I missed the announcement in April that author Iain M. Banks had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Or as Banks put it then, that he was “officially Very Poorly.” So I was surprised — stunned, saddened — this week to read the news of his death. He died Sunday, June 9. The last novel of his that I read — which I was reading at about the time he learned the “grisly truth” — was The Hydrogen Sonata. It was his tenth “Culture” novel. I read all ten, and hoped to read ten more. [Read more…] about On the death of Iain Banks
I wrote this story for the 100 Word Challenge #335 at Velvet Verbosity.
His sainted mother needed him. Big surprise! The message didn’t say what for. It didn’t say “sainted,” either, but Susan read that into it. “Walter, this is your mother. I need you.” That was all. Not even “please call,” but that was implied, too. Of course you need him, dear. You’re 85 and alone. You need Walter and six more like him. Susan smiled. Yes, seven Walters should be enough to meet any woman’s needs. Still smiling, she pressed delete. She would tell Walter to call his mother, as she told him almost every day. The need would be implied.
As things turned out, I did not die young.
Years ago, I started a story with that line — one of many stories I started back then and never finished — and have always liked it. Right away, you know the narrator isn’t young and isn’t prepared to be old.
Right away, you wonder why the narrator had thoughts of dying young. Was it hypochondria? Or was there real reason to expect an early goodbye? If the latter, why didn’t things turn out that way? Is the narrator disappointed?
Beats me. I never got that far with the story. [Read more…] about Not for love nor money
In the Latin Quarter, we were given a dusky room with an alley view. I frowned. I grumbled. “The room is dismal,” I told the proprietor. “It looks nothing like your website.” He was as old as the cobblestones. [Read more…] about The Parisian Sky