Sad, although expected, news: the great Scottish writer Iain (M.) Banks has died. Just two months ago he wrote an honest, clear-eyed note about his cancer, fully aware he would not live out the year. What bravery. I haven't read everything Banks wrote, but a couple of his works - The Player of Games (1988) and The Bridge (1986) - provided me with some of the most enjoyable reading I can remember. And I've always absolutely loved the cover art for his books published in the early 1990s, evoking as it does the epic grandeur of his space operas, all of which are filled with wit and drama, intellectual games, sharp characterization, beauty and sophistication - and yes, many a scene of alien guttural horror. I can't recommend his books highly enough!
Iain (Menzies) Banks, 1954 - 2013