Sadly, it's not a novel — but it's still pretty exciting to have one last glimpse inside the mind of the legendary author. A collection of Banks' poetry, co-written by The Night Sessions author Ken MacLeod and edited by MacLeod, will be published on Feb. 16, 2015, which would have been Banks' 61st birthday.
Talking to the Guardian in his final ever interview, Banks revealed that his novel A Song of Stone had started life as a poem, and he had already published "bits here and there" of poetry:
Poems top and tail the story in Use of Weapons for example... The poems are a part of the desperate urge to get things that were supposed to be long-term projects out the way. I'm going to see if I can get a book of poetry published before I kick the bucket. I've got about 50 I'm proud of.
I've been trying to convince Ken MacLeod that he should come in with me on this as I've always loved Ken's poetry. That, and it gives me cover. It stops the book being what it really is, which is a bit of a vanity project."
So it sounds as though among these 50 poems, there will be some story fragments that could have turned into novels, if Banks had lived, judging from the reference to "things that were supposed to be long-term projects."
Separately, actor/comedian Simon Pegg came out with a tribute to Banks this month:
Whenever I am asked about a favourite book, I immediately think of The Wasp Factory. Iain Banks' beguiling novel is a funny, terrifying, beautiful piece of writing; a story told through the complex, compartmentalised thoughts of a calmly amoral, occasionally homicidal child, no more guilty of insanity than the questionable authority figures that surround this fractured youth. The Wasp Factory has stayed with me since the first of several reads and haunts me still, buried in my brain like maggots, the images appearing in my mind's eye like so many burning sheep on the horizon.
If I had only read this one book of Iain's and not devoured and enjoyed much of his other work, he would still be one of my all-time favourite authors.
Top image: Cover art for Banks' The Quarry. [via Iain-Banks.net]