On My Shelf: Iain (M.) Banks

On My Shelf is a new monthly meme started by KJ Mulder over at Worlds in Ink and it’s all about sharing the books on your shelf in alphabetical order, according to author. For July we’re kicking off with A & B. It’s a very chilled-out meme, so you can plan it in any way you like, and post at any time of the month, any number of times you like. And who doesn’t like to show off some of their books?

Second up in my rush to do (most of) my A & B books at the very end of the month, is Iain M. Banks. As with Margaret Atwood, I first read a Banks novel in third year at university, for a course on sci fi that also got me hooked on the genre. Banks’s The Player of Games (1988) was prescribed for the space opera section of the course. I was impressed – the novel was elegant, full of ideas and very entertaining. I sought out others, and Iain M. Banks easily became one of my favourite authors. Here is my collection of his SF:

Consider Phlebus (1987, Orbit) was the first published of Banks’s sci fi novels. I bought it at an Exclusive Books sale. The Player of Games (Orbit) I bought for my varsity course, from Van Schaik’s. Feersum Endjinn (1994, Bantam Books), Look to Windward (2000, Orbit) and The Algebraist (2004, Night Shade Books) I all got from Bookmooch. I haven’t read any of those three yet, although I got about halfway through Feersum Endjinn. Excession (1996)  is my favourite so far. I got my first copy through Bookmooch, and later replaced it with the one here, which I found at Rick’s Book Shop in Pretoria. Inversions (1998) I bought at Exclusive Books. The price tag says R164. I must have had a voucher or something because that’s very expensive, and I don’t think I would have bought it full-price.

I’ve also read Use of Weapons (1990), Matter (2008) and Against A Dark Background (1993), but I still need to add those to my collection. The later Orbit covers (The Player of Games, Excession, Inversions) are my favourites, so I’ll get those if I can.

Banks also writes mainstream/literary fiction as Iain Banks (no ‘M’). Of these I have only read his debut novel The Wasp Factory (1984), which was just staggeringly good, and Canal Dreams (1989), which I don’t remember particularly well. Oddly enough, I don’t own either of those, but I do have six others, all still sitting on my tbr pile:

Walking on Glass (1985, Futura), Espedair Street (1987, Abacus) and Complicity (1993, Abacus) were all mooched. The Crow Road (1992, Abacus) I bought second-hand from Rick’s. Dead Air (2002, Little Brown) I found at an EB sale. Transition (2009, Little Brown) I bought at the Joburg Book Fair last year. I really must get around to reading one of these…


6 thoughts on “On My Shelf: Iain (M.) Banks

  1. Hey, I found your blog from the GoodReads poll, so I look forward to your posts (I only added people who seemed to read similar stuff to me). I recently read Consider Phlebas and thought it was okay but wasn’t sure I wanted to keep going…. everyone says Player of Games is the book that hooks you for good. Hopefully I’ll get to it soon!

    • Hey Jenny, thanks for checking out my blog!
      I’ve actually really struggled to read Consider Phlebus. I’ve started reading it several times but always lost interest. It also differs from the Culture novels, because it isn’t written from the perspective of the Culture or an agent of the Culture (or at least the bit I read wasn’t). A few people like it more than The Player of Games, but the latter is definitely the most popular book for starting out. I think you should give it a shot before you decide whether or not you want to read more of his sci fi 🙂

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