I GOTTA BREATHE by James Keepnews

I GOTTA BREATHE

A Post-Singularity Blues
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A digital expression of anxiety about the coming singularity: the dreaded moment when man and machine merge.

Split between a handful of what can only loosely be described as “stories” and a couple of low-rent videos that might not have even surfaced on late-night public-access television, the app comes across as little more than an ill-advised vanity project gone horribly wrong. The 10 entries that make up the literary portion of this noninteractive sideshow imagine some sort of bleak Blade Runner–esque future in which technology has succeeded in swallowing humanity whole. Fear, loneliness and nihilism seem to be the orders of the day. Barely anything even remotely suggesting story structure is in evidence, however. The narrative—such as it is—is more of an undisciplined stream of consciousness flushed with a cascade of words pursuing significance. Those hoping that the accompanying videos might offer a respite from the arduous post-apocalyptic wordplay are in for a jaw-dropping experience. Holed up in what appears to be some sort of dirty, abandoned warehouse or garage, the creator of this curious concoction appears before the camera looking like a warmed-over Emmett L. Brown with a colander on his head. More incoherent ranting follows, capped off with some criminally bad electric-guitar playing. All of this, of course, is supposed to be ridiculous—a subversive commentary on the rapid deterioration of the human condition. What it actually is, however, is terribly pretentious and precious. The most generous viewers might ascribe elements of the avant-garde to the app, but there is nothing either experimental or challenging happening within the touch screen’s misused borders. The author may be suffering from them “post-singularity blues,” but it’s readers who will be left crying. 

Avoid at all cost.


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Publisher: James Keepnews
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