Iain Banks 1954 – 2013

It’s an odd kind of sadness when an author (or anyone) you admire, and whose books you love passes away.  In most cases, you didn’t know them on a personal level but there is a sense of familiarity through their writing, interviews and appearances.  It’s a selfish kind of sadness as well because you think ‘but I will never read a new book by them again‘.  I’m so sad for their families and friends who miss them the most, and I can only hope they find some peace.

It’s sad as well because Iain Banks told us it was coming in his very honest and frank announcement two months ago, and I thought, as I imagine everyone did, that there would be more time.  He passed away today and I can only think of one more thing to say:

RIP Iain Banks, thank you for all the wonders you gave us.


The Dragon Lady

Anne McCaffrey, Apr 1 1926 – Nov 21 2011

I knew this day would come but I still hoped it wouldn’t be for a long time yet, for her, her family and friends, and us her fans.

There are very few writers I can say had a really strong influence on me, right from when I was a troubled teenager some twenty four years ago.  After yet another bad day I took refuge in my school’s library and picked up a book called Dragonflight.  I never looked back and losing myself in the amazing worlds and characters Anne created got me through some pretty bad times, again and again.

I became a huge fan, wanting books the day they were released, re-reading them so often I would wear copies out, and I still love them to this day.

I had the great pleasure of meeting Anne at a book signing she did here in Nottingham in 1998, and she couldn’t have been nicer.  She was obviously in some discomfort because of travelling and arthritis but she took the time to sign everything anyone brought with them, to talk and make everyone feel as though she was interested in them, as if she was the one privileged to meet us. She was charming and gracious and meeting her absolutely made my year.

I will miss her.  The dragons are keening one of their own.

Thank you Anne, for so many years of joy and may you rest in peace.