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»As we walk to the door, Banks pulls one final, left-field surprise. »Do you know that I know what caused the cancer?« I think I pull a face like Macaulay Culkin in . »Cosmic ray,« he says. »I won’t brook any contradiction; it was a high-energy particle. A star exploded hundreds or thousands of years ago and ever since there’s been a cosmic ray – a bad-magic bullet with my name on it, to quote Ken – heading towards the moment where it hit one of my cells and mutated it. That’s an SF author’s way to bow out; none of this banal transcription error stuff.« Then the moment comes that I was dreading … but he says »See you soon« instead.

Stuart Kelly

Author Iain Banks died last Sunday, just before the publication of his final novel The Quarry. Last month he talked to Stuart Kelly about writing, politics and all the things still left to do. Read the final interview at The Guardian.

»But then for 29 years, starting with the appalling and possibly homicidal Frank in The Wasp Factory, Banks has made it his business to inspire sympathy for monsters. He wants us to view characters that might be described as human blots on the landscape in the same way that he wants us to look at quarries and bombsites: to consider that they are worth thinking about and might, potentially, even contain something beautiful.«

Jake Kerridge

The final novel The Quarry by Iain Banks, who died on Sunday, is a dark satire about old friends, lost dreams and approaching mortality, says Jake Kerridge. His review at The Telegraph.

»Mr. Banks considered the Culture universe a positive view of the future. ›It’s my secular heaven‹ he said. ›It’s where I want to go, well, when I’m still alive.‹«

Daniel E. Slotnik

Obituary: Daniel E. Slotnik about Iain Banks, who died on Sunday. Read more at The New York Times.