Iain Menzies Banks (born on February 16, 1954 in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland) writes mainstream novels as Iain Banks and science fiction as Iain M. Banks. Banks studied English and Philosophy at the University of Stirling.
As with his friend Ken MacLeod (another Scottish writer of technical and social science fiction) a strong awareness of left-wing history shows in his writings. The argument that an economy of abundance renders anarchy viable (or even inevitable) attracts many as an interesting potential experiment, were it ever to become testable.
Banks tends to write a novel in around three months, working solidly, then take nine months off. In his leisure time, he has had flying lessons and records his own rock music.
He has been the subject of a South Bank Show television programme.
He refuses to write magazine articles, reviews and other similar pieces.
He has made a guest appearance, as an extra, in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
His mainstream novels are:
The Wasp Factory (1984)
Walking on Glass (1985)
The Bridge (1986)
Espedair Street (1987) – adapted for BBC radio in 1998 (dir. Dave Batchelor)
Canal Dreams (1989)
The Crow Road (1992) – adapted for BBC TV in 1996 (dir. Gavin Millar)
Complicity (1993) – filmed in 2000 (dir. Gavin Millar), retitled Retribution for its US DVD/video release
A Song of Stone (1997)
The Business (1999)
Dead Air (2002)
Science Fiction novels
Much of his science fiction deals with a large pan-galactic civilisation, The Culture, which he describes in intricate detail:
Consider Phlebas (1987)
The Player of Games (1988)
The State of the Art (collection, 1989; not all stories deal with the Culture)
Use of Weapons (1990)
Inversions (1998) (makes covert references to the protagonists being Culture citizens)
Look to Windward (2000)
His other, non-Culture, science fiction novels are:
Against a Dark Background (1993)
Feersum Endjinn (1994)
The Algebraist (ISBN 1-841-49155-1) is a non-Culture science fiction novel by Iain M. Banks, to be published in the UK by Little Brown (an imprint of Time Warner) in October 2004.
Warning: Plot details follow.
Set in a 4034AD where mankind has spread through the galaxy, it centres around Fassin Taak, a Slow Seer at the Court of the Nasqueron Dwellers, a people who live around a gas giant on the far reaches of the galaxy, cut off from the rest of civilisation until its wormhole connection is built.
Raw Spirit (2003) (a travelogue of Scotland and its whisky distilleries)