17 Jun

Iain Banks: final interview

One of my all time favorite authors just passed recently. This was his last interview.

“‘You know, this might be my last public statement’, Iain Banks said to me on the phone when I was setting up this interview, and at the time that simply didn’t seem likely: he was too full of ideas and opinions and schemes. He emailed me a fortnight ago, saying that he was hoping to be out walking around the village again by the end of the week. In fact, he died on 9 June. Nevertheless, the plans and hopes he had capture his quicksilver, optimistic personality, regardless of what transpired. To be robbed of 30 years he thought he might have had is one thing: to lose the few months he was cautiously anticipating seems especially cruel.”

(Via Iain Banks: the final interview | Books | The Guardian.)

12 Apr

David Farland’s lack of insurance due to refusal of insurers to let him sign up for a plan

By 2050 40% or so of the US workforce is expected to be flexible or freelance. Despite the legions of vitriol against health care reform of any kind, right now things like this happen, when freelancers with preexisting conditions can be denied healthcare by companies and thus put their families at risk:

“Through no fault of his own, Farland cannot obtain medical coverage due to pre-existing health conditions. His wife did have a job that allowed them to carry group health insurance, but got laid off during the worst of the recession. When asked how authors survive these kinds of disasters, Farland answered, ‘It’s only through people working together. People are amazingly kind in times like this.'”

(Via Army of Friends Rally Around Best-Selling Author David Farland.)

The current system is due to change next year, due to the reforms that are coming down the pipe. Alas, this happened a year too early for Farland’s family.

This wasn’t a case of someone just not getting health insurance and gambling his family’s life, according to the story above, but a horrible and unique creation of the existing system that conservatives are fighting hard to keep in place, one that forces us to depend on employers and fear being laid off lest things just like this happen.

Consider helping however you can.

By the way, this could have been me. My genetic heart defect means American companies can, until 2014, refuse to even take my offered money if I wanted to get healthcare. Current we’re insured via my wife, but even if I made enough for her to leave her job, I couldn’t get covered due to the same issue.


You should be.

03 Apr

Iain M. Banks, one of my favorite writers, has terminal cancer

I was just writing up a small recommendation that people read his Culture novel Consider Phlebas. This is devastating:

“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.”

(Via Banksophilia: Friends of Iain Banks | Banksophilia – Friends of Iain Banks.)