The Sorrow of Silence

Iain (M) Banks has died. If you’ve never read Culture (with the M) or his other fiction (without) you’ve missed out on one of Scotland’s finest writers.

Culture is a hybrid, liberal in the far future, in a world where humanity (in the loosest sense of the term) has exceeded it’s biological limitations. As with all scifi, he uses Culture to explore contemporary issues, but also to explore possibilities. He uses – used – a range of forms, and perspectives to explore his speculative realities in ways which surprise, delight and engross you, the reader. He transported me, a scifi veteran, to worlds I hadn’t imagined by ships which have personalities I fear may not be far off mine. When you identify with a ship, you know the author is something special.

If you want to read him, start with Consider Phlebas.

I shall leave by recalling the names of Culture ships; not only because they are in every sense his biggest creations, but because, I suspect, they were the deepest reflections of his character.

  • Prosthetic Conscience
  • Irregular Apocalypse
  • Screw Loose
  • Just Read The Instructions
  • Cargo Cult
  • Kiss My Ass
  • Very Little Gravitas
  • Size Isn’t Everything
  • I Thought He Was With You
  • Grey Area (aka Meatfucker)
  • Zero Gravitas
  • Resistance Is Character-Forming
  • We Haven’t Met, But You’re A Great Fan Of Mine
  • Pride Comes Before A Fall
  • Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall
  • It’s My Party And I’ll Sing If I Want To
  • Lightly Seared On The Reality Grill
  • Falling Outside The Normal Moral Constraints
  • Questionable Ethics
  • Refreshingly Unconcerned With the Vulgar Exigencies of Veracity
  • Displacement Activity

He named the following ships when another culture criticised the lack of gravitas when ships named themselves:

  • Stood Far Back When The Gravitas Was Handed Out
  • Gravitas, What Gravitas?
  • Gravitas… Gravitas… No, Don’t Help Me, I’ll Get It In A Moment…
  • Gravitas Free Zone
  • Low Gravitas Warning Signal
  • Absolutely No You-Know-What

About David Waldock

Open University graduate, health and life science at undergraduate level, science and society at post-graduate. Interested in how the Internet is transforming the ways in which the public(s) engage with science(s). Also interested in "the skeptical movement" as a form of science activism and it's effectiveness in achieving its goals. Interested in the representation of LGB types in science and in the periscience communities. Work for a well known and loved public institution. Views are mine and not necessarily my employers.

One response to “The Sorrow of Silence”

  1. Brian M says :

    Found your blog via Jonny S.

    This is sad, sad news. i had read that he was gravely ill but did not realize how bad it was.

    R.I.P. Iain. 😦

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