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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really good but just doesn't feel quite right...
Barcode: 9780349116648

I read this just after i read The Wasp Factory and well... let's just say this is a very different story, both in content and quality. Don't get me wrong, Banks is a fantastic writer and it shows in this book, thus the 4 stars. The plot is tense, the dialogue witty and the characters likable. Above all, it is intensely realistic, and that...
Published on 25 Feb 2008 by L. Green

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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where's the story ?
I've read all of Iain Bank's works, so I guess I'm a fan, but I found this book disappointing. The main character - as in Complicity - is left-wing, works in the media, takes drugs, is sexually active. Unlike Complicity, there is little or no real story, instead the vast majority of the book is spent listening to the narrator's views on what is wrong - and right - with...
Published on 14 Sep 2002 by Mr. B. J. Smith


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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where's the story ?, 14 Sep 2002
By 
This review is from: Dead Air (Hardcover)
I've read all of Iain Bank's works, so I guess I'm a fan, but I found this book disappointing. The main character - as in Complicity - is left-wing, works in the media, takes drugs, is sexually active. Unlike Complicity, there is little or no real story, instead the vast majority of the book is spent listening to the narrator's views on what is wrong - and right - with the world.
Now, I'm a Guardian-reading liberal who would agree with over 80% of the polemic in this book, but listening to the main character's diatribes becomes tiring. I was turning the pages looking for a story, a twist, a revelation, and ultimately I was not rewarded.
Iain, if you read this, I think you are a wonderful writer and I share your viewpoints but please next time bring more of your story-telling arts and capacity for drama and humour to the party, and leave the rants at the state of the world behind.
Finally, why do I appear to be the first person reviewing this book ?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really good but just doesn't feel quite right..., 25 Feb 2008
By 
L. Green "Feltano" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dead Air (Paperback)
Barcode: 9780349116648

I read this just after i read The Wasp Factory and well... let's just say this is a very different story, both in content and quality. Don't get me wrong, Banks is a fantastic writer and it shows in this book, thus the 4 stars. The plot is tense, the dialogue witty and the characters likable. Above all, it is intensely realistic, and that is where my doubts first come in.

It is almost too realistic. When reading people like to escape but this is way too close to home, set as it is in contemporary London, dealing with terrorism and so on. This is one of those texts where you just wish the lead character would get a break and something good would happen but instead he just comes up against misfortune upon misfortune right up to the end.

The sex scenes feel overly seedy, the true love that is behind them not shwoing through enough although aside from that are are quite a few moments of genuinely charming interaction between various characters. Also, like another reviewer said, prepare yourself for major social/political views to come flying at you - it is quite clear the author likes to invest his characters with what he thinks and it shows all too clearly. Now, as best i can remember, i didn't object to his views overly, they't just a bit in your face and are they really the thing you want to read about when you pick up a novel?

I'd still recomend this book though as it is fascinating and it'd make for a great film. Bank's gift at realism is incredible and it is worth reading his book for that alone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Iain Banks back to his best, 18 May 2003
This review is from: Dead Air (Paperback)
This is the best Iain Banks story to have been published for years and is a reminder of the quality of writing, wit and ideas that he brought to earlier classics (The Bridge, The Crow Road and Espedair Street). This is straight fiction (as opposed to the SF he writes under Iain M Banks) and follows the life of a radio DJ in London. While there is plenty of social and political comment and dash of thrills, this is essentially a love story.
And while the protagonist Ken, is without doubt a philanderer, his quick wit keeps him interesting and engaging to the reader (well to me in any case). The other characters aren’t so well fleshed out, but as it is written in the 1st person by someone who is rather fond of their own voice this is perhaps forgivable.
Set post “September 11th” and with politics that Michael Moore might well agree with it may not suit everyone, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and would heartily recommend it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dead Embarrassing, 18 Oct 2003
By 
Daniel Muir (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dead Air (Paperback)
Reading this book is like watching your Dad dancing at a wedding disco. I am a great fan of Iain Banks' earlier works, particularly The Crow Road, The Bridge, and the Wasp Factory but I can't help feeling that he is losing his touch. Reading "Dead Air" made me cringe.
Why? Leaving aside the weakness of the plot and the cliched stereotypes of the main characters, my main impression of the book was that Iain Banks was trying to prove something - or several things. The sexual content is graphic, crude and gratuitous. It adds little to the story and seemed to me like it should belong in some sort of dodgy airport "erotic novel." As mentioned in other reviews here, the political rants appear to be thinly-veiled attempts to get Banks' own views across. The smutty radio-chat sections are woeful (or maybe I just missed the irony there). And the cultural references just seemed to be trying much too hard to show Banks is (still?) cool.
All in all, it lacks substance, it's trashy, and therefore a real disappointment. I can't decide if it's me or Banks' writing that has changed since I so enjoyed his earlier books. I hope it's the latter - so that there's the possibility of a return to form with his next book.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to form, 12 July 2003
This review is from: Dead Air (Paperback)
I have a strange relationship with the books of Iain Banks. Some of them I love, others I really dislike. "The Bridge" is one of my favorite books by any author, and "A song of stone" I couldn't even finish reading.
I was pleasantly surprised to read "Dead Air". I had seen some reviews being rather lukewarm to the book, but I found myself really liking it. The dialogue is as sharp as ever, and the plot twists nicely and keeps you guessing what's going to happen next.
If you like books like "The Bridge", "The Crow Road", "Complicity" and "Whit", my guess is you'll also like this one. I highly recommend it.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping at the end, 27 July 2003
This review is from: Dead Air (Paperback)
The plot of this book is actually very tricky to sumarise because for the vast majority of the novel it doesn't actually have one. Instead we are invited to sit back and enjoy the ride as shock-jock DJ Ken Knott freefalls through his life. Actually, it is a reflection the quality of Iain Banks' writing that you imediately do, enjoying yourself every step of the way. He slips in and out of situations and predicaments, often funny, often deadly serious, often both at the same time. It is only in the last two chapters or so (out of ten) that the book suddenly aquires the momentum of an express train, bombing along to a teeth clenching, nerve jangling conclusion that will have you literally unable to tear your eyes away from the book.
The book isn't perfect; it occasionally meanders a little too much and some themes aren't really explored properly, but by the end you won't careone iota. A great book, flawed, but brilliant.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dead in the water, 29 Mar 2004
By 
S. G. Gilman "Simon Gilman" (Stockport) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dead Air (Paperback)
Whatever's happened to Iain Banks? Where's the dazzling master of structure and form who gave us "Use Of Weapons" and "Walking On Glass"? - the bleak humourist of "Canal Dreams"? - the experimental visionary of "A Song Of Stone"?
I'll tell you what.
Someone adapted "The Crow Road" for television: the cash tills rang; and since then, with both his previous non-SciFi novel "The Business" and with this, "Dead Air", Scotland's (nay, Britain's) Great Hope For Serious Popular Contemporary Writer has at last sold out to the highest bidder. Whereas Banks once seemed capable of wringing the humanity out of believable, rounded characters, in uniquely dark but equally plausible situations, here we he gives us two or three typical set-pieces surrounded by cubic yards of padding. This is usually in the form of self-consciously "witty" author-toned dialogue, the sort of whole sentence coherence coming from two-dimensional caricatures that you hear in TV soaps, the same clichés and phrases issuing from all as though they're all the same person.
Iain Banks should go out and do a bit more living before he gets his wealthy behind back on the chair in front of the AppleMac. He's lost touch with his former vision. If you liked "The Business", you'll like this thin tale of the shockjock who gets the girl despite being an A1 nincompoop; if you remember and yearn for the skilled authorship of his earlier works, then just reread those, or stay tuned for the next SciFi.
Disappointing. Really, really disappointing.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Small scale but well executed thriller, 23 Feb 2003
By 
Jane Aland (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Dead Air (Hardcover)
Much has been made in the publicity of this novel being a reaction to the events of September 11th, but thankfully this amounts to little more than background colour, (most noticeably after what appears to be a homage to Ballard's High Rise with the opening chapter). Instead we have what amounts to a very small scale Banks-ian thriller, whose plot can be quickly summarised as “Radio DJ embarks on foolhardy affair with gangsters wife”. It’s a slight plot, but Banks fluid style keeps things building nicely, and there’s plenty of humour to be found amongst its over the top characters. Rather less successful are central character Ken Nott’s frequent political diatribes, which too often have the feel of the author using the character as a mouthpiece.
It’s not earth shattering, but Dead Air is still a damn fine read.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars life is too short, 6 Jan 2004
By 
DJH (Denmead, Hampshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dead Air (Paperback)
Having received the book for a birthday present I felt compelled to read it. So far I have mananged 85 pages and I am unlikely to reach 86. I agree with the other reviewers, where is the story? The author seems to have jumped on the 911 bandwagon and manufactured a dry and agressive monologue of all that he thinks is wrong with the world.
I cannot carry on with it, every whinging line seems to drain me of the will to live....if I ever hear the phrase 'shock jock' again I will simply scream. Aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrggghhhhhhhhhhh.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Shock Jocks and life in London in 2002, 9 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Dead Air (Paperback)
I have read all of Iain Banks books and I normally read them in the year they were published. As Iain Banks fiction is very much of its time and full of contemporary references, its nice to have read them 'in their time' and to understand how Iain is living very much in the same world as we are. And to listen to how he intelligently reflects on and mirrors the years of our life even as we live them.

Dead Air is one such book. Published in 2002, the book is mute with the shock of 9/11. A shock so raw, Iain Banks does not reference it in any way except to show the event on a television screen at the start of the narrative.

Dead Air is a good reflection of Britain in 2002. London was a boom city brim full of money and drugs. Shock jocks were new and loft-living was all the rage.

I did not really like this book mainly because I did not like the hero Ken Nott, his rants and drug and booze lifestyle. However it was a compelling read and I saw it through to the end. As always with Iain Banks, I thought it had much to recommend it.
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Dead Air
Dead Air by Iain Banks (Paperback - 6 Jun 2013)
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