Banks says it is "extremely unlikely" he will live more than a year and that his latest novel, "The Quarry," will likely be his last.
The 59-year-old said he is "officially very poorly" and is weighing the pros and cons of chemotherapy to extend his life.
"As a result, I've withdrawn from all planned public engagements and I've asked my partner Adele if she will do me the honor of becoming my widow," Banks said in a statement posted on his publisher's website. "Sorry -- but we find ghoulish humor helps."
Banks writes general fiction and science fiction -- the latter under the name Iain M. Banks.
Banks published his first novel "The Wasp Factory" in 1984. His first science fiction novel, "Consider Phlebas," was published in 1987.
In 2008, he was named one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945 in a list compiled by The Times of London.
Take ABC13 with you!
Download our free apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry devices