I used to read a lot of science fiction in my youth, and I still have a few favourites – Roger Zelazny (Lord of Light), Brian Aldiss (Non-Stop and others), J G Ballard (The Drowned World, The Crystal World, Drought). These are older works; I haven’t read much recent sci-fi. However, during my summer break I picked up my son’s copy of Iain M Banks’ Consider Phlebas, and I have to confess I’m hooked again. Since coming home I’ve read two of his ‘Culture’ novels, and I find them immensely satisfying. He seems to to me to combine big ideas, novel technologies etc, with an in-depth knowledge of human behaviour and motivation, and he has the writing skills to make the books very readable. I’ll read more.
I noted with regret the passing of Iain Cuthertson, Scottish actor. I had the pleasure of meeting him in the 1960s, when he did a workshop on directing Shakespeare while I was a student in Glasgow. I’ve not directed the Bard, but I did make use of some of Iain’s incisive comments on directing when I directed amdram productions subsequently. And he struck me as a warm and generous man.