Tuesday, 11 August 2009

'The Wasp Factory' is "a dangerous, unpredictable friend."

Author of the hilarious Mr Gum books Andy Stanton has revealed how he was introduced to the dark side of books through Iain Banks' twisted novel 'The Wasp Factory' and found it to be "a dangerous, unpredictable friend."

Many young Scots are introduced to the dark delights of 'The Wasp Factory' through high school English lessons - that is certainly where I discovered it- I went on to read everything by Iain Banks that I could get my hands on, followed by the science fiction novels he writes as Iain M. Banks. Although by that age like most teenagers I had seen quite a few gory horror films and become inured to violence by endlessly playing Grand Theft Auto, there was nothing that quite compared to the chilling menace of Banks' descriptions. A horror film would have to get up pretty early in the morning to beat that calibre of writing.

Here is a link to a Guardian Book Club podcast of Iain Banks discussing 'The Wasp Factory'. Interesting stuff!

Andy Stanton's story about his first encounter with 'The Wasp Factory' can be read here

What I want to know is - was this what laid the foundations for the nastiest piece of work in children's fiction, the meanest of scheming so'n'so's, the baddest of baddies, that BAD Mr Gum...?

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