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The Science Fiction of Iain M. Banks

Nick Hubble, Esther MacCallum-Stewart and Joseph Norman (eds)



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Product details

02 Jan 2018

ISBN 9781780240541 (Paperback)
282 pp., Free UK Shipping


Critics have paid less attention to Banks’s SF than his ‘mainstream’ work although a substantial body of scholarship on the Culture series has developed since at least 1996, significantly increasing in volume since around the time of Banks’s death in 2013. Banks’s non-Culture SF such as The Algebraist, Feersum Endjinn and Against a Dark Background has received the least attention of his oeuvre to date. This study provides a comprehensive overview of the author's science fiction, determining unique areas of connection.


Iain Banks (with or without the M.) is a writer who repays close attention. Under the joyous razzamatazz of his storytelling, there is always a great deal more going on. The different voices in this collection open up new readings, new perspectives, new excitements in his work, without ever forgetting the sheer fun of his novels. (Paul Kincaid, author of Iain M. Banks, Modern Masters of Science Fiction).

The Science Fiction of Iain M. Banks takes the reader through the imaginings of a truly wondrous player of games, where we see Banks’ love of life transformed into a love of all life. Bringing his epic space opera into closer focus, this book examines Banks’ far future scenarios, where technology reigns supreme and where humanity is merely a control experiment. (Patricia Kerslake, author of Science Fiction and Empire)

Iain M. Banks holds a special place in the hearts of sf readers and this collection of smart essays reminds us how brilliantly clever and challenging he was even at his most playful. For any fan of the Culture novels and stories, this is essential reading. (Andrew M. Butler, author of Solar Flares: Science Fiction in the 1970s).



List of Abbreviations

A Timeline of Iain (M.) Banks’s (Science) Fiction
David Haddock

1. Introduction
Nick Hubble, Esther MacCallum-Stewart and Joseph Norman

2. Only Matter is Innocent: Iain Banks as Science Fiction Reader, Writer and Fan
Ken MacLeod

3. A Conversation with Iain (M.) Banks
David Smith

4. ‘Once upon a time, over the gravity well and far away … ’: Fairy-Tale Narratives in Iain M. Banks’s Science Fiction
Nick Hubble

5. Hearing the Culture: Music and Utopianism in Iain M. Banks’s Space Opera
Joseph Norman

6. Playing Games with Gods: Iain M. Banks and John Fowles
Martyn Colebrook

7. The Gaming of Players: Jamming Azad
Esther MacCallum-Stewart

8. Azad: Design and Practice
Ian Sturrock

9. Forceful and Fuzzy Games in the Novels of Iain M. Banks
Jo Lindsay Walton

10. ‘Cannibals from Outer Space!’: Symbolic Violence sand the Cannibalism of the Other
Jude Roberts

11. The Sublime in Iain M. Banks’s ‘Culture’ Novels
Jim Clarke

12. Inside the Whale and Outside Context Problems
Robert Duggan

Notes on Contributors


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