'the Culture decided to attempt to accomplish what the gods, it seemed, could not be bothered with'
'The Wasp Factory' (1984) put Iain Banks on the literary map as a sophisticated stylist with an exquisite instinct for the twisted and strange. The Orwellian resonance of its year of publication was perhaps appropriate, given Iain Banks's own exploration of the manipulation of power, both personal and political. 'Consider Phlebas' (1987) was the first of his science fiction books, published under the name 'Iain M Banks'. Full of imaginative verve, witty and at times terrifying, the series is set in 'The Culture', which spans the entire galaxy. His science fiction books included 'The Player of Games' (1988), 'Excession' (1996) and 'Look To Windward' (2000). Writing as plain 'Iain Banks', his restless, nomadic imagination produced a variety of novels. In 'The Bridge' (1986), a powerful allegorical fantasy, the Forth Road Bridge, which would have been a dominating landmark from his boyhood in North Queensferry, is transmuted into a living presence devoid of the reassuring quality of its picture-postcard image. Chilling, funny, violent, cheeky, sinister – Iain Banks was able to finesse mood and effect with charismatic fluency.
Iain Banks, Edinburgh, 1999.
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