What’s the emoji for the face you make when you stub your toe and then a bus drives over your dick? If there’s an emoji for that, then imagine that this review is just that emoji. If there isn’t an emoji for that, then:
Fuck this fucking book. Goddamn I hate this book. Not Naked Lunch level hate, no. But I definitely hate this book. I hate that I felt I had to finish this book only because it was written by Pynchon.* And I hate the motherfuckers who wrote the glowing reviews for it, as sampled on the first three pages of the book.
- Book World: Thomas Pynchon’s ‘Bleeding Edge’
- “A Search Result With No Instructions on How to Look for It”
- Bleeding Edge: Thomas Pynchon Returns as a Prophet of the Post-Snowden Era
A prophet of the post-Snowden era? Get the fuck out of here. Don’t listen to these motherfuckers. They’re lying!**
So, why do I hate this book so much? It’s Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, but with a Pynchonian twist. Now, Snow Crash is kind of a bad book, too, but it was Stephenson’s first. And it was also packed full of so many awesome ideas. AND, for a book written in 1992, it was prophetic about exactly where the internet was going to go in ten years. But Bleeding Edge? It was written in 2013 while feeling like it’s been sitting on Pynchon’s desk, fully written, since 2006. And whatever ideas it purports to explore or expound upon, they’ve already been done—and done better—by someone else.
I started reading this book on March 31st. I got about 100 pages before I started to realize just how bad it was. At some point, maybe around the end of April, I was just fed-up with this book and chucked it onto the coffee table to be ignored forever. Actually, I was thinking of leaving it out so when people came over I could say to them, “You see this book? Don’t ever fucking read it. It’s fucking terrible. Stubbing your toe and then getting your dick run over by a bus is a better way to spend your time than reading this book.” But then I tweaked my hamstring and couldn’t run without pain. And then I gained 15 pounds. Three weeks ago I decided to hate read it when I started in on riding a stationary bike until my hamstring felt better. And now I’m done with this book.
* I don’t hate that Pynchon wrote this. Clearly he was just cashing in on his name with this door stopper. I look forward to the day I, too, can cash in on my name.
** GRANTED that the reviews in whole aren’t all so positive. Lethem in Pynchonopolis is actually a bit skeptical about the book. But it’s the quote pulled from it and published in the first few pages of Bleeding Edge that make it all a lie.