As a fan of Iain Banks (see my article on his Wasp Factory), and also a writer of Science Fiction and Fantasy, this is an amazing insight into the mind of one of the world’s best SF writers. I was really interested in how Iain wrote his books – did he plan meticulously, or was he a seat of the pants writer. The answer having read this seems to be that he does a bit of planning, but that this isn’t exhaustive. For instance the information on characters and locations is limited to a list really. But there is also what amounts to a 15 page synopsis of Transition as well, which is quite detailed. So perhaps a bit more of a planner than say Stephen King?
So what do you get on the App:
Free to everyone:
- Timeline of Iain’s books
- RSS feed of Iain news
- 3 page list of characters and places from Transition
- 15 page synopsis of Transition
- Video interview about the context of Transtion
- Video interview about the context and timeframe of Transition
- 2 part Video interview about “The Concern”
- 17 page essay on The Spheres – which I think has something to do with Surface Detail
- Video interview about Surface Detail
As far as I can work out the videos are not available on YouTube.
One complaint about the written content is that it’s not very readable on the iPhone – seems difficult to zoom in – perhaps the publisher could have reflowed these as ePub files rather than what look like PDFs? But all in all if you’re a Banks fan and/or a SF writer the app is well worth getting.
To unlock the app you need to either scan a barcode in the paperback edition or if you have the hardback you are asked for a word from a certain page and line in that edition.
I do wonder though if anyone would want all this information if they weren’t a big Banks fan, so is putting a lock on really necessary?