Spufford’s Elegy for Iain M. Banks

Francis Spufford has a lovely year-later eulogy for Iain Banks in The New Humanist, focusing almost entirely on his SF works. As I mentioned in my last post, I finished Use of Weapons last week, and enjoyed it in spite of the twist ending. There’s nothing particularly new for Culture fans in Spufford’s article but it’s heartening to see a strong case made for the longevity of Banks’s reputation.

Spufford himself is also an interesting, unpredictable writer, incidentally. I read his memoir The Child That Books Built: A Life in Reading a few years back (checking my reading list, I see I read Roald Dahl’s similar-sounding memoir Boy: Tales of Childhood about a week later). It’s a lovely book the contents of which you can probably guess from the title. Somewhat like Geoff Dyer, though less restlessly, Spufford seems to follow his idiosyncratic interests wherever they lead, with titles like I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination (one of a long list of hundreds of books I’ve owned but sold before reading at some point and later bitterly regretted doing so) and Backroom Boys: The Secret Return of the British Boffin to his credit.

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