Iain Banks
Iain Banks has requested some of his ashes be scattered in a rocket (Little Brown/Reuters)

Science-fiction writer Iain Banks' ashes will be fired from a rocket and scattered over the Forth in Scotland.

Banks died from bladder cancer at the age of 59, two months after announcing that his condition was terminal.

In an interview from May to be re-broadcast later, Banks told the BBC's Kirsty Wark about his funeral arrangements.

He said he wanted his wife to scatter his ashes in a number of locations. "I've thought about it, I guess it would just be the local crematorium," he said.

"Adele has then promised to scatter my ashes in the Grand Canal in Venice, just a small amount, but in secret if necessary.

"And in front of a certain café in Paris, put some into a rocket to be fired over the Forth, again quite a small amount.

"And some onto a beach on Barra - Vatersay, or wherever. But not too much in any. Most of them actually remain in the urn and will be sunk where my dad's ashes are sunk - in Loch Shiel."

Speaking about the diagnosis and his atheist beliefs, he said: "[My reaction] was along the lines of 'oh bugger'.

"I just took it as bad luck, basically. It did strike me almost immediately, my atheist sort of thing kicked in and I thought ha, if I was a God-botherer, I'd be thinking, why me God? What have I done to deserve this? And I thought at least I'm free of that, at least I can simply treat it as bad luck and get on with it."

The Wasp Factory author's death was announced on his website, with a statement saying: "Iain died in the early hours this morning. His death was calm and without pain."


People from the literary world paid tribute to Banks following news of his death.

Irvine Welsh wrote: "I'm off out to the pub to toast one of my all-time literary heroes with a malt."

Friend Ian Rankin said: "When I saw him a few weeks ago at one of his favourite bars in Edinburgh I said to him 'sorry I didn't get you a wedding present, what do you get for the man who has everything?' He said 'well, maybe a cure'.

"He was refusing to take cancer seriously, in the same way that he refused to take life seriously. For him it was a fantastic, exciting, bizarre game."

A statement from Banks' publisher Little, Brown said: "After his own recent announcement of his cancer Iain Banks was hugely moved by the public support for him via his website.

"Just three weeks ago he was presented with finished copies of his last novel, The Quarry and enjoyed celebration parties with old friends and fans across the publishing world. Iain Banks' ability to combine the most fertile of imaginations with his own highly distinctive brand of gothic humour made him unique. He is an irreplaceable part of the literary world."