Iain M. Banks, author of the Culture novels, has passed away

We knew this day was coming, but we hoped that it wouldn't be so soon. Iain M. Banks, author of the Culture series, The Algebraist, and a host of other novels, both genre and non-genre, has passed away.

In April, Banks posted a brave message announcing that he was suffering from terminal cancer, and fellow author Charles Stross has confirmed that Banks died this morning. It's difficult to express Banks' contribution to science fiction, engrossing readers in the vast and complex universe of the Culture for a quarter of a century. When he wasn't writing science fiction, he was publishing twisted novels about cults, family secrets, and serial killers.

It's tragic that illness took Banks from us so soon, but we can comfort ourselves with the smart, funny, and strange body of work he's left us with. So let's celebrate Banks' life and pick up a novel. He may be gone, but we can always revisit his worlds.