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Iain Banks

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  • Iain Banks

    On a different thread, the Adlerian mentioned Iain Banks. I have two questions (only the first is for MM)

    Did you ever consider using any simple marker to distinguish the kind of work you were doing? I know you worked under about four psuedonyms at New Worlds, but I was thinking of Banks, who uses his middle initial for his space opera work.

    I personally don't care for much space opera, but I think Banks' non-genre stuff is amazing, especially The Wasp Factory. Any thoughts?

  • #2
    I've never seriously using a pseudonym of any sort, not since the stuff I did for Compact. To be honest, I never expected Bill Barclay or E.P.Bradbury ever to see the light of day again after that first publication. I was certainly amazed that Bradbury was a huge seller and got his own fan mail!
    I like Ian (not Iain, by the way) personally but have never been able to get into one of his books. I certainly take your word for it that he's good, but the stuff's a bit too boysie for my taste -- at least what I've tried. And, as you know, space fiction just isn't my bad. I've hardly read any and what I have read I haven't enjoyed. Nice bloke, though!

    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

    Comment


    • #3
      Very sorry. I don't know why I'm telling people how to spell proper names, which I'm usually very bad at. I could have sworn it was Ian.
      Iain Sinclair's spelled like that. I sort of thought it was regarded as a
      'smarter' spelling of Ian...

      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
      The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
      Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
      The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
      Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
        I've never seriously using a pseudonym of any sort, not since the stuff I did for Compact. To be honest, I never expected Bill Barclay or E.P.Bradbury ever to see the light of day again after that first publication. I was certainly amazed that Bradbury was a huge seller and got his own fan mail!
        Maybe they thought he was Ray's cousin?

        Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
        I like Ian (not Iain, by the way) personally but have never been able to get into one of his books. I certainly take your word for it that he's good, but the stuff's a bit too boysie for my taste -- at least what I've tried. And, as you know, space fiction just isn't my bad. I've hardly read any and what I have read I haven't enjoyed. Nice bloke, though!
        I haven't tried one of the Iain M. Banks space operas-- I hear a lot of good things about their ideas, like the Adlerian suggestion-- but I can't read space opera. Some of the non-genre stuff he writes as Iain Banks is delightfully twisted , though, and more akin to what I usually like. It wouldn't be too big of a stretch to go from a Graham Joyce novel to one of his.

        Regardless of what I think of the work, I think the way he uses his middle initial to signify his genre-bound work is intersting and a little clever.

        Comment


        • #5
          Iain is nearer to the Gallic Scots, I think. When I was younger I seem to remember it was rarer; tended to be used in the Highlands more, as with my (distaff - I'm not Scots) cousin Iain, son of John McBain of McBain.
          It seems more commonly used now; perhaps it has become "smarter".
          I liked the Wasp Factory. I read something else more recently which I really didn't like at all, about some radio or TV show presenter or character or something.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by steeltsar
            Iain is nearer to the Gallic Scots, I think. When I was younger I seem to remember it was rarer; tended to be used in the Highlands more, as with my (distaff - I'm not Scots) cousin Iain, son of John McBain of McBain.
            It seems more commonly used now; perhaps it has become "smarter".
            I liked the Wasp Factory. I read something else more recently which I really didn't like at all, about some radio or TV show presenter or character or something.
            Dead-Air is the one I think you're talking about.

            Comment


            • #7
              I agree it was a good idea -- EXCEPT it goes completely against the grain for me to make that distinction. My dismay at Chris Priest's suggestion that I change my name for my 'serious' work is that I have worked against making a distinction between good fantasy and sf and good 'literary' fiction pretty much my entire professional life. It's a nod to snobbery, and I just won't go for it.
              I think Joyce has a better literary style than Banks. Banks seems a bit lazier to me. But look who's talking.
              :D

              Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
              The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
              Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


              Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
              The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
              Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                I have worked against making a distinction between good fantasy and sf and good 'literary' fiction pretty much my entire professional life. It's a nod to snobbery, and I just won't go for it. :D
                (Got it, I think.)
                The distinction only exists to help bookshops arrange their shelves in fancy ways.

                Dead-Air. That was it. Rotten, I'm afraid.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Consider Phlebas

                  I read "Consider Phlebas" by Banks

                  It starts with an except from the wasteland:

                  Originally posted by T.S Eliot
                  Gentile or Jew
                  O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,
                  Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you. "
                  It is one of the very few books I know that has ANYTHING to do with its leading quotation (except mother london), you finish the book, read the verse again, and the meaning becomes clear. Its a very powerful story with solid, believable characters.

                  I think that many SF writers get too caught up with the technology and forget that whether your hero is carrying a sword or a laser gun, every story in the end is about the people in it and how they think, feel and interact with each other.

                  Ancient writers still find a modern appeal because, even though the characters are interacting in a world that is very different from our own, they are still driven by emotions that are very familiar to us.

                  to get back to Banks, sometimes the books are all about the technology, there are a couple of books of his that I hate and felt I'd wasted my time reading them, but when he sticks to the characters (even the robot characters) he writes one hell of a good story.

                  Reading "Consider Phlebas" also made me go out and read The Wasteland which has to be good :)

                  So next time you're thinking about Bank's work -Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you ;)
                  \"It got worse. He needed something to cure himself. What? he asked. M-A 19 he answered.\"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TheAdlerian
                    Hey, that's a good point Mr. M. Way to go!
                    Did I miss who Joyce is?
                    Graham Joyce. He writes genre-blurring stuff. Some call him a horror writer, some call him a dark fantasy writer, some call him a writer of literary fiction. I can't recommend his work enough. Requiem and The Tooth Fairy are both brilliant (Requiem is one of my very favorite books, for what it's worth).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                      I agree it was a good idea -- EXCEPT it goes completely against the grain for me to make that distinction. My dismay at Chris Priest's suggestion that I change my name for my 'serious' work is that I have worked against making a distinction between good fantasy and sf and good 'literary' fiction pretty much my entire professional life. It's a nod to snobbery, and I just won't go for it.
                      I thought you mentioned that someone had suggested it to you. And, for what it's worth, I agree with your rationale for not doing it.

                      A slightly tangential story that I think makes your point--I remember when I read Mother London. A friend of mine saw me reading it, saw your name, and said something like "Moorcock? That's the fantasy guy, right?" I remember saying something like "No, it's Moorcock the Whitbread finalist." I'm certain that he thought that there were two Michael Moorcocks running around.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Happily, this doesn't happen to me so much in the UK, but my 'literary' publisher feels more should be done by booksellers to shelve my books appropriately since the average sf fan wouldn't want to read Byzantium Endures or Mother London. Equally, it's foolish to publish such books as sf (and this has happened, too).

                        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                        The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                        Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                        Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                        The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                        Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                          Equally, it's foolish to publish such books as sf (and this has happened, too).
                          I have to laugh a little thinking of a reader expecting Pyat to find Stormbringer, or expecting Josef Kiss to pull out a needle gun. :)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have to laugh a little thinking of a reader expecting Pyat to find Stormbringer
                            Intriguing idea, but Pyat didn't look tall enough to wield the black blade the one time I saw him in the flesh. It was at a reading that Mike was doing once, back in the 80's I think. Some bookstore in Knightsbridge as I recall - Dillons, possibly. Mike got up to read some extracts from Byzantium Endures and Pyat leaped up yelling from the audience. Mike ceded the floor to him and Pyat recounted some of his adventures. I wanted to ask him some questions first hand, but Pyat vanished into the crowd right after the event. Never saw him again. One of the more entertaining author readings I've been to.

                            , or expecting Josef Kiss to pull out a needle gun
                            And why shouldn't he? He has the correct initials, after all...
                            \"Such confidence, gentlemen, is warming to the heart\".

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Freddie Earlle was the actor involved at that series of readings.
                              A rather poor version of what we were doing on the tour is actually on film -- sadly the film-makers caused everyone to become very self-conscious and the atmosphere was spoiled. I had to do the tour that way in order to make it clear that Pyat's attitudes weren't mine. It allowed me to disapprove of Pyat but Pyat to thrive -- Freddie was superb in the part. He has done a lot of TV and movie work, including having a part in the BBC version of Roads to Freedom, mentioned in King of the City!
                              He also appears as himself in King of the City.

                              Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                              The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                              Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                              Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                              The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                              Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                              Comment

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