In case you havent heard (maybe because you have never heard of him), scottish writer Iain Banks died. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/jun/09/iain-banks-dies-59-cancer
Great shame. Not just for those he left behind, but also for selfish reasons, as I always read and enjoy whatever he brings out (even though his last few SF novels were not his best).
Noted most for his black humor and for the fact that he is (as far as I know) the only author to combine near equal success as a mainstream writer and as a science fiction writer (publishing under as Iain M. Banks), for me, this guy serves as 'proof' that the notion some people have that fantasy and science fiction is somehow intellectually inferior to 'normal fiction'. He was both good SF writers, and a good mainstream writer, because he was just a good writer.
I know some people posting here have read some of his stuff. But if you like SF and haven't tried him yet, do so. Personally, I'd recommend Consider Phlebas, Use of Weapons, Player of Games and Inversions on the SF end. And for his mainstream books: The Crow Road, for the more traditional sort of mainstream 'literary' writing, the Wasp Factory as a little shocker and Whit as nice and funny exotic adventure set in modern-day Britain.