The bad news was bad. I was dying. I was dying of something no one had ever died of before. I was dying of something absolutely, fantastically new.The Subject Steve is a dark, dazzling, and totally original satire on human mortality and our The bad news was bad. I was dying. I was dying of something no one had ever died of before. I was dying of something absolutely, fantastically new.
The Subject Steve is a dark, dazzling, and totally original satire on human mortality and our desperate efforts to evade it. Meet Steve (not his real name), a Special Case, in truth a Terminal Case, and the eponymous antihero of Sam Lipsyte’s savagely funny first novel. Steve has been informed by his two doctors, the Philosopher and the Mechanic, that he is dying of a condition of unquestioned fatality but no discernible physical cause. Eager to brand a new plague with their names, they call it Goldfarb-Blackstone Preparatory Extinction Syndrome, or PREXIS for short.
The news that this perfectly ordinary postmodern citizen–bitter ex-husband, quasi-deadbeat father, midlife adman, creator of such resonant dot.com slogans as “Reality Is for Those Who Dream” and “How Did You Like Tomorrow?”–is dying of something that might well be boredom sets off a media frenzy. When his physicians are exposed as frauds, but not his death sentence, he betakes himself upstate to the Center for Nondenominational Recovery and Redemption, founded and ruled by the shadowy and brutal caregiver Heinrich of Newark. From there he will travel to the desert, where the success of a cultish media empire will rest on his demise. But nothing will alter the Subject Steve’s inevitable rendezvous with those twin banes of humankind, death and synergy.
With the publication of this novel, by turns manic, ebullient and exquisitely deadpan, Sam Lipsyte enters the company of the master American satirists. It is a dark comedy for overlit times.