Tuesday, 2 November 2010

In Which There is Another Author

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Cheryl asked whether I fancied seeing Iain M. Banks, who was going to be coming to Bath.
Well, obviously the answer was "yes", so last night I headed into Bath after work, ready to enjoy myself.

Cheryl and I met up and had a very nice meal at Wagamama, then headed to Toppings Booksellers, who had organised the event.

Toppings is a nice bookshop. It's independent, which is always good, has a nice selection of books, and has its own slightly idiosyncratic approach to shelving, which adds interest to shopping there (books appear to be shelved to some extent by size as well as being sorted by author / genre, so a writers most recent (big, hardback) book may be in a different place to the earlier (paperback) books by the the same author)

The shop is not, perhaps, the ideal venue for a reading / Q&A, as it is rather long and thin, with bookshelves arranged in bays, like an old fashioned library. All of which is very nice, but means that lines of sight etc are a little tricky. However, anyone who doesn't have a good view of the writer concerned will be seated among bookhelves and have the oppotunity to indulge in a little browsing while they listen, so I doubt that blocked lines of sight present much of a hardship!

We found seats in one of the front rows, so ended up sitting just to the right and very slightly behind where Iain was standing, and settled in to enjoy ourselves.
Iain started by explaining why he uses the "M" for the Science Fiction and not for the mainstream novels, on the basis that someone always asks, and then moved on to talk about how he started out, the revelation that 2nd drafts have a purpose, and the perils of too much research. (Quote: "I make stuff up. It's my job") Also, he likes unexpected endings and thus does not like people who read the end of a book first and spoil the surprise.

The Q&A lasted for about an hour, but felt much shorter. Afterwards, Iain signed books and chatted to fans .

It was fun.

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