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Iain Banks ashes to be fired in rocket over Forth

Iain Banks has asked for some of his ashes to be launched over the Forth. Picture: Steven Stewart

Iain Banks has asked for some of his ashes to be launched over the Forth. Picture: Steven Stewart

ACCLAIMED author Iain Banks, who died yesterday just two months after revealing he had terminal cancer, has asked for some of his ashes to be scattered by a rocket fired over the Forth.

The Fife-born writer also told his wife Adele he would like ashes to be scattered in Venice, Paris, Barra and Loch Shiel.

In an interview to be broadcast later this week, he said: “Adele has promised to scatter my ashes in the Grand Canal in Venice, a small amount will be sprinkled outside a certain cafe in Paris, some put into a rocket to be fired over the Forth and some on to a beach in Barra. And most of them actually to remain in the urn and be sunk where my dad’s ashes are sunk in Loch Shiel.”

Banks, best known for his cult novel The Wasp Factory and The Crow Road, announced in April that he had been diagnosed with gall bladder cancer and had just months to live.

A website message posted yesterday quoted his wife saying: “Iain died in the early hours this morning. His death was calm and without pain.”

Fellow writer Ian Rankin, a friend for many years, was among the many paying tribute, tweeting: “As many of you know, terrible news of Iain Banks. Away the crow road far too soon...”

He said Banks had “a child’s wonder of the universe”, a great sense of humour and a taste for adventure.

He said: “When I saw him a few weeks ago at one of his favourite bars in Edinburgh I said to him ‘sorry I didn’t get you a wedding present, what do you get for the man who has everything?’ He said ‘well, maybe a cure’.

“He was refusing to take cancer seriously, in the same way that he refused to take life seriously. For him it was a fantastic, exciting, bizarre game.”

The Rebus author said Banks’ science fiction was his first love and his Culture novels in particular had a huge fan base around the world.

Describing his character, Rankin said: “There was a great sense of fun, of excitement. He was a great guy to hang around with and somebody for whom life and the world were a fictional template for him to do as he pleased.”

Rankin said that the funeral would be private with just a few close friends, at the request of Banks’ wife.

In the interview, with Kirsty Wark, Banks said: “I’ve had a brilliant life and I’ve been more lucky than unlucky, even including the news of the cancer.

“I’m leaving a substantial body of work behind me. Whether that’ll survive, who knows, but I can be quite proud of that and I am. I don’t have many regrets in my life. I suppose like a lot of men I’ve hurt women when I was being selfish or there’s a real hurt towards ex-girlfriends that probably didn’t need to have happened. That’s probably the greatest series of regrets in my life.”

Banks’ death comes just days before publication of his last novel, The Quarry, about the last days of a cancer victim’s life.

 

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