Scottish scifi author Iain M. Banks has managed to carve out his own realpolitik-laced subgenre in the world of space opera. Although he writes literary novels under the "pseudonym" Iain Banks, his science fiction is literary in its own right, full of artful surprises and sentient starships with motives far more complex than anything Ian "Atonement" McEwan could ever come up with. The author of nearly a dozen scifi books, including several devoted to a civilization called The Culture, Banks is known for world-building that encompasses the vast architectures created by space-going peoples as well as the intricate social structures needed to maintain them. We caught up with Banks on e-mail, and he talked to us about his new Culture novel Matter, galactic wars, his strange sense of humor, and how everything he creates is ultimately about wanting to blow shit up.
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