Ian Banks passes away

Don’t think this was already discussed in one of the forums – I apologize if I missed it.
The Culture sci-fi novels of Ian M. Banks are extremely well-written, with great detail.
They depict an amazing future full of wonder and the triumph but continuing challenges of a liberal, atheistic viewpoint.
He is remembered in NYT here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/13/books/iain-banks-novelist-of-crime-and-science-fiction-dies-at-59.html

Mr. Banks, a self-described “evangelical atheist" and liberal, said his science fiction often conveyed his political views.

http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewreply/182680/