Enough is Enough, Iain Banks.
I thought I had found an author worthy of a full, bibliographical reading, of both general AND science fiction; I thought I would have well over 20 novels to revel in.
I was sorely mistaken.
The Wasp Factory blew my mind… When a first book is that good, I get really excited and can’t wait to sink my teeth into the author’s complete works. I got tones of Mervyn Peake and Magnus Mills; echoes of Thatcherite England; a background of dreary weather; and dispossessed characters struggling with indifference. But all I got in the end was disappointment, over and over again.
The Player of Games started off alright (this one reminded me most of Peake – you know, dreary and labyrinthine castles), but soon became yawningly boring with little to keep me reading; the only thing that got me through was the hope that some massive secret would be revealed. However, I found that I had pretty much guessed where the plot was going. And this continues to happen with every book of Banks’ I read. (SPOILER: a good 100 pages into Whit I was sure the lecherous grandfather would attempt to seduce the main character… It’s a cult, the grandfather sleeps with every woman in the cult, the lead’s in a compromised position, yada, yada, yada)
Air Quotes, Lots of Them
In addition to his lazy plots, Banks uses fast and easy clichés to “shock” his readers: “aberrant” sexual behavior, “gritty” reality, and violence, often, a la A Clockwork Orange. Really? Isn’t that a bit cheap?
So no more Iain or Iain M Banks for me. On the upside, Magnus Mills just came out with a new book that I can’t wait to get my eyes on.