PositiveThe MillionsSadness might seem too sincere an emotion to ascribe to a novel written by a postmodernist, but Zero K pushes its readers to feel. It is almost impossible to not. With its confluence of screens, strange artwork, empty rooms, long hallways, and shaved hands of those soon to be frozen, Zero K creates an experiment, and we, its subjects, feel pulled to interact.
The Close Encounters ManMark O'Connell
PositiveThe MillionsA new biography reveals how Hynek’s life and legend exemplify a lost era. UFO sightings still make the news, but Hynek was something different: a public intellectual who told us to watch the skies ... In The Close Encounters Man, Mark O’Connell notes that Spielberg’s friend suggested the title to the director after reading Hynek’s book The UFO Experience ... His [Hynek's] contributions were brief, but as McConnell demonstrates, cultural history is often the result of unlikely coincidence ... Hynek is a deserving subject, but O’Connell’s book also is notable as a methodical history of the UFO phenomena in America—a story so often overshadowed by the Roswell incident ... McConnell’s a great storyteller, and that’s what needed in a history of American ufology: someone to connect the dots into a narrative.
Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake NewsKevin Young
RaveThe MillionsYoung is a fine poet and his often recursive, textured prose is the perfect delivery for the cyclical nature of literary lies ... Bunk is teeming with these types of insights. As a poet and historian, Young has the particular skill of seeing the unseen. He understands that at the heart of every lie is a good, perhaps great, story. Often the act of story is the act of persuasion, hypnosis, delusion. For better or worse, we love to be lied to if the song sounds good ... Bunk contains a laundry list of charlatans, including Rachel Dolezal, Stephen Glass, James Frey, and Laura Albert. But what is most powerful is Young’s examination of American lies about race ... Young might just have written the most important book this year. Sadly, his book suggests that we might make the same statement for 2018—and the next year, and the next.