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I've asked my partner Adele to do me honour of becoming my widow; Wedding as inoperable tumour grows.

Byline: Beverley Lyons b.lyons@dailyrecord.co.uk

AUTHOR Iain Banks revealed yesterday he has months to live after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

And in typical black humour, the Fifer said: "I've asked my partner Adele if she will do me the honour of becoming my widow."

The Dunfermline-born 59-year-old said his next novel, The Quarry, is likely to be his last.

Banks's best-selling work has been lauded and awarded since his 1984 debut The Wasp Factory.

He followed that with 14 more hugely popular works of literary fiction.

The Crow Road was turned into a hit BBC drama in 1996, starring Joe McFadden, while Jonny Lee Miller took the lead role in Complicity on the big screen in 2000.

And writing as Iain M Banks, his 12 science fiction novels have won him two British Science Fiction Association awards.

He was also nominated for a sci-fi Oscar - a Hugo Award - in 2005 for The Algebraist.

Yesterday, Banks revealed on his blog that he had cancelled all public engagements to marry partner Adele Hartley and go on a short honeymoon.

He told readers: "I am officially Very Poorly. After a couple of surgical procedures, I am gradually recovering from jaundice caused by a blocked bile duct but that - it turns out - is the least of my problems.

"I first thought something might be wrong when I developed a sore back in late January but put this down to the fact I'd started writing at the beginning of the month and so was crouched over a keyboard all day.

"When it hadn't gone away by mid-February, I went to my GP, who spotted that I had jaundice.

"Blood tests, an ultrasound scan and then a CT scan revealed the full extent of the grisly truth by the start of March."

He added: "I have cancer.

"It started in my gall bladder, has infected both lobes of my liver and probably also my pancreas and some lymph nodes, plus one tumour is massed around a group of major blood vessels in the same volume, effectively ruling out any chance of surgery to remove the tumours either in the short or long term.

"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."

Banks, who intends to spend the time he has left seeing friend and relations and places that mean a lot, said he was reviewing the pros and cons of having chemotherapy.

He said: "As a result, I've withdrawn from all planned public engagements and I've asked my partner Adele if she will do me the honour of becoming my widow (sorry - but we find ghoulish humour helps).

"By the time this goes out, we'll be married and on a short honeymoon.

"Meanwhile, my heroic publishers are doing all they can to bring the publication date of my new novel forward by as much as four months, to give me a better chance of being around when it hits the shelves.

"Lastly, I'd like to add that from my GP onwards, the professionalism of the medics involved - and the speed with which the resources of the NHS in Scotland have been deployed - has been exemplary and the standard of care deeply impressive.

"We're all just sorry the outcome hasn't been more cheerful."

A website has been set up at friends.banksophilia.com where pals, family and fans can leave messages for former Stirling University student Iain and check on his condition.

Banks was named among the 50 greatest living British writers by The Times in 2008.

He has long been politically active - cutting up his passport when the Iraq War began and selling off his sportscar collection and buying a eco-friendly Toyota Prius after going green.

He has spoken out in favour of independence and is a member of the Humanist Society of Scotland.

Yesterday, tributes flooded in from friends and fans after the shock announcement.

On Twitter, actor Stephen Fry said: "So devastated by the sad, sad news about Iain Banks - he and Iain M Banks, his sci-fi alter ego, two of my favourite living writers."

Award-winning Scottish sci-fi writer Ken MacLeod said: "It's very moving indeed how many people are very sad.

"Everybody who knows him is just devastated by this.

"You couldn't ask for a better friend, and I'm just holding out for a statistically improbable recovery."

Father Ted and IT Crowd writer and actor Graham Linehan added: "Terrible news."

Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh also remarked: "Very, very sad to hear this. Amazing writer and excellent guy."

Scott Pilgrim vs The World director Edgar Wright said: "With the very sad news that the great Scottish writer has only months to live after being diagnosed with inoperable cancer, you could pay no better tribute than to pick up an Iain Banks book today. Or indeed an Iain M Banks book."

And Watchmen author Neil Gaiman said: "It's heartbreaking."

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said: "This is terribly sad news.

"Iain Banks is a remarkable writer who has made a lasting contribution to Scottish literature and culture, inspiring and enthralling readers for 30 years.

"My thoughts are very much with Iain, his wife and family and his friends at this very difficult time."

On banksophilia.com, reader AndrewS fondly recalled: "You were the first famous author I ever met when I started working at the British Library theatre.

"Thank you for being so patient with a star struck fan/AV technician, and for letting me know that we shared the same tailor - Oxfam."

Fan Ray Wright said: "Such a brave man, I just wish that a miracle could happen for you.

"But alas, a miracle has happened. That miracle is your talent.

"Thank you, Iain. You will live on in your novels for centuries to come."

Another reader named Lois summed up the sentiments of many.

She wrote: "If you could cash in all the pleasure your books have brought to people and trade them for years, you would live forever."

'It looks like my latest novel, The Quarry, will be my last'

CAPTION(S):

WORDSMITH J Banks on the promotional slog for one of his sci-fi titles and, right, laughing with Alex Salmond at Edinburgh's book festival

TOAST 3Banks, who wrote a travelogue about whisky, was feted on Twitter after his sad news ACCLAIMED J Banks' books - both straight and sci-fi - are bestsellers and modern classics
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 4, 2013
Words:1092
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