Paul: In some ways that may be his failing as well, at least from some perspectives – I get the feeling he gets dismissed sometimes because he’s not all I R SRS WRITR, THIS R SRS BUK. To each their own, I guess. But the other failing that I can see is the flip-side of what Jonathan mentions – I’d say he is an ideas man, but he lets his ideas carry him away at the expense of ‘hard’ plausibility and tight plotting. I mean, no one world-builds like Banks – Shell-worlds for example, bloody hell, Niven eat your heart out! – but as much as I love that aspect of Banks’ work, I can imagine it bothers others. And he loves the sound of his own authorial voice, too – again, no problem unless it grates on your ear, but that dry wit may be a bit too abrasive for some.
Part two will be posted here tomorrow, with part three over at Velcro City on Thursday. Those parts quite quickly become a discussion that assumes a certain amount of familiarity with Matter, so you may want to read a review or two (say, this one by Gwyneth Jones) to get the general picture; or, if you’re spoiler-averse, bookmark them and come back when you’ve read the book.