The Transgressive Iain Banks

Essays on a Writer Beyond Borders


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About the Book

This collection of 12 new essays brings together prominent literary experts to explore the importance of Scottish writer Iain (M.) Banks, both his mainstream and science fiction work. It considers Banks as a habitual border crosser who makes things fresh and new by subversive and transgressive strategies. The essays are divided into four thematic areas—the Scottish context, the geographies of his writing, the impact of genre and a combined focus on gender, games and play—and will be of particular interest to scholars of contemporary literature, Scottish literature and science fiction.

About the Author(s)

Martyn Colebrook has published extensively on contemporary literature, including the work of J.G. Ballard, Paul Auster, Don DeLillo, H.P. Lovecraft and China Mieville.

Katharine Cox is a principal lecturer in English at Cardiff Metropolitan University where she is head of the Department of Humanities.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Martyn Colebrook and Katharine Cox

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 208
Bibliographic Info: 4 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4225-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0292-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction (Martyn Colebrook, Katharine Cox and David Haddock) 1

I. Scottish Context
The Lessons of Lanark: Iain Banks, Alasdair Gray and the Scottish Political Novel (David Pattie) 9
Lanark and The Bridge: Narrating Scotland as Post-Industrial Space (Martyn Colebrook) 28

II. Geographies
“I have never been to Nasqueron”: A Geographer Reads Banks (James Kneale) 45
Landscape and the Imagination: Banks’ Representation of Argyll in The Crow Road (Tim Middleton) 63
Imperfect Doubles: The Recasting of Place, Object and Character in the Dream Narratives of The Bridge (Bethan Jones) 76

III. Genre
Textual Crossings: Transgressive Devices in Banks’ Fiction (Katharine Cox) 87
“Still magic in the world”: Banks and the Psychosomatic Supernatural (Kirsty A. Macdonald) 100
Teaching Banks: The Wasp Factory and Frankenstein (Emily Garside and Katharine Cox) 112

IV. Gender, Games and Play
Contesting Gender in The Wasp Factory, Whit and The Business (Sarah Falcus) 123
Games Playing Roles in Banks’ Fiction (Will Slocombe) 136
Digital Souls and Virtual Afterlives in the Culture Series (Joseph Norman) 150
“Hippies with mega nukes”: The Culture, Terror and the War Machine in Consider Phlebas and The Player of Games (William Stephenson) 165

Afterword (Katharine Cox) 179
Bibliography 181
About the Contributors 190
Index 193