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Dead Air by Iain Banks (2002)



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Fun, with another engaging (non-sf) Banks anti-hero exuberantly muddling his way through a series of misadventures. ( )
  ronhenry | Nov 17, 2015 |
Meh. ( )
  erinster | Mar 29, 2013 |
One of his better ones ( )
  EricPMagnuson | Nov 12, 2009 |
Nowhere near the standard of Banks's earlier work, Dead Air throws together a ludicrous set of characters, circumstances and plot twists and uses them as an excuse to expound, at length, on his own opinions on a variety of political and religious subjects. I found this pontificating tedious and patronising, and that's from a position of agreeing with most of what Banks has to say. I shudder to think what someone whose views differ would think of it.

The plot goes down blind alleys at all turns, constantly throwing up red herrings. A strand in which the lead character is kidnapped after testifying against someone in court over a minor traffic incident utterly stretches credulity and seems to be superfluous to the rest of the book. The climax involves a ridiculously fortuitous burglary, explained away to the supposed crime boss whose house it was with a completely unbelievable concoction that nevertheless fools said crime boss, who has all the spine of Mr Bean, and everything ends happily ever after.

Saved from a one star rating only because in amongst all the guff and padding were quite a few genuinely enjoyable passages of prose and dialogue; Banks's ability to craft a sentence is as good as ever. ( )
4 vote theholyllama | Mar 2, 2009 |
I am a long time fan of Iain Banks and to come across this novel (Dead Air) in a local second hand shop both surprised and delighted me. The blurb on the back cover describes it as Banks' 9/11 novel but nonetheless I was more than happy to give it a go.

Banks' novels seem to be getting thicker with every new effort and in my opinion this is a bad sign. His first novel, and arguably his best, The Wasp Factory which I would recommend to any reader, remains his best and his shortest. Dead Air carries a fair bit of fat both in plot and in discursion but, true to form, he handles his allegorical mission with some aplomb (all of Banks' non-sci-fi works are allegorical and I sometimes wonder whether he isn't at heart an essayist or journalist in a novelist's garb somewhat like Will Self).

Banks handles conflicted and fundamentally unlikable characters with a real feeling and in Dead Air he has several very believable examples to write. His women are sketchy and a little stereotypically whores or virgins but this is no unique shortcoming and of late he tends to favour grim-happyish endings - Dead Air is no exception.

In Dead Air he pulls his shock jock, his exotic virgin whore, and her gangster husband together in a mix that recalls the Greenaway's film The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover in an engaging and well plotted page turner. He handles the argot comfortably and the allegory very well. It's a sure fire winner and if this is your first Ian Banks it will encourage you to investigate his other works.
  papalaz | Jul 12, 2008 |
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In a loft apartment in the East End of London they're dropping fruit from a balcony at a wedding breakfast. Soon things get out of hand and they're dropping TV sets out. Then the phone rings and they're told to turn on the TV. It's September 11th 2001.… (more)

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