One of the most inventive British authors, Iain Banks writes contemporary biting fiction and, under the name Iain M Banks, grand science fiction novels. He was born in Fife, and studied English, Philosophy and Psychology at Stirling University. His first novel, The Wasp Factory, established Banks as a new and fresh voice in Scottish writing. Many of his books share the dark tone of The Wasp Factory, although none are as graphically violent. Tackling politics, religion, pop culture, science and technology, Banks is unafraid of controversy. His fiction can be grounded in reality – Dead Air was one of the first post-9/11 novels – or in strange dreamscapes like the world of The Bridge.
His science fiction novels are mostly set in a futurist, idealistic, socialist anarchy called The Culture, where everything is possible and anyone can become anyone – or anything – they want. The non-Culture novels (Feersum Endjinn, Against A Dark Background and The Algebraist) are nevertheless fantastic worlds where technology and society are markedly different from our own.
Iain Banks usually rotates between ‘M’ and ‘non-M’ novels; the novel, The Steep Approach to Garbadale, was published in Spring 2007 and Matter, the subsequent Culture novel, was published in 2008.
In 2009 Banks dropped the ‘M’ in his name for the Science Fiction, but non-Culture, novel Transition.
In total Banks wrote twelve Science Fiction novels in addition to other fiction works. He died in 2013.