RRR 13 The Works of Iain M. Banks

By Roy Mathur, on 2013-04-26, at ?, for Roy's Rocket Radio, Listen

Special Guest Scott Grandison of Comic Book Outsiders

Today we have a guest! Scott Grandison of the Comic Book Outsiders podcast! About Scott.

NRA Idiots and Moon Lasers

US's NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre is famous for coming out with ridiculous statements. One of his best is "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." This is idiotic for two reasons. First, and I've tweeted this, the only thing that can stop a guy with a gun is me with a moon laser. Second, in one of Orson Scott Card's Endoverse books, Card makes the point that the best way to take on a bloke with a gun is to use a hand grenade. So there.

Matt Helm on Crackle TV

Dean Martin as likeable, cool, drunk and charming secret agent. He's a sort of Vegas Bond.


Saw a couple of days ago; enjoyed it. Cruise great as always, and Andrea Riseborough well cast and perfect as his sidekick. Read the blog for a review.

Star Trek ID

Roy. John Harrison is a Temporal Agent!

Scott. He's Khan.

Game of Thrones

Mostly enjoying Daenerys "Stormborn" Targaryen's journey. The dragons are getting feisty!

Doctor Who: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS

Looking forward to seeing the inside of the TARDIS in tomorrow night's Doctor Who: Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS. 2013-04-27 18:30--19:15 on BBC 1 or catch up later on iPlayer.

Orphan Black

Clones conspiracy thriller with a differences: the main character is a low-life grifter.

The Banksonion Edition

Bearing in mind that when Woody Allen speed read War and Peace, all he could say for certain was that there was a war in it, we now discuss the books we have read and our favourites.

Fiction written as Iain Banks:

The Wasp Factory (1984)

Scott: Frank invents shamanistic rituals and murdered three children in his family before he reached the age of ten. His brother's escape from a mental hospital and impending return lead on to a violent ending and a twist that undermines all that Frank believed about himself.

Walking on Glass (1985)

Roy: Graham Park is in love with Sara Fitch, but has a mysterious, macho rival. Steven Grout is roadmender who believes himself to be a space admiral imprisoned in the body of an Earthman. Quiss and Ajayi are war criminals from of opposing sides of a galactic war.

The Bridge (1986)

Scott: Alex has an open relationship with Andrea.

Espedair Street (1987)

Roy: Dan "Weird" Weir, a bass guitar player in Frozen Gold, struggles to be happy now that he is rich and famous.

Canal Dreams (1989)

Roy: Ainu cellist Hisako Onoda, afraid of flying, boards supertanker en route to concert in Rotterdam. Ship stranded, Hisako has affair with a ship's officer, Guerrillas take over the ship, kill everybody except Hisako, She kills them.

The Crow Road (1992)

Roy: Prentice McHoan's life. Excellent.

Complicity (1993)

Roy: Cameron Colley, a journalist and a serial killer- one and the same? Excellent.

Whit (1995)

Whit is the 19-year-old granddaughter of Salvador Whit, patriarch of a religious cult on a journey to find her cousin. Haggis pakora becomes a staple of the cult, which as an Indo-Mauritian fills me with fear and loathing. Urgh.

A Song of Stone (1997)

Abel and Morgan live in a small castle during a modern civil war.

The Business (1999)

Roy: Kate Telman is an executive in the Business, a vast business empire reminiscent of the Culture. She suspects colleagues of stealing from the organisation and investigates.

Dead Air (2002)

Roy: Started, abandoned. About Ken Nott, a London shock jock DJ, during the September 11th 2001 attacks and the aftermath.

The Steep Approach to Garbadale (2007)

Roy: Alban McGill, a forester and extranged member of the Wopuld family, who have amassed a fortune on a board game called "Empire!" is approached by cousin to help preventing the sale of the family company to an American Corporation.

Transition (2009)

Roy: Started, abandoned.

Stonemouth (2012)

Stewart Gilmour returns to Stonemouth, a town controlled by two rival gangs, for a funeral.

The Quarry (2013)

Forthcoming in 2013.

Culture Books

Science fiction written as Iain M. Banks.

Set in and around the Culture civilisation: cool, intergalactic, socialist, anarchistic, utopian do-gooders run by super-AI Minds, featuring sentient ships (General Offensive Unit, Murderer Class, etc.), e.g. General Contact Unit (GCU) Of Course I Still Love You, and dirty tricks special ops department, Special Circumstances, the Culture's version of SOE.

Consider Phlebas (1987)

Roy and Scott: Bora Horza Gobuchul is shape-changing mercenray spy working for an enemy of the Culture.

The Player of Games (1988)

Roy and Scott: A skillful player of games is bored with his life, The Culture's Special Circumstances tries to recruit him for a mission.

Use of Weapons (1990)

Roy and Scott: Cheradenine Zakalwe, a Special Circumstances agent comes to terms with his past. Excellent. Very disturbing.

The State of the Art (1991)

Roy and Scott: Short story collection inc. State of the Art that was made into a Radio 4 play.

Against a Dark Background (1993)

Lady Sharrow lives in exile on Golter is hunted by cult who believe that the messiah can not be born until her death.

Feersum Endjinn (1994)

Far future Earth where uploading into a computer network allows the dead to be reincarnated.

Excession (1996)

Scott: Largely about how the Culture's Minds deal with a mysterious, inpenetrable and ancient object called the Excession.

Inversions (1998)

Roy and Scott: Court intrigue on Medieval planet where one of the character's, the court physician is clearly from the Culture. Benevolent, but not to be trifled with. And that's the best way to be, I think!

Look to Windward

2000. Roy. Opposing soldier Quilan wants revenge against the Culture.

The Algebraist (2004)

Roy and Scott: Fassin Taak, a Mercatoria draftee tries to unearth portal locations for FTL travel from anarchic Dwellers.

Matter (2008)

Roy and Scott: Pre-industrial humanoids live on the eighth and ninth levels of a Shellworld.

Surface Detail (2010)

Roy is reading. A few protagonists, but the most memorable so far are a soldier Vatueil and Culture agent Y'breq.

The Hydrogen Sonata (2012)

The Gzilt have decided to Sublime, a process by which they evolve into...?

Mac Mini

This is probably the last podcast I record on this lowly HP Netbook PC because I finally bought a Mac; the bog standard, base model Mac Mini.


Scott loves Apple and the Emacs text editor.


Roy thinks Mac backend is good, frontend sucks, and uses Vim.