Maybe venting my frustration in print will suffice. If I show up with a buzz cut, though, you'll know what happened.
I finished Dead Air - it was good, though I doubt it will be one of my favorites. The strangest thing was the main character, who is a London radio DJ - one of the "shock jock" types. However, his politics - as fairly explicitly stated throughout - mirror mine to a frightening degree of accuracy. I had no idea I was such a radical... If the novel is accurate in its portrayal, it's apparently quite shockingly in-your-face to be a left-wing liberal with a healthy dollop of cynicism. I've never been able to listen to Howard Stern long enough to know much about his politics, now that I think of it.
It was really quite eerie - the character isn't much like me in any other respects. Or maybe he is and I simply don't see it - but I'd prefer to think I'm less of an asshole. I certainly have a much less eventful love life - but really, given the circumstances, that's ok. I don't really want to be having a secret affair with the wife of a mob boss, even if it were to be conducted entirely in posh hotel suites.
It's really a mark of how much I like Banks' work that I enjoy his 'non-M' (i.e. mainstream, not Science Fiction) novels as much as I do. I like to think it's the quality of the writing, at least. I don't generally like what I think of as 'shadenfreude fiction', where you follow a character around thinking "Oh, no - don't do that. Oh dear. Oh, now you've put your foot in it. Oh, now you've REALLY put your foot in it." and so forth. Where, inasmuch as I can tell, part of the enjoyment of reading it is thinking how, under the same circumstances, you personally would have handled things in a much better manner. I've been known to remark - and I'm sure I will say it many times more - that I read fiction/watch movies/etc. to get away from the idiots I am forced to deal with in real life. I don't wish to spend my recreational time wincing at fictive people's stupidity when daily existence provides so many and varied opportunities to do so, should I choose. So I admire the fact that Banks can keep me reading where people like Kingsly Amis (or Martin Amis) lost me long ago.
I'd seen a review or two that seemed not to care so much for Dead Air, but I didn't encounter any gratuitous flaws... I wonder if they simply didn't care for the theme? It is a fairly unflinching look at some of the effects of 9/11/2001 that I suppose could be seen as lacking a required gravitas. But I think investing the disaster with a sort of artificial reverence is as disrespectful in its own way as simply shrugging and dismissing it would be.