‘Blank fiction’ is a term that describes the writing of a generation of contemporary US writers whose influence started in the 1980’s and is still present today; this sort of fiction deals with contemporary urban life, violence sex, drugs and consumerism. Less Than Zero is most definitely a novel that falls under the category of blank fiction. The main protagonist, Clay, is a college student who is coming home for Christmas vacation, he quickly falls back into old habits with friends and into a spiral of parties, drugs, sex and violence. Emotions dulled and fuelled by drugs and boredom Clay and his friends are drawn to excesses to jolt them out of their expensively-maintained ruts: to prostitution and snuff films, to dead bodies in the street and, ultimately, to sadistic child abuse.
This website offers commentary on the novel and notes “as a work of fictional documentary, it is a shocking portrayal of dissolute youth in the Reagan era, and certainly deserves to be catalogued in the canon of drugs literature”. The depiction of a disconnected youth is striking within the book, most obviously with Clay, although surrounded by people he appears to be alone; his parents are separated and are unable to communicate with him in a meaningful way, he has no relationship with his sisters whom he cannot tell apart and who think he is much younger than he is, a girlfriend who he doesn’t love, psychotic friends and a psychiatrist who is too self-absorbed to help him.
This article offers insight into the lives of the youth generation depicted in Less Than Zero, “attractive adolescents are the victims [in the horrors of the world]; in Less Than Zero, they're the monsters” this shows us that first appearances (designer clothes, makeup and money) mean little when their lives are so meaningless and lonely that they resort to drugs just to feel anything.
http://medhum.med.nyu.edu/view/13292 - website/ review