The novel itself is being hailed as a return to form, but, as with David Bowie, this is said about every new release. While I realise that such claims are all part of the process I think they sell Banks short, as they suggest he has had nothing to say in recent years. He always has something to say which is what separates him from many of his contemporaries. Some people seem to think that Banks hasn’t written anything of worth (at least as Iain without the M) since The Bridge, but that is, with respect, nonsense. Complicity, Whit and Song of Stone are personal favourites, but I find that there is always something to take from his work, even when you feel that he’s perhaps coasting in terms of plot and narrative.
Transition is on order, and I’ll doubtless write about it once read. But the podcast novel could be the way of the future, and perhaps it is fitting that Iain Menzies Banks is the writer to test the water.