Best-selling author Iain M. Banks announced on his website that his next novel, The Quarry, will be his last.
Banks has been diagnosed with late stage gall bladder cancer and he says doctor have only given him a “few months” to live. He posted the news earlier today on his website, which quickly crashed as word spread around the Internet.
Banks is the creator of the Culture series of novels. He published his first book The Wasp Factory in 1984 and has written under two names. He writes mainstream novels as Iain Banks and his popular sci-fi series about the Culture as Iain M. Banks.
The author said he had withdrawn from all planned public engagements and had asked his partner, Adele, “if she will do me the honour of becoming my widow (sorry – but we find ghoulish humour helps)”.
Banks is currently recovering from jaundice caused by a blocked bile duct, he said, “but that – it turns out – is the least of my problems.
“I first thought something might be wrong when I developed a sore back in late January, but put this down to the fact I’d started writing at the beginning of the month and so was crouched over a keyboard all day. When it hadn’t gone away by mid-February, I went to my GP, who spotted that I had jaundice. Blood tests, an ultrasound scan and then a CT scan revealed the full extent of the grisly truth by the start of March,” he said.
“I have cancer. It started in my gall bladder, has infected both lobes of my liver and probably also my pancreas and some lymph nodes, plus one tumour is massed around a group of major blood vessels in the same volume, effectively ruling out any chance of surgery to remove the tumours either in the short or long term.”
He and his new wife now “intend to spend however much quality time I have left seeing friends and relations and visiting places that have meant a lot to us”. His publishers, meanwhile, are “doing all they can” to bring the publication date of his new novel The Quarry forward “by as much as four months, to give me a better chance of being around when it hits the shelves”.