Stuart Jeffries interviews Iain Banks at the Hay festival (that's criminal, that his new novel's not coming out in the US immediately, Banks is on my short list of must-read favorite enjoyable novelists). His next book's science fiction, one of the "Culture" novels he publishes under the name Iain M. Banks (which I must confess I enjoy more in theory than in practice, I'm firmly on the non-M. Banks track):
Banks tells me that he has spent the past three months writing another Culture novel. It will be called Matter and is to be published next February. "It's a real shelf-breaker," he says enthusiastically. "It's 204,000 words long and the last 4,000 consist of appendices and glossaries. It's so complicated that even in its complexity it's complex. I'm not sure the publishers will go for the appendices, but readers will need them. It's filled with neologisms and characters who disappear for 150 pages and come back, with lots of flashbacks and -forwards. And the story involves different civilisations at different stages of technological evolution. There's even one group who have disappeared up their own fundaments into non-matter-based societies."