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Banks, Iain (Menzies)

community book novel science

(British, 1954– )

Iain Banks writes both conventional literary novels and also genre science fiction under the name Iain M. Banks. He burst onto the contemporary scene with his first novel, The Wasp Factory (1984). The book soon gathered a reputation—and a cult following—for its Gothic, and graphic, scenes of horror. In a more recent novel, Complicity (1993), corrupt politicians are killed off in a variety of gruesome and very detailed ways. However, what raises Banks's work above the charge of simply being pornographically violent is his skill as a story-teller. Perhaps the best book to start with is Whit (1995), in which a fictional Luddite Luskentyrian religious community based near Stirling is seen through the eyes of 18-year-old Isis Whit, the community's ‘Eyes of God’. Isis has healing powers and ‘a way with animals’ and is sent to London in pursuit of her errant cousin, Morag. There she comes to realize that all is not what it seems with either the cult or among the ‘Unsaved’ who live outside the community.

Peter Ackroyd, Anthony Burgess, William Golding, Michael Moorcock.

See SCIENCE FICTION  LM

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