...why this novel feels so rickety, thinly-imagined, laden with exposition, long on neat ideas but short on insights into (y'know) human beings. Why, in other words, it so closely resembles the overrated Last Call, which isn't actually a hard question now that I think about it. Though Last Call's opening sequence is a million times better than the miles of pipe laid by the Anubis opening.
Also: is there a reason visions of dead wives feature prominently in the backstories of both novels' lead characters?
I do look forward to reading a plot-heavy book, in any case, before returning to Pynchon and Crowley and (sure, why not!) the Illuminatus! trilogy of my youth.
[Update: 220+ pages in and it's rocketing around like a slingshot pebble. So that's what all the insufferable pipe-laying was for! And yet there are still no people anywhere in sight, only stock characters by the look of things. Hell of a read, though, even if the Richard/Doyle conversation about dead wives is one of the most contemptible, incompetent pieces of writing I've read in years and years.]