Tag Archives: Ghostbusters

Hard Refresh

FA Bleeding EdgeFA review tag

In Pynchon’s 2009 novel Inherent Vice, lovable lead and burnout Los Angeles private investigator Doc Sportello stumbles across an early iteration of the world wide web. A young kid named Sparky, which in the Pynchon universe may be a nickname or an actual name, helps Doc use the emerging technology to track down a lead on a missing person, and adds that “someday everybody’s gonna wake up to find they’re under surveillance they can’t escape. Skips won’t be able to skip no more, maybe by then there’ll be no place to skip to.”

The line felt like a teaser for Pynchon works to come. Expectations (mine, at least) went higher when it was made known that Pynchon’s 2013 novel Bleeding Edge would be set in 2001, his first foray into the networked age. It was reasonable to assume that the novel would center around precisely the kind of monitoring and manipulation that has paranoiacs and libertarians and even average citizens riled up these days. The approach would be perfectly consistent with his well-worn subjects of paranoia and conspiracy, not to mention journeys, as skips try to find places to skip to.

Which explains why it takes a while to realize that paranoia is not really what Bleeding Edge is about.  Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Hooray Fiction!

Fiction Advocate of the Day

FA Science Mag Cover

It’s science — the magazine, and the method.

Emanuele Castano and David Comer Kidd from the New School for Social Research published a study in this month’s Science magazine showing the emotional-intuitive benefits of reading literary fiction. According to the New York Times, the study revealed that:

after reading literary fiction, as opposed to popular fiction or serious nonfiction, people performed better on tests measuring empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence — skills that come in especially handy when you are trying to read someone’s body language or gauge what they might be thinking.

In other words, science has proven David Foster Wallace’s theory that “Fiction’s about what it is to be a fucking human being.” Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Fiction Advocate of the Day

A Personal Inventory, Ctd

It may not be Binders Full of Women or Texts From Hillary, but it seems like Brian started something like a meme with his reflections on bookshelves a few weeks back. How else to interpret the recent groundswell (relatively speaking) of articles appearing about shelves and the books they hold?

On October 11th, The Global Mail featured Geraldine Brooks addressing the “People of the Bookshelf” and talking about her shelving habits:

I start out conventionally enough, alpha by author. But while I take account of the first letter of the writer’s surname, I have other ambitions for my shelves that transcend the conveniences of mere alphabetical accuracy. It’s impossible for me to place one book alongside another without thinking about the authors, and how they would feel about their spine-side companion.

One week later, The New Yorker’s Page Turner blog had Brad Leithauser talking about the big books that taunt him, unread, from his shelves —

If your bookshelf speaks to you, it’s likely to be uttering reproaches. Or so my experience runs. All those unread books!

— and how those reproaches led him to tackle Charles Dickens.

I should also acknowledge the original pioneer, and keeper of one of the more awe-inspiring walls of books I’ve ever seen in real life, Bill at Insulted by Authors.

What about you? What do your shelves say to you? What do they look like? Do you alphabetize? Color code? Chronologicalize? What would the guy who comes to every party and stares at the bookshelves think? Have you ever won someone over with your shelving technique?

We want to know and we want to see.

– Michael Moats

Leave a Comment

Filed under Hooray Fiction!