This is sad: the science fiction writer Iain M Banks announced he has terminal cancer and only months to live.
Here is a personal statement he made today.
I just read The Hydrogen Sonatawhich I picked up by chance without knowing anything about it or him. What a wild and imaginative book. It's got people downloading their personalities into processors; ships run by AIs who operate independently of their crew, and who have conference calls with AIs from other ships to make plans, gab, whine and moan; a 5-year party in a moving underground blimpy-thing by a species about to "sublime" into a higher zone of existence, lead by a hard-partier who grows dozens of penises all over his body; other species competing for scavaging their civilization after their subliming, and a woman trying to perfectly plan a sonata written so as to be nearly impossible to play, on a instrument the size of a house that she plays from the inside. It just went on and on like that.
Bravo. I look forward to reading more for years to come.