakes that paid off and a lot of smart moves he'll regret forever. Contemplating his life, he realizes he has only two problems: the past and the future.

  • The Bridge (1986)
    The man who wakes up in the extraordinary world of a bridge has amnesia, and his doctor doesn't seem to want to cure him. Does it matter? Exploring the bridge occupies most of his days. But at night there are his dreams. Dreams in which desperate men drive sealed carriages across barren mountains to a bizarre rendezvous; an illiterate barbarian storms an enchanted tower under a stream of verbal abuse; and broken men walk forever over bridges without end, taunted by visions of a doomed sexuality. Lying in bed unconscious after an accident wouldn't be much fun, you'd think. Oh yes? It depends who and what you've left behind. Which is the stranger reality, day or night? Frequently hilarious and consistently disturbing, The Bridge is a novel of outrageous contrasts, constructed chaos and elegant absurdities.

  • Walking on Glass (1985)
    By the author of "Canal Dreams" and "The Wasp Factory", this novel is about three men - Graham Park, Steven Grant and Quiss. No trio of people could be further apart, but their separate courses are set for collision.

Non-fiction
Writing as Iain M. Banks
Fiction

The Culture Series

  1. Consider Phlebas (1987)
    The war raged across the galaxy. Billions had died, billions more were doomed. Moons, planets, the very stars themselves, faced destruction, cold-blooded, brutal, and worse, random. The Idirans fought for their Faith; the Culture for its moral right to exist. Principles were at stake. There could be no surrender.

    Within the cosmic conflict, an individual crusade. Deep within a fabled labyrinth on a barren world, a Planet of the Dead proscribed to mortals, lay a fugitive Mind. Both the Culture and the Idirans sought it. It was the fate of Horza, the Changer, and his motley crew of unpredictable mercenaries, human and machine, actually to find it, and with it their own destruction.

  2. The Player of Games (1988)
    The Culture - a human/machine symbiotic society - has thrown up many great Game Players, and one of the greatest is Gurgeh. Jernau Morat Gurgeh. The Player of Games. Master of every board, computer and strategy. Bored with success, Gurgeh travels to the Empire of Azad, cruel and incredibly wealthy, to try their fabulous game...a game so complex, so like life itself, that the winner becomes emperor. Mocked, blackmailed, almost murdered, Gurgeh accepts the game, and with it the challenge of his life - and very possibly his death.

  3. Use of Weapons (1990)
    The man known as Cheradenine Zakalwe was one of Special Circumstances' foremost agents, changing the destiny of planets to suit the Culture through intrigue, dirty tricks and military action.

    The woman known as Diziet Sma had plucked him from obscurity and pushed him towards his present eminence, but despite all their dealings she did not know him as well as she thought.

    The drone known as Skaffen-Amtiskaw knew both of these people. It had once saved the woman's life by massacring her attackers in a particularly bloody manner. It believed the man to be a lost cause. But not even its machine could see the horrors in his past.

    Ferociously intelligent, both witty and horrific, Use of Wespons is a masterpiece of science fiction.

  4. Excession (1996)
    Iain M. Banks is a true original, an author whose brilliant speculative fiction has transported us into worlds of unbounded imagination and inimitable revelatory power. Now he takes us on the ultimate trip: to the edge of possibility and to the heart of a cosmic puzzle....

    Diplomat Byr Genar-Hofoen has been selected by the Culture to undertake a delicate and dangerous mission. The Department of Special Circumstances--the Culture's espionage and dirty tricks section--has sent him off to investigate a 2,500-year-old mystery: the sudden disappearance of a star fifty times older than the universe itself. But in seeking the secret of the lost sun, Byr risks losing himself.

    There is only one way to break the silence of millennia: steal the soul of the long-dead starship captain who first encountered the star, and convince her to be reborn. And in accepting this mission, Byr will be swept into a vast conspiracy that could lead the universe into an age of peace...or to the brink of annihilation.

  5. Inversions (1998)
    Iain M. Banks, the international bestselling author of The Player of Games and Consider Phlebas, is a true original, a literary visionary whose brilliant speculative fiction has transported us into worlds of unbounded imagination. Now, in his acclaimed new novel, Banks presents an engrossing portrait of an alien world, and of two very different people bound by a startling and mysterious secret.

    On a backward world with six moons, an alert spy reports on the doings of one Dr. Vosill, who has mysteriously become the personal physician to the king despite being a foreigner and, even more unthinkably, a woman. Vosill has more enemies than she first realizes. But then she also has more remedies in hand than those who wish her ill can ever guess.

    Elsewhere, in another palace across the mountains, a man named DeWar serves as chief bodyguard to the Protector General of Tassasen, a profession he describes as the business of "assassinating assassins." DeWar, too, has his enemies, but his foes strike more swiftly, and his means of combating them are more direct.

    No one trusts the doctor, and the bodyguard trusts no one, but is there a hidden commonality linking their disparate histories? Spiraling around a central core of mystery, deceit, love, and betrayal. Inversions is a dazzling work of science fiction from a versatile and imaginative author writing at the height of his remarkable powers.

  6. Look to Windward (2000)
    The Twin Novae battle had been one of the last of the Idiran war, and one of the most horrific: desperate to avert their inevitable defeat, the Idirans had induced not one but two suns to explode, snuffing out worlds and biospheres teeming with sentient life. They were attacks of incredible proportion -- gigadeathcrimes. But the war ended, and life went on.

    Now, eight hundred years later, light from the first explosion is about to reach the Masaq' Orbital, home to the Culture's most adventurous and decadent souls. There it will fall upon Masaq's 50 billion inhabitants, gathered to commemorate the deaths of the innocent and to reflect, if only for a moment, on what some call the Culture's own complicity in the terrible event.

    Also journeying to Masaq' is Major Quilan, an emissary from the war-ravaged world of Chel. In the aftermath of the conflict that split his world apart, most believe he has come to Masaq' to bring home Chel's most brilliant star and self-exiled dissident, the honored Composer Ziller.

    Ziller claims he will do anything to avoid a meeting with Major Quilan, who he suspects has come to murder him. But the Major's true assignment will have far greater consequences than the death of a mere political dissident, as part of a conspiracy more ambitious than even he can know -- a mission his superiors have buried so deeply in his mind that even he cannot remember it.

    Hailed by SFX magazine as "an excellent hopping-on point if you've never read a Banks SF novel before," Look to Windward is an awe-inspiring immersion into the wildly original, vividly realized civilization that Banks calls the Culture.

  7. Matter (2008)
    In a world renowned even within a galaxy full of wonders, a crime within a war. For one brother it means a desperate flight, and a search for the one - maybe two - people who could clear his name. For his brother it means a life lived under constant threat of treachery and murder. And for their sister, even without knowing the full truth, it means returning to a place she'd thought abandoned forever.

    Only the sister is not what she once was; Djan Seriy Anaplian has changed almost beyond recognition to become an agent of the Culture's Special Circumstances section, charged with high-level interference in civilisations throughout the greater galaxy.

    Concealing her new identity - and her particular set of abilities - might be a dangerous strategy, however. In the world to which Anaplian returns, nothing is quite as it seems; and determining the appropriate level of interference in someone else's war is never a simple matter.

    MATTER is a novel of dazzling wit and serious purpose. An extraordinary feat of storytelling and breathtaking invention on a grand scale, it is a tour de force from a writer who has turned science fiction on its head.

  8. Transition (2009, US)
    There is a world that hangs suspended between triumph and catastrophe, between the dismantling of the Wall and the fall of the Twin Towers, frozen in the shadow of suicide terrorism and global financial collapse. Such a world requires a firm hand and a guiding light. But does it need the Concern: an all-powerful organization with a malevolent presiding genius, pervasive influence and numberless invisible operatives in possession of extraordinary powers?

    Among those operatives are Temudjin Oh, of mysterious Mongolian origins, an un-killable assassin who journeys between the peaks of Nepal, a version of Victorian London and the dark palaces of Venice under snow; Adrian Cubbish, a restlessly greedy City trader; and a nameless, faceless state-sponsored torturer known only as the Philosopher, who moves between time zones with sinister ease. Then there are those who question the Concern: the bandit queen Mrs. Mulverhill, roaming the worlds recruiting rebels to her side; and Patient 8262, under sedation and feigning madness in a forgotten hospital ward, in hiding from a dirty past.

    There is a world that needs help; but whether it needs the Concern is a different matter.

Non-Culture Novels

  • The Algebraist (2004)
    It is 4034 AD. Humanity has made it to the stars. Fassin Taak, a Slow Seer at the Court of the Nasqueron Dwellers, will be fortunate if he makes it to the end of the year. The Nasqueron Dwellers inhabit a gas giant on the outskirts of the galaxy, in a system awaiting its wormhole connection to the rest of civilization. In the meantime, they are dismissed as decadents living in a state of highly developed barbarism, hoarding data without order, hunting their own young and fighting pointless formal wars. Seconded to a military-religious order he's barely heard of - part of the baroque hierarchy of the Mercatoria, the latest galactic hegemony - Fassin Taak has to travel again amongst the Dwellers. He is in search of a secret hidden for half a billion years. But with each day that passes a war draws closer - a war that threatens to overwhelm everything and everyone he's ever known.

  • Feersum Endjinn (1994)
    Count Alandre Sessine VII has already died seven times. He has only one life left - one last chance to catch his killer. His only clues point to a conspiracy beyond his own murder. For a catastrophe is fast approaching the earth from which there is no escape - until a loophole through apocalypse is discovered. And a chosen few will do anything to keep it a secret. Someone has betrayed Sessine, killed him before he could uncover the truth. Now he has three days before his funeral to live the way men used to live: restricted to one life where one mistake could be his last. Suddenly he finds himself an outlaw, a fugitive, a desperado. And his only hope of survival is finding others like himself. Others who hold a piece of the puzzle to an enigmatic weapon of salvation and chaos...

  • Against a Dark Background (1993)
    Sharrow was once the leader of a personality-attuned combat team in one of the sporadic little commercial wars in the civilization based around the planet Golter. Now she is hunted by the Huhsz, a religious cult which believes that she is the last obstacle before the faith's apotheosis, and her only hope of escape is to find the last of the apocalyptically powerful Lazy Guns before the Huhsz find her.

    Her journey through the exotic Golterian system is a destructive and savage odyssey into her past, and that of her family and of the system itself.

Short Fiction
  • The State of the Art (1970, 1991, 2007)
    The first ever collection of Iain Banks' short fiction, this volume includes the acclaimed novella, The State of the Art. This is a striking addition to the growing body of Culture lore, and adds definition and scale to the previous works by using the Earth of 1977 as contrast. The other stories in the collection range from science fiction to horror, dark-coated fantasy to morality tale. All bear the indefinable stamp of Iain Banks' staggering talent.

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