16 July 2013

What are you reading?

We always want more, he thought, we always take our past successes for granted and assume they but point the way to future triumphs. But the universe does not have our own best interests at heart, and to assume for a moment that it does, ever did or ever might is to make the most calamitous and hubristic of mistakes.

That's from Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks, published in 2000. It's a theme that comes up often in his work, but the sentences above summarize it explicitly.

He wrote the first Culture novel in the late 80's and they have held up very well since then. SciFi books often don't. The Culture novels make for very good light reading - they are broad in scope and populated with a wonderfully well imagined group of people/places/things. The stories can be quite violent, but: the universe is a cruel and unforgiving place.

Banks isn't writing any more. He announced that he had gall bladder cancer on 3 April 2013, and died on 9 June 2013. He was 59.

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