Banks at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, 18 August 2009
|Born||16 February 1954
Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland
|Died||9 June 2013
Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland
|Pen name||Iain M. Banks|
|Spouse||Annie Blackburn (1992â€“2009; divorced)
Adele Hartley (29 March 2013 â€“ 9 June 2013; his death)
As long as a film stays unmade, the book is entirely yours, it belongs to the writer. As soon as you make it into a film, suddenly more people see it than have ever read the book.
I still find it hard to understand that anyone could argue that you can't have machines that exhibit consciousness.
I'm not a great believer in awards-of course the fact that I've never won one has nothing to do with it at all!
Smell is a very animal thing, almost reptilian, where the more cerebral things like reading less so.
Most mainstream male fiction is littered with heroines, and female characters are basically so great, you want to fall in love with them.
Science fiction has its own history, its own legacy of what's been done, what's been superseded, what's so much part of the furniture it's practically part of the fabric now, what's become no more than a joke… and so on. It's just plain foolish, as well as comically arrogant, to ignore all this, to fail to do the most basic research.
You have to have something worth saying and then the ability to say it- writing's a double skill, really.
In theory, I work an eight-hour day and a five-day week which means I can socialise with my pals who mostly have normal jobs like teaching and computer programming.
I think a lot of people are frightened of technology and frightened of change, and the way to deal with something you're frightened of is to make fun of it. That's why science fiction fans are dismissed as geeks and nerds.
I'm an only child so am happy with my own company and I don't really get lonely.
My point has always been that, ever since the Industrial Revolution, science fiction has been the most important genre there is.
Science fiction is trying to find alternative ways of looking at realities.
I don't really do themes. I might accidentally, but themes are an emergent phenomena of the writing of the book, of just trying to get a story out there.
I love writing and can't imagine not being able to do it. I want an easy life and if it had been difficult I wouldn't be doing it. I do admire writers who do it even though it costs them.
I've always loved Scotland, and I'm not a huge fan of big cities, to be honest. I like them to dip into for a bit, but I'm not sure I would want to live in one again.
Technology determines the possibilities of society. It doesn't matter whether you start out from a fascist state or a communist state or a free-market state.
Even in my side of the world, I've been in publishing for what, 25 or 26 years, and it's gone from being a gentlemen's club to being a few big players, and it's very corporatised.
You get so caught up in what you're writing – action sequences tend to do that more than anything else because you're living it, and feeling for your characters.
I enjoy it too much – even if I knew I'd never get a book published, I would still write. I enjoy the experience of getting thoughts and ideas and plots and characters organised into this narrative framework.
I just come up with the stories and write them as well as I can. There's not really a great deal of strokey-beard thinking going on.
There is a quite a lot of effort involved but I find action sequences some of the quickest to write and the most fun.
I remember being shocked when I discovered some of my school pals didn't have books in their homes. I thought it was like not having oxygen, or hot water.
'Dead Air' is full of rants; it's a rant-based book. Yes, it's self-indulgence. I plead guilty; mea culpa.
I think the future stopped looking American when you think back to Blade Runner and Neuromancer, when it started to look more Japanese.
In so much of politics you're not allowed to disagree with what's been agreed.
Torture is such a slippery slope; as soon as you allow a society or any legal system to do that, almost instantly you get a situation where people are being tortured for very trivial reasons.
I still have some of my old University essays, and I do still have my drawing book from primary year seven.
I deliberately keep myself apart from a lot of stuff; I don't Tweet, I don't do Facebook, I don't blog, and that's largely because I spend my working life staring at a screen and hitting a keyboard, I am trying to cut down on that, not increase it.
A lot of what the 'Culture' is about is a reaction to all the science fiction I was reading in my very early teens.
As a writer, you get to play, you get alter time, you get to come up with the smart lines and the clever comebacks you wish you'd thought of.