UK

'A generation of book fans has been robbed'

Iain Banks and Raymond Meade
Image caption Singer Raymond Meade recalls meeting the author

Author Iain Banks has died aged 59, two months after announcing he had terminal cancer, his family has said.

BBC News website reader and singer/songwriter Raymond Meade shares his memories of meeting and recording Banks for one of his album tracks.

"It's unbelievable. I thought I'd be recounting this story when I was in my 60s, not now.

I was recording my debut solo album and had this song, Carnivore, that was going to have a fadeout at the end. I was listening to it with my producer Stuart and I said I could hear a spoken word passage at the end instead, you know, someone speaking there.

He asked me who my favourite author was and Iain Banks came out of my mouth before I even thought about it.

We were having a laugh saying that there was no chance he'd do it, but looked on his website and saw that he was doing a book signing in Edinburgh.

We said, OK, let's just ask him. I'm not the most confident of people so I wrote him a note telling him I was a big fan and told him my idea for the track and that I'd picked a passage from The Steep Approach to Garbadale.

I didn't want to choose something from The Wasp Factory or The Crow Road, I wanted him to know I was a true fan.

He signed a couple of my books and then I passed the note on and he thanked me for coming to the signing.

Image caption 'It was the most surreal afternoon of my life'

I thought he'd say no but a few days later I got a letter back to say he'd be interested in doing what I'd asked.

After a bit of back and forth we arranged for him to come to the studio on 12 September 2011.

The three of us drank tea and talked about studio equipment, his writing, general chit-chat. It was the most surreal afternoon of my life.

I was on a Janice Forsyth's show on BBC Radio Scotland to promote the single and they got him on the phone to talk about his input. It was such a surprise that day to hear him on the phone and it only cemented my belief that this was one hell of a good man.

We kept in touch, we emailed each other and happened to be in London at the same time so caught up in person.

I'd sent a book through to him for his birthday this February. A few days later I opened an email letting me know that he was dying of cancer and fast. Yesterday morning, from the same address but a different hand, I learned that Iain had passed away peacefully.

It's very sad. A generation of book fans has been robbed."

More of your memories

I was lucky enough to meet Iain once, a great night when he refused to let anyone pay for drinks and he waxed lyrically about the plot to Consider Phlebas. He let me share his taxi home (hailing from the same hometown of Gourock) and after I left I thought it appropriate that I saw one of the brightest shooting stars of my life. What a great author and what brilliant stories he has left behind him. Love and courage to his family. Cris Fulton, Christchurch, New Zealand

I once met Iain at a book signing many years ago. Unlike a lot of authors he was charm personified, warm and humorous and he took time for every person in the queue, even politely and kindly answering my nerdish questions about his work as though he'd never been asked the question before. We talked about his first ever interview in the NME which had turned me onto The Wasp Factory, and how embarrassed he'd been about the photo taken of him pretending to eat a dog! Along with Kurt Vonnegut, one of the few authors who I made sure I read every single word of his oeuvre. Garry Brogden, Billingham, UK

I attended an audience with at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews earlier this year with Iain Banks and Russell Mcbride and it was the best hour I had spent in a long time. I am very saddened at his untimely death and feel great sadness for his family but he was a lovely man and a great author and his memory will live on in his work. Anne Cunningham, Anstruther, Fife, UK

Charne Rochford ‏tweets: RIP #iainbanks what a sensational writer. A huge, huge loss to the literary world - a void that takes some filling.

Mark Basche ‏tweets: I think I'm in denial about Iain Banks. . . I'm not sure but I think "Consider Phlebas" may have been my introduction to Sci-Fi.

It is sad to hear of his passing, and a blessing it was quick. I have every science fiction book he ever wrote, and he stands alongside great American writers like Larry Niven and Robert Heinlein. His "hard" fiction writing based on extended ideas of today's technology always had fascinating views of a space-faring future. Some of his books would make excellent films, now that the film technology has caught up with his extraordinary imagination. I will miss his writing greatly, especially as he is a year younger than myself. I have a huge science fiction collection dating back to the mid 60s but his books stand out amongst all those writers. Charles Wood, Worthing, UK

I fell in love with Iain Banks' writing from the first time I opened one of his books. I started with The Crow Road and then read everything I could find that he had written. What amazed me with his fiction was that I felt I could hear the language being spoken; his writing is musical, humorous, quirky. I have now read CR several times and continue to love it. The fiction made me want to read the science fiction he had written and I discovered I loved it too. He was a gifted man and I will miss him dearly. Anna Harrison, Eugene, Oregon, US

I met Iain a long time ago when he was doing a book signing in Canary Wharf for Look To Windward. I actually brought along my copy of Use of Weapons for him to sign. I told him I was an aspiring writer and he replied: "If I can do it, anyone can.' I am not so sure, but tapping into his wildly imaginative prose certainly helped me raise my game. Bruce Mcclure, Bradenstoke, UK