Gary's Reviews > Zero K

Zero K by Don DeLillo
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Don DeLillo's fiction has always had a speculative edge, but Zero K is probably the first novel of his that could reasonably be termed "science fiction". I say "reasonably" because while DeLillo's novel deals with a subject (post-humanism) that has in some form been a staple of science fiction since the golden age - and in the form DeLillo discusses it, for at least the last decade - DeLillo is not even remotely interested in engaging the subject with respect to that tradition. I don't know if this is a deliberate side-step on the author's part, an insistence on avoiding the petty frivolities of "lowly" genre writing, or if he simply isn't aware that that dialogue has been going on all this time under his nose.
So my guess is if you're NOT a regular science fiction reader, it is entirely possible that reading Zero K could be some kind of emotionally and intellectually transcendent experience, akin to the general (non-SF regular) viewing public's response to first seeing Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968. I'm saying "possible" because, as a regular SF reader I have no way of personally gauging whether or not this is true. For me, this novel was a slow-as-molasses of all slow slow slow burn angst-ridden hand wringing over mortality and technology about ideas that I had moved past a long time ago. A beautifully written and occasionally insightful slow burn angsty hand-wring of a novel, and a thankfully short one, since I don't have nearly as much angst about this as the author does. I suspect my differences may be a generational thing as well. My dad still can't get past having to move on from Windows XP; if he felt inclined to confront post-human anxiety for the first time in his life he'd probably be pulling out what's left of his hair over it, too.
To summarize: SF readers - you're not missing anything if you skip Zero K; everyone else - (maybe?) your mind will be blown.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
June 13, 2016 – Finished Reading
June 16, 2016 – Shelved

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