I’m going to cop out of this one slightly.
Firstly, I figure that after going so thoroughly to town on Inversions we could probably all do with
a bit of a break from overthinking Banks.
More significantly, however, is that this
is all about war-guilt and the less admirable repercussions of interventionism;
it’s dedicated to “the Gulf War Veterans” for goodness sake (and was written at
such a time when the ‘the’ was still applicable). I’ve basically spent the last
week trying to work out how to either avoid tying it into the present
clusterfuck in Gaza or, failing that, how to acknowledge the undeniable
resonances without coming across as crass, at best. It’s not worked, so I’ll
have to leave it and just say that this is one of the more thinky Culture books
with fewer of the shaggy dog elements or obvious heroics than most of the
others, and does what it sets out to do in an admirably restrained manner in
terms of ideology, tone, and (not insignificantly) length. One of the better
ones, I think.