Iain M. Banks, one of my favourite writers, passed away yesterday. A superb author and a thoroughly decent person. He will be very greatly missed.
“They could see the nebulae, beautiful and distant and beckoning, and could tell that those faraway galaxies were composed of suns, other stars like Thrial, and even guess that some of those suns might have planets round them … but they looked in vain for stars anywhere near their own.
The sky was full of darkness. There were planets and moons and the tiny feathery whorls of the dim nebulae, and they had themselves filled it with junk and traffic and emblems of a thousand languages, but they could not create the skies of a planet within a galaxy, and they could not ever hope, within any frame of likelihood they could envisage existing, to travel to anywhere beyond their own system, or the everywhere-meaningless gulf of space surrounding their own isolated and freakish star.
For a distance that was never less than a million light years in any direction around it, Thrial – for all its flamboyant dispersion of vivifying power and its richly fertile crop of children planets – was an orphan.”
Against a Dark Background
Rest in Peace, Iain.