Novelist Iain Banks released a personal statement on his website Wednesday morning. "I am officially Very Poorly," it begins. Banks goes on to say that he has been diagnosed with late stage gallbladder cancer and writes that "it is extremely unlikely" he'll live beyond a year.
A nimble writer who has excelled at both science fiction and literary fiction, Banks is the author of the Hugo Award-winning "The Algebraist," "The Wasp Factory," "Stonemouth" and more than a dozen other books.
"I've withdrawn from all planned public engagements and I've asked my partner Adele if she will do me the honor of becoming my widow (sorry--but we find ghoulish humor helps)," he writes with his characteristically dry humor. He says the couple is now on their honeymoon and intends to spend the next several months traveling and visiting friends and relatives.
Banks adds that his publisher, Little, Brown & Co., is "doing all they can" to move forward the publication of his new novel "Quarry," which he says is likely to be his last, by as much as four months, "to give me a better chance of being around when it hits the shelves."
The sad news has caused a rush of visitors to Banks' website, shutting it down several times Wednesday morning, and created an outpouring of sympathy online. Friends of Banks set up a website called Banksophilia, where fans are leaving messages of encouragement and appreciation on its guestbook. Fans on Twitter wrote that they admired his "humor" and "class." Banks writes that a separate site is also being set up for friends and fans to leave messages for him and get updates on his progress. It will be up later this week, and a link will be on Banks' official site.
Banks, who jas sometimes published under the name Iain M. Banks, was recently selected by the Times of London as one of the "50 greatest British writers since 1945." At Granta, which chose Banks as one of the best young British novelists in 1993, you can read his story "Under Ice."