Walking on Glass
book — UK — 1985

Iain Banks is a strange bird I hadn`t heard about until I bought this book of his. As I just read in Wikipedia he writes under two different names - as Iain Banks he`s a regulary literary fiction writer while when he takes the name of Iain M. Banks his books are pure science fiction. Still I guess that "Walking on glass", even if it isn`t science fiction per se owes rather much to this genre. The novel as three separate plots - one about a young wannabe painter named Graeme who has fallen in love with Sarah ffinch who`s dating a stupid biker (a perfect place to quote "Fountains of Wayne" with "Leave the Biker": "I wonder if that guy’s read one word that wasn’t in a porno mag") and who also has a very explosive homosexual friend named Slater who only talks about gay sex and gays all the time. Then there`s a story about Steven who has been building roads until now but he had to leave the job because of an accident where he got angry and slaughtered a cat and attacked a colleague of his. Steven believes his being on Earth is some sort of punishment for doing something bad in the intergalactic wars and now he only wants to come back, meanwhile he`s paranoid about everyone being out to get him (he`s surely more than one card short of a full deck, he`s not quite the shilling). The third story takes place in a strange castle where an elderly man and a woman are playing games and trying to solve a riddle: "What would happen if an unstoppable force encountered an unmovable object?" In the end everything doesn`t exactly come together as a piece of puzzle but everything becomes at least rather clear. A very entertaining book, although I`m not sure what the author meant to tell.
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