Just for the record - on a long-haul flight of 12 hrs. I finally got to see A Hologram for the King on the small screen (of the seat in front) and all I can say is that I found it quite watchable and that my impression from what I'd heard about it before was confirmed.
It seems to me to be a none-too-subtle attempt to invite their Saudi friends to lighten up and join in a watered-down, alcohol-free "Bermuda"-style party for cultural exchange icebreaking purposes.
On the return flight (that at 13 hrs. is an hour longer) I decided to balance the book by watching Ben Affleck's film Argo, about certain events in the US-Iranian hostage crisis during the presidency of Jimmy Carter (who, like fellow Democrat Barak Obama, was fundamentally a man of peace and almost impossible to rile.)
There's an almost subliminal glimpse of two of the Americans playing chess, to kill time, having evaded capture in their own compromised embassy by escaping and taking refuge in the Canadian one.
The film is based on actual events that took place and that remained remained classified for many years for diplomatic and security reasons.
To me the science fiction movie subterfuge used by the CIA to rescue the six Americans from Iran just goes to show how far those two regimes are alienated from each other.
I wonder if the US is backing the eventual loser in the rivalry between the Saudis and the Iranians to get the upperhand in the Middle East.
Or if the Russians, by backing the Iranians, have stolen a march on the Americans once again - as they did in China by backing Mao's Communist Party rather than Chiang's Nationalist Party (the rump of which is still holed up in the island of Taiwan).
By the way, as well as watching a couple, or three, movies I found Kasparov Chess among the entertainments and played some G/30' & G/15' games - coming out even (+2,-2,=1) in the former and just shading a similar number of the latter by quitting while on +1. I believe I was playing a computer on medium (1820) , although it was possible that I was up against members of the Kasparov Chess Club since that was also on offer and my two opponents had human names.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)