'~ '1“:Qk'.'. ;‘ mp . .5 .- ~s , . . _ ., ' 3. 1' L 4 3:3 ‘e _ ' '. g; 3;; « . g :n . , ears 2 ~ .. {astr- . . ,v ; 4 7.3.53 ; w‘r'. f ' f " . '.’ was on the loose. intent on swansong published earlier this year. deeimating the entomological he was back to plain Iain Banks. but population. ‘lt's taken for something the ‘M’ is back in place for The rather different from what I Play era/(jimmy. an ambitious. intcndcd.‘ says [musk-haired, allegorical sci—ll thl‘lllcl' which bearded Banks with a resigned llllt‘lltpts to answer w here we might smile. ‘lt‘s still a good book and I‘m all be going. which Banks succinctly proud to have written it. But because says is ‘either space or death.‘ It is I‘ve written that book it‘s coloured re-w rite of a book w hose first draft the rest ofrny work.‘ Banks dashed out in 107‘). The idea Subsequent books did nothing to for the ( ‘ulture howeVet‘. ‘a soften his delinquent image. Banks communist utopia'. the society ' was the leader of the literary brat which (iurgeh. the ace games player pack. loved and hated in almost (with a name w hich trips oyer rather B equal measure, lionised by his than off the tongue ). lcayes' to take publishers who rey'elled in every on the .»\/ads apparently just for screaming review. worshipped on the hell of it has been on the the campuses and ignored in author's mind for 20 years. He must . Hampstead. In the space ofnine haye been a pretty untisual 1-1 Alan Taylor consults Iain Bank's imaginatlon years Banks has writtensixbooks. year-old. , . . eschewing formula and following his Most ofthe work lor his books is to OUt Where we mlght all be gOlng' own instincts. l'l’a/kingmi (i/uss put in at the planning stage and when . x ' :3“ followed The Wasp factor)“ and then he finallysits down to write. he can . a A”; I“ .1 ' I) there was 71w Bridge. his most polish oil a noyel in three months. I,” ‘2‘ A; - 3‘" , restrained book to date winch was I his may account for the book s “'." , shortlisted for the Saltire helter—skelter pace winch earned this Society/ROFHI Bank of Scotland reader from one flame to another. award. neither understanding nor following As if fearful that literary the rules. but completelywrapped respectability might be round the up in the yarn. It‘s a brainteaser ofa corner Banks turned away from noy el drawing striking affinities Booker-type fiction for his next book between the debauched and corrupt and published ('(ms‘t'rler I’ll/(’l)ll.\', a Azads and the state of affairs on this sci-fi ‘full-scale. wide screen. planet now and obyiotts‘ly baroque space opera'. which the sympathetic to what Banks describes cognoscenti loved. [I has sold oyer as ‘an efficient but humane society.’ 50.000 copies in paperback and He denies he is didactic but admits Banks would still like to see it filmed that. ‘.\\ C” d‘ “'N “134 to entertain though he reckons the likely cost people. l‘m trying to change people‘s would be prohibitive. minds just a w ee bit to make them For the first time his middle initial think again. Rather than say simply ‘M' appeared on the title page. to this is the way things are. I want to distinguish terrestrial Banks from \it} this is the way things could be. If a the cosmic. and I can reveal .thil's' “tilt”?! “hm” 0‘0 luller . - * - .uv '3»- v exclusively that it stands not for WU" s“ :40! tit-- ftcr lain Banks‘ first novel The headlines screamed like wanted mental or moonman but .‘Vlenlics. l ll'usp Factory was published posters and it wasn‘t long before the wish it was more exciting too. With 'l'ln- Player 42/ (iumes is published by there was a price on his head. The word got around: a wild imagination lispedairStreet. a rock ‘n‘ roll “Mil/INN” ln'h‘i’t/ U /. 95.

, - . . terminal and put in a request for some twenty-One With two seconds later. as upset “7 , M s " adjudicating drones to oversee the Chamlis appeared over the edge of the GUtgeh Shifted and sat down at the match; Stricken was susceptible to balcony, its casing dark against the game-eet; Dld YOU plan that, high-tech cheating, and a serious cataract beyond. Chamlis turned its Cham'lS? . c . game required that steps be taken to sensing band to the smaller machine. Amalk-nev bowed Ih mid-altto the OF ensure nothing underhand went on. A ‘Thank you,’ Chamlis said warmly. ‘I Ottter drones: and t0 Bowelat- . drone visiting from Chiark Hub had a bet on with myself that I'd have ‘NOt exacttll- It turned to lace 0'1 Halt. - volunteered, as did a Manufactury you counting the seconds to my sitting on the far side of the game-web drone from the shipyard underthe arrival.’ from Gurgeh. “Ah . . . by way of massif. One of the university’s own Mawhrln-Skel‘s fields blazed contrast: a lair human.‘ machines would representOlz Hap. brightly, painfully white, lighting up The girl blushed, looked down. Gurgeh turned to Mawhrin-Skel, to the entire balcony for a second; people Boruelal made the introductions. ask it to be his representative, but it stopped talking and turned; the music Stricken is played in a three said, ‘Jernau Gurgeh; I thought you hesitated. The tiny drone seemed dimensional web stretched inside 3 might like Chamlis Amalkney to almost literally to shake with dumb metre cube. The traditional materials represent you’. rage. are taken from a certain animal on the ‘ls Chamlis here?’ ‘Fuclt you!’ ltscreeehed at last. and planetolorigin; cured tendonforthe ‘Arrived a while ago. Been avoiding seemed to disappear, leaving only an wet), tusk ivory tor the heme, The set me. l’llask it.’ after-image Olsen-htlghthtihdhess Gurgeh and Olz Hap used was Gurgeh’s button terminal beeped. behind it in the night. The coals blazed synthetic. They each put up their ‘Yes?’ he said. bright, a wind whipped at clothes and hinged screens, took the bags at heiinw Chamlls’s voice spoke from the hair, several Of the pallet tahteths globes and coloured beads (nutshells button. ‘The fly-dropping just asked me bucked and shook and fell from the and stones in the original) and selected to represent you in a Stricken arches overhead; leaves and the beads they wanted. locking them in adjudication. Do you want me to?’ nighttlowets drifted down from the two the globes. The adjudicating drones ‘Hafflis had loaned his own ancient ‘Yes, I'd like you to,’ Gurgeh said, archesimmedlatelv ovetWhete ensuredthere was no possibility of Stricken set out; it took a few watching Mawhrln-Skel’s fields flicker Mawhrin-Skel had been floating. anyone seeing which heads went into minutes for a supply drone to bring one white with anger in front of him. Chamlis Amalk-ney, red with which shells. Then the man and the girl from a town store. They set it up at one " ‘l’ll be there in twenty seconds,’ happiness, tipped to look up into the each that a hanntui at the iittte spheres end of the balcony, by the edge Chamlis said, closing the channel. dark sky, where a small hole appeared and placed them in various places overlooking the roaring white falls. ‘Twenty-one point two,’ briefly in the cloud cover. ‘Oh dear,‘ it inside the web, ,’ Professor Boruelal fumbled with her Mawhrin-Skel said acidly, exactly said. ‘Do you think I said something to The game had begun.

"l he list 3- l5 September 1988 59