Iain Banks: The Wasp Factory

I vividly remember, as a young teenager, obsessively buying a certain UK SF publication known as Starburst. It was the Brit’s version of Starlog, if anyone can remember it? It’s probably still around.

I read the UK mag primarily for finding out about directors, writers, and special effects, etc. However, I also found that the person responsible for  the book review section was pretty damn good with his critiques. He would have only a small selection (2 to 3) but this was enough. I’d plan out the next books I would be looking for in our local library or, if they sounded good, to purchase.

One review was of a book called “The Wasp Factory”, which the reviewer actually apologised for reviewing. If I recall correctly it was because, in his mind, it didn’t really fit into their particular genre specific choice of books.

Thank God he’d included this review!

The Wasp Factory

The book became, for me, one of those hidden secrets that you would only divulge to those in your close circle of friends. And for those lucky enough to be given this secret, it became a test of their literary stamina!

This book changed my perspective on many things: it derailed me from my SF/horror trip, for one thing.

Sadly, Iain Banks died several weeks ago. A great loss for many.

I ‘ve found a BBC radio interview with the great Mr. Banks, and a lot of what he says, especially about his book, is well worth listening too.

At the 6:00 minute point, I had to smile: I must have spent many summer holidays doing exactly the same!

Do be careful though, especially if you haven’t read the book, because there is a bit of a spoiler at 15:04, so do watch out for that one!

I suppose this is a continuation from yesterday mumblings.

Need a black tea now.



About Philip Shiell
A creative person who loves books, films, music, writing and teaching.

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