Blank fiction, is a term used for a narrative that is flat and is attributed to the 1980s. This is entirely true of Brett Easton Ellis' Less than Zer0. The novel is entirely flat, with events being described without any real interest of emotion, even in the case of a Snuff film or Pedophilic rape, where it is evident through the character of Clay's actions that he does not agree with the events. The effect of the drugs and alcohol on the human body is that of change; it alters perseption, and yet this is not shown through the first person narrative of the novel.
Ctheory is a peer-reviewed journal on technology and culture, and it is within this that Mike Grimshaw writes about Brett Easton Ellis and his more famous books, including that of Less than Zero. He described the characters of the novel as in the midst of luxury with nothing to do except dabble in violence and deviance. They seek a Nietzschean form of happiness that is free from morality. This is again evident, the characters snort Coke, sleep with any, and in the case of some, dabble in crimes that would place them in prison with a criminal title above their heads. The drugs they take are by no means cheap, and for the character of Clay, money is no object. For others such as Julian, money is not as easy to come by, and so is emerced in prostitution so as to gain Cocaine. Mike Grimshaw's theory that they seek a form of happiness that is free from morality can be seen, and to an extent it can be understood. For me, as someone who has to work for everything I do, I have something to live for, and everytime I make a gain I feel happy, I have done it on my own. For the characters of Less than Zer0, they live in a pampered world, which by no means encompasses the entire youth of America, but the minority it does encompass are provided for by their parents, what they want is given to them. In order to feel a form of happiness a different approach may be needed, and that approach is drugs, sex and violence. I can understand the influence that the characters feel, and in a way the blank fiction in which it is written furthers that; It makes life seem flat in all its varying degrees, but to a rich kid, excitement is harder to come by.
What I dont understand from Grimshaws theory of happiness, is the allowing of attrocities. I understand it if some of the characters indulge in a criminal activity as that is what makes them happy in their mind. Yet Clay, does not seem to find happiness in this way and yet he allows it to continue. Does it mean that it represents the rich kids social standing, and their ties to others in their social circle and so they allow for illegal activities to happen. Or does it represent something else entirely, like that is what was done in those days? I do not understand this aspect of the novel and especially not Grimshaws interpretation, but that may be from my own upbringing. Drugs are one thing with the view of alleviating oneself, but murder and rape, thats something I hope never to understand, and the theory that it makes them happy, leads me to the conclusion that either that is what they grew up with, or there is something not quite right in the conscience.
I suppose the modern day interpretation that I am more likely to follow, is the modern sit-coms of The O.C. and 90210, where the rich kids indulge themselves. But you do not see Snuff films and pedophilia in the degree that this novel shows, and I do not understand it, and I hope I never do.