I guess this is the year of changes and firsts. I usually have the luck of reading only one bad book a year, but after finishing Ben Marcus’ The Age of Wire and String, you can add another really bad reading experience to that list. It isn’t as bad as Noughties by Ben Masters, a writer with a similar name, but it is really, really bad. After finishing it mere minutes ago, I can hardly consider it a book or a short story collection. It really is just a collection of failed ironic musings that fit together as well as damp puzzle pieces. It actually retroactively makes his novels seem worse. I gave four-star ratings to each. My opinions have changed since then even before reading this, especially when it concerns Notable American Women, which I don’t think I’d give a passing grade to now (The Flame Alphabet at least has a cool premise amid the mindless meandering). I hesitate to call him and overrated writer in the vein of Jonathan Safran Foer, since he is not as popular among large groups of readership, but among other writers who are his fans, I would totally say that, especially when you really look at what he writes. It is overwritten, obtuse for the sake of being obtuse, and just plain not fun. I’d give you a plot synopsis or favorite stories, but there really isn’t. Nothing makes sense, and the only real world that you inhabit in its pages is Marcus’, and you don’t want to be there, unless you want to be bored to tears. I feel bad saying this, but I would question the validity of any one’s opinion if they actually liked this book, or called Marcus a genius. To end, just don’t read this book, anything else will be a better way to spend your time.