Through discussions of novels by Chuck Palahniuk, Cristina Alger, and Don DeLillo, as well as some films (Fight Club, The Big Short) and television series (Mr. Robot), this chapter lays out the central terms of the book (finance, psychosis, realism) and summarizes the book’s project, as well as the arguments of the individual chapters on Wolfe, Ellis, Harris, Houellebecq, and Lerner. Distinguishing finance from capitalism, the introduction considers the intensified psychotic environment of the digitized finance economy and in particular the realist novel’s place within it. What kind of realism would be attuned to a contemporary economy driven by non-human agents operating at speeds that exceed human and technological observation?
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