Page 1 of 4
This Interview has been provided by Orbit, and is printed with their permission.
Iain.M.Banks' latest novel SF novel, Excession, was published in paperback in May. His new non-SF novel, A Song of Stone, was published in hardback in August. In between publicity tours, he took time out to give us a unique insight into one man and his "M"...
Your first novel, The Wasp Factory, was described by critics as both "the literary debut of the year" and "a work of unparalleled depravity". How did you feel about those reviews?
At the time I was just delighted to have any reviews at all, so the fact that some of them slammed the book didn't matter. The very range of the reactions also kind of innoculated me against the effects reviews might have; as there was no consensus, and people disagreed so utterly whether the book deserved to win heaps of glittering prizes or be burned in bulk at a high temperature, it was hard to take the whole thing seriously. I suppose in the end it's best not to let either kind affect you; believe the glowing reviews and you might get big-headed and self-indulgent and think your work doesn't need editing; believe the bad ones and you might stop writing altogether.
What is your ideal evening out with your closest friends?
Easy;drink and curry! And then more drink.
Your science fiction novels are widely reviewed by the non-genre press but, in general, do you think that science fiction is unfairly ignored?
Yes. As the one literature primarily concerned with change and its effects on people and society, SF is - at least potentially - the most important literary form in the world.
What's the best place in the world?
Hey, like wherever you are when, gee, when you're feeling really, like mellow and cool, you know? Personally, the middle of Loch Shiel on a sunny day...laughing with pals round a pub table..sitting in a fast car or on a motorbike with a deserted Highland road stretching in front of me..or a bed of course.
What's the worst place in the world?
Trapped in a lift with the recent contenders for the Tory party leadership.
Do you see any trends in science fiction, and how do you see the genre developing over the next 10 years?
I'm sorry, but as an SF author I obviously have no insight into the future whatsoever. However I'm sure that whatever happens in the field, it'll be terribly exciting.
Are you an animal lover?
I'm an animal-liker, I suppose , and I have been known to go a bit gooey over puppies and kittens and so on. I get on pretty well with cats and dogs - I think they appreciate meeting someone from our own species on their own intellectual level - but we don't have any pets because we're away so much. Instead we have a bird table outside the kitchen window which we keep well stocked during the winter, plus there are various grey squirrels which visit our window ledge and look almost unfeasibly cute.
Did you enjoy watching The Crow Road on television?
Yep; thought it was very well done indeed; great script, cast and direction. A fine production altogether.It took me a while to get used to Ashley having short dark hair, and I didn't understand why Darren Watt killed himself rather than die in a motorbike accident, but these are about my only quibbles, and there are bits where the TV version is better than the book; the scene where Prentice at his lowest, squats down in the street to pet a dog and somebody puts some change into his hand thinking he must be begging, was just succinctly brillant; the book took a whole chapter to say the same thing.
Copyright© 2002 Orbit
. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. The interview has been provided by Orbit
and is printed with their permission.