His website soon broke under pressure from wellwishers who wanted to read the news and leave tributes.
Banks has delighted fans with his prolific output under two names, and outraged literary puritans with his blithe assertion that he aimed to devote no more than three months a year to writing, because there were so many more interesting things to do – like driving fast cars and playing with fancy technology.
So it must have seemed a very black joke indeed when he discovered a back problem he had ascribed “to the fact I’d started writing at the beginning of [January] and so was crouched over a keyboard all day” was something much more serious.
“When it hadn’t gone away by mid-February, I went to my GP, who spotted that I had jaundice. Blood tests, an ultrasound scan and then a CT scan revealed the full extent of the grisly truth by the start of March,” he wrote.
“I have cancer. It started in my gall bladder, has infected both lobes of my liver and probably also my pancreas and some lymph nodes, plus one tumour is massed around a group of major blood vessels in the same volume, effectively ruling out any chance of surgery to remove the tumours either in the short or long term.”
He said he and his new wife intend “to spend however much quality time I have left seeing friends and relations and visiting places that have meant a lot to us”.
His publishers, meanwhile, are doing all they can to bring forward the publication date of his new novel, The Quarry, “by as much as four months, to give me a better chance of being around when it hits the shelves”. ‘ (The Guardian).