Though I knew of Ellis’s writings in high school and college as some random drama books the girls liked, he wasn’t on my radar at all until Glamorama which, being a big William S. Burroughs fan, was right in my wheelhouse and I have gobbled up everything he’s written since (except Lunar Park). That said, I ripped through the 165 page Imperial Bedrooms over the last couple nights, not even realizing until 20 pages in that it was a sequel and while I don’t remember the Less than Zero movie, I remember even less if I read the book or not. I think you could get away easily with knowing of the old movie and book and that’s quite enough. I’m certainly no modern literary critic, but I would compare the writing to McCarthy’s The Road (both are essentially a series of journalistic vignettes) and After Dark, My Sweet by Jim Thompson. For all the weight of ‘automatically’ being literature anything Ellis puts out, I found it just a really solid pulp noir mystery novel– with the obligatory scenes of violence, torture and murder all thoroughly described rather than implied as Ellis’s M.O. demands. Ellis is awesome at creating and maintaining the creeping dread until always delivering with a crescendo of horrific violence and while his characters are people who rarely feel anything at all, he’s greatly aware that his readers have feelings and are both dreading and greatly looking forward to the decent into madness his plotlines roll into. It was a little short, and since not all of the main characters have been tortured to death yet, I bet there’s another one with this same group– but if he waits 25 years again they’ll all be flaccidly in the old folks home. Good Stuff!