Magazine
Latest Issue

It’s realism, but not as we know it

Iain Banks lives a double life as both a leading mainstream and genre novelist. Yet his latest book makes that dividing line look increasingly permeable

Transition By Iain Banks (Little, Brown £18.99)

Plenty of contemporary authors have written both realist fiction and science fiction. Anthony Burgess was a master of historical and present-day narrative, but his greatest work was A Clockwork Orange. Kingsley Amis, the great comic realist, wrote an alternate-universe novel, The Alteration. Then there’s Margaret Atwood, with her disturbing futuristic dystopias; although she famously denies that what she writes is sci-fi, saying that her books don’t contain, for example, “talking squids in space.”

Iain Banks, though, has divided up not only his repertoire but also himself— although neither version of Banks could exactly…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect