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The Player of Games Audio Shortlisted for Galaxy Award

The shortlists for the 2011 Galaxy Awards have been announced today, and The Player of Games, read by Peter Kenny, has been nominated for the Audible.co.uk Best Audiobook Award.

This year's awards will be announced on 4th November. In the meantime, The Player of Games is available as an audio download from Audible.co.uk, Audible.com (for US-based listeners) and the iTunes store.

Live Iain Banks Webchat, 13.00 BST today, Friday 8th July

Stuck for something to do this lunchtime, Banks fans? Here you go...

The Guardian is holding a live webchat with the man himself at 13.00 hours today.

"When we asked you whom you'd like to see more of on the site, one of the names that came up over and over was Iain Banks. And who are we to argue?"

Details of how to participate are at www.guardian.co.uk.

[Heads-up via the always-vigilant David H of The Banksonian]

Use of Weapons tops 'Best Sci-Fi Films Never Made' poll

UK-based tech news website The Register has been running an online poll, asking it's readers to nominate the 'best sci-fi films never made'; books that have so far, somehow, been over-looked by Hollywood's movie moguls in favour of yet a.n.other sequel and / or re-hash.

And the winner, by a significant margin, was our very own Iain M. Banks' Use of Weapons.

The Register reports:

"The 50 candidates attracted a whopping 27,088 votes, with the winner securing 10,032. Runner-up was Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle's The Mote In God's Eye, which was honoured with 7,099 votes. You can see the full results right here.

Worth noting that Consider Phlebas, Excession, The Player of Games and The Algebraist also featured, polling a few hundred votes between them. But it's clearly Use of Weapons that people want to see on the big screen.

Hollywood movie moguls, take note!

Iain Banks on Desert Island Discs, August 1997

The BBC iPlayer archive has dug up Iain Banks' guest appearance on the Desert Island Discs show, from way back in August 1997.

Visit www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer to hear presenter Sue Lawley quiz Iain on what he would have taken to his hypothetical desert island at the back end of the nineties...

[Thanks to David H of The Banksoniain for the heads-up]

Iain Banks Interviewed for Open University

Iain Banks has been interviewed by Derek Neale, Open University lecturer in Creative Writing, for the OU's OpenLearn website.

Here's the video recording of the interview (available via YouTube) which took place at the Cheltenham Literature Festival last year. Derek talks to Iain about various topics, including the digitisation of books, his writing process and the impact of world events on his work.

An audio recording of the interview is also available via audioboo.fm.

Listen!

Many thanks indeed to David H (editor of Iain Banks fanzine The Banksonian) for the heads-up!

Banks fans on turning Science Fiction into Science Fact

Mat McD sent in a link back in December (apologies for the delay in posting, Mat, it's been manic these past few weeks).

I'll let Mat explain:

At the book launch for the new Culture novel Surface Detail by Iain M Banks I asked people one question:

What do they want to see become science fact?

Initially inspired by the 50 people 1 question films by Deltree I thought that an audience gathered to see the most successful science fiction author since Asimov could be fertile ground for thoughtful comments on the future.

Many thanks to all contributors and the De La Warr Pavilion management for letting me shoot.

Shot on a 7d with a simple edit in FCP.

And here are the results:

Science Fact? from Mat McD on Vimeo

Iain M Banks SFX Fannish Inquisition

You remember a while back we mentioned that UK Sci-Fi magazine SFX was looking for reader-submitted questions to put to Iain? Turns out the resulting interview was published in the October 20th issue of the magazine, and is available on the SFX website as well:

Iain M Banks talks to The View From Here

Mike French, editor of literary magazine The View From Here has been in touch to say:

"We interviewed Iain at the Luton Library Theatre before he went on stage, in a half-hour interview which turned out to be both amusing and insightful. The full interview is only available in our printed and digital editions."

Here's a taster question to whet your appetite:

The View From Here: Is there a grand plan for the Culture, are you taking it somewhere or just having fun with it?

Iain M Banks: "No – and yeah... it will go on until I stop having fun with it and then I will just sort of leave it to be. There's no overall strategic plan and in a sense that is the plan, having no plan is the plan. The plot of the Culture is not going to come to some huge climatic end, well unless I come up with an idea that can only work in those terms but I'll try not to.

"That is, the Culture just keeps on going: it's this society where by now you might have expected it to sublime, to retire from the normal matter base life of the galaxy and the universe and go off into this magical realm. (Which I may have to deal with as I keep getting asked about it these days, so I’m going to have to explain what the hell it is.)

"But it's definitely not doing this, deliberately staying back and surfing the crest instead of going down the wave - it wants to keep on doing good works, it wants to be part of the normal life of the galaxy. So it's deliberately not doing what it’s expected to do. So that theme of continuance, of sticking around – like passiveness, almost bloody mindedness is why it can't just all suddenly come to a big crashing stop and I think eventually it will fade away, but it’s going to leave lots of echoes.

"That was one of the questions today during the Twitter thing which I had to put in quite concise terms: somebody said, will the Culture ever fall? And I said, it’s not going to fall but it will fade and that’s going to leave echoes everywhere. ( Mock evil laughter )"

If you want to read the full interview you'll need to pay The View From Here the princely sum of $1 (one US dollar) or 69p (sixty-nine British pence) for the downloadable pdf edition, or $7.35 / £4.99 for a copy of the print remix.

More information from www.theviewfromheremagazine.com.

Surface Detail Debated by the Scotsman Book Club

Iain Banks' latest Culture novel, Surface Detail, was the subject matter of the Scotsman Book Club last month.

Five readers, two of whom (including a former editor of 2000AD) had never encountered a Culture novel before, discuss their reactions over at www.scotsman.com.

Iain Banks talks to Tim Haigh

Via Tim Haigh Reads Books, Iain Banks talks Surface Detail with interviewer Tim Haigh.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Visit www.timhaighreadsbooks.com for an earlier interview with Iain on the subject of his previous novel, Transition.

[Podcast produced and hosted by Green-Shoot.]

Iain Banks to be Twinterviewed by Waterstones

Waterstones Booksellers (@waterstones will be hosting a Twinterview (that's a Twitter-based Interview, for the uninitiated) on 19th October and are inviting questions from members of the Twitter-using public (the Twupblic?)

To propose a question for Iain, tweet it with the hashtag #mbanks and the Waterstone's crew will scoop 'em up and pick the best ones to put to the man himself on the 19th, then tweet the resulting answers.

New Marain Alphabet font available to download

Daniel Solis (Art Director by day, Game Designer by night) posted a thread on the Iain Banks forum recently to let Banks fans know that he's created a new font based on Iain Banks' Marain alphabet.

The font can be downloaded from Daniel's website at danielsolis.blogspot.com.

He's also posted a video about the creation of the font:

Iain [M] Banks talks to James Rundle for SciFiNow

Iain M. Banks has been interviewed by James Rundle for SciFiNow.

Topics of discussion include Iain's writing history, his take on mainstream literature's opinion of science fiction, his influences, recommended writers and whether he thinks ebooks will eventaully take over form print media.

Read the interview at www.SciFiNow.co.uk.

[Another big thank you to David H of the Banksoniain for he heads-up!]

Iain [M] Banks talks to Janice Forsyth

Iain was a guest on Janice Forsyth's show on BBC Radio Scotland on Saturday October 2nd, along with actor and musician Tim Robbins. The interview with Iain kicks in round about 15:50 or so and ranges over a variety of topics, with plenty of background info on the new Culture novel Surface Detail.

The show is available to listen to until October 7th via the BBC website.

[Many thanks to David H of The Banksonian for the heads-up!]

A Few Early Reviews of Iain M Banks' Surface Detail

With the publication of Surface Detail just over the horizon (UK: Oct 7th, US: Oct 28th) a few early reviews have started to appear.

SFX Magazine said that Surface Detail is "...one of the most entertaining Culture novels for a long time".

Sci-Fi Now Magazine said: "Famed for his profoundly dark and intelligent humour, Iain M Banks has succeeded in weaving another intricate tale that offers fascinating insight into the human condition."

And TheBookBag.co.uk's Robin Leggett summed Surface Detail up thusly:

"There's double-crossing aplenty, action, revenge, love stories, virtual and real action, tech and humour and some terrific characters. But what sets this book apart is the quality of the writing and the depth of the author's imagination. Amongst all the mayhem, Banks raises some interesting questions about identity, death and the whole point of Hell."

More info over on the Surface Detail page of the site.

Read an Extract from Surface Detail by Iain M Banks

Not long now until the UK publication date of Iain M Banks' brand new Culture novel, Surface Detail, on October 7th 2010 (US readers will have to wait just a little longer, until October 28th).

To whet your appetite (and give you something to talk about over on the forum in the meantime) the whole of chapter one is now available to read here on the site.

Here's how it all begins:

"This one might be trouble."

She heard one of them say this, only ten or so metres away in the darkness. Even over her fear, the sheer naked terror of being hunted, she felt a shiver of excitement, of something like triumph, when she realised they were talking about her. Yes, she thought, she would be trouble, she already was trouble. And they were worried too; the hunters experienced their own fears during the chase. Well, at least one of them did. The man who'd spoken was Jasken; Veppers' principal bodyguard and chief of security. Jasken. Of course; who else?

Click here to read the rest of the first chapter.

Banksoniain Issue #16 now available to download

Dave H has dropped us a line to say that the latest issue of his Banksoniain Fanzine is now ready to download and peruse at your leisure.

Dave says:

"This issue reports on 2010 up to the publication of Surface Detail tracing the development of the book. Iain's appearances during the year so far, including Eastercon, are also examined. The Iain Banks iPhone App is discussed as are Hungarian translations, and as Surface Detail is out next month there are more than the usual number of events in the Calendar. Media Scanner highlights the interesting press coverage Iain has received since the last issue. There is a smattering of film news and a few snippets about book after next."

Download Banksoniain #16 from www.banksoniain.netfirms.com.

Video of Iain Banks at the Prague Writers Festival

David H, of Banksoniain fanzine fame, has just posted the following to the Iain Banks Forum:

The readings and conversations at the Prague Writers' Festival were recorded and are now online via www.pwf.cz.

Iain participates in the Tuesday evening conversation about Heresy, and the Wednesday evening readings.

More details on the forum.

Surface Detail Cover Launch

Iain M. Banks' global publisher, Orbit Books, have revealed the cover image that will grace the brand new Culture novel - Surface Detail - when it is published worldwide in print and e-book editions in October 2010.

From the Orbit announcement post: "The title is Surface Detail, which refers to a number of things, not least one of the principal characters, who is covered, externally and internally, with congenitally administered tattoos."

Here's the cover in all its glory:

Surface Detail - UK & Australian Hardback

And here's the back cover blurb:

It begins in the realm of the Real, where matter still matters.

It begins with a murder.

And it will not end until the Culture has gone to war with death itself.

Lededje Y'breq is one of the Intagliated, her marked body bearing witness to a family shame, her life belonging to a man whose lust for power is without limit. Prepared to risk everything for her freedom, her release, when it comes, is at a price, and to put things right she will need the help of the Culture.

Benevolent, enlightened and almost infinitely resourceful though it may be, the Culture can only do so much for any individual. With the assistance of one of its most powerful - and arguably deranged - warships, Lededje finds herself heading into a combat zone not even sure which side the Culture is really on. A war - brutal, far-reaching – is already raging within the digital realms that store the souls of the dead, and it's about to erupt into reality.

It started in the realm of the Real and that is where it will end. It will touch countless lives and affect entire civilizations, but at the centre of it all is a young woman whose need for revenge masks another motive altogether.

October 2010, folks. Don't miss it.

Edit 24.06.10

Here's the US cover variant with alternate font / logo:

Surface Detail - US Hardback

SFX Magazine Wants Your Questions for Iain Banks

SFX Magazine will be conducting a fan-interview with Iain Banks and are requesting questions to put to the author.

The deadline for submitting a question is Tuesday, June 15th. Details of how to submit can be found at www.sfx.co.uk.