I have to admit that I felt deeply irritated by the website for Bret Easton Ellis’s novel Imperial Bedrooms, by its very existence. (It’s a casting-couch choose-your-own-adventure game.) If you listen closely, you can hear every exhausted literary writer in American saying, very quietly to themselves: ‘So this is how it’s gonna be now? I have to code my own flash game?’ One half expects to find action figures of the novel’s characters at Wal-Mart.
But of course then I played the thing and, like most people, I’d imagine, immediately started trying to get the actress high, naked and into bed. Like I was saying in the review, one of the things Ellis is good at is luring readers into an alien and highly uncomfortable frame of reference, then getting them way too comfortable there. There’s a little part of me that, after reading Patrick Bateman all day, starts thinking: ‘Yeah… maybe I should give those old Huey Lewis records another listen…’
I don’t know if Ellis himself has anything to do with this game, but it does offer a neat little analogue of his literary aesthetic. And I admit to feeling a small burst of pride when my devil score came up 94 per cent and my computer told me: ‘Your ability to feel compassion has been eradicated.’ A guy doesn’t get a compliment like that every day, you know.