Look to Windward

I was absolutely gutted this week to learn that my favourite author Iain (M) Banks is on his way out thanks to cancer. I’ve read all of his books and am always so excited when a new one is released. From the amazingly sick imagination of The Wasp Factory which is by turns hilarious and disgusting to the absolute scale of Look To Windward, a story about revenge and loss on a galactic scale, Iain’s books have shaped my entire approach to life. When I day-dream now you can be sure that the Culture is there in my thoughts, making me wish that this is humanities future (and mine of course, somehow).

Also passing this week was the great film critic Roger Ebert and I truly loved this article of his about death.

From Roger…

‘Kindness’ covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.

From my favourite Culture story…

Our lives are about development, mutation and the possibility of change; that is almost a definition of what life is: change… If you disable change, if you effectively stop time, if you prevent the possibility of the alteration of an individual’s circumstances — and that must include at least the possibility that they alter for the worse — then you don’t have life after death; you just have death.