the essential kit

My friends list is going to fill up with this in about five minutes, but I have to say something anyway. Author Iain Banks has just announced he has terminal cancer.

God damn it. I *like* Iain Banks. I was very much looking forward to seeing him again at WorldCon in London. Dammit, dammit, dammit.

I met Iain at MeCon in Belfast not long after moving to Ireland, but long enough that I was a guest at the convention. Dinner with Iain, his partner Adele, and several others was the first time I’d ever had Indian food, and I was terribly nervous about it because all I knew was that Indian food had a reputation for being spicy, which is not my strong suit in food. Whatever I ordered was good, though, and the company was magnificent.

It was a very odd convention in that apparently the con-runners had heard that Iain didn’t like being on panels and things, so over the entire weekend they’d put him on the Guest of Honor interview and maybe one other panel. Everyone, including Iain, thought that was so very bizarre that Sunday afternoon, along with Paul Cornell and Ian McDonald, we staged a coup on one of the panels and declared it our own to do with as we wished. It was huge fun and we had a great discussion with the delighted and surprised audience.

Paul and I were just talking about that at EasterCon, in fact, at the weekend.