LONDON – Scottish author Iain Banks revealed Wednesday he has late-stage cancer and is unlikely to survive beyond a year.
The 59-year-old, who has written more than two dozen science fiction and mainstream novels, said a CT scan at the beginning of March had revealed “the full extent of the grisly truth.”
“I have cancer,” he said in a statement. “It started in my gall bladder, has infected both lobes of my liver and probably also my pancreas and some lymph nodes, plus one tumur is massed around a group of major blood vessels in the same volume.
“The bottom line, now, I’m afraid, is that as a late-stage gall bladder cancer patient, I’m expected to live for ‘several months’ and it’s extremely unlikely I’ll live beyond a year. So it looks like my latest novel, ‘The Quarry,’ will be my last.”
With trademark black humor, he said he had asked his partner Adele if she would “do me the honor of becoming my widow.”
“Sorry — but we find ghoulish humor helps,” he said. “By the time this goes out we’ll be married and on a short honeymoon.”
His publishers Little, Brown are working to bring forward the publication date of “The Quarry” to give him a better chance of seeing it on the shelves before he dies. The author said he was considering undergoing chemotherapy to extend the time he has left.
Banks rose to prominence in 1984 with his first novel “The Wasp Factory,” the dark tale of a Scottish teenager who murders three children in his family before he is 10. Other critically acclaimed works include “The Crow Road,” “Complicity” and “The Bridge.” He has also published science-fiction novels, including his nine-volume “Culture” series, under the name Iain M. Banks.
He is known for his frenetic writing pace, often completing a novel in less than three months.