‘Zero K’, by Don DeLillo

Zero-k-9781501135392_hrKevin Stevens at The Dublin Review of Books:

The emotional and rhetorical weight of Zero K is comparable to the intensity of three novels published in the eighties that established DeLillo’s reputation and which form the core of his oeuvre: White Noise, The Names, and Libra. Along with his 1997 masterpiece Underworld, these fictions are the finest work of a great artist who stands on the edge of American culture yet identifies and explores as well as anyone the forces of power and influence that define mainstream American life and undermine our persistent assumption of the autonomy of the individual. This exploration is both contemporary and prescient.

“Haven’t you felt it?” a character asks in Zero K.

The sense of being virtualized. The devices you use, the ones you carry everywhere, room to room, minute to minute, inescapably. Do you ever feel unfleshed? All the coded impulses you depend on to guide you. All the sensors in the room that are watching you, listening to you, tracking your habits, measuring your capabilities. All the linked data designed to incorporate you into the megadata. Is there something that makes you uneasy? Do you think about the technovirus, all systems down, global implosion? Or is it more personal? Do you feel steeped in some horrific digital panic that’s everywhere and nowhere?

This description of powerlessness, with its hints of apocalypse, captures perfectly the paranoia implicit in the invasive reach of twenty-first-century technologies.

more here.