Meet Steve (not his real name), a Special Case, in truth a Terminal Case, and the eponymous antihero of Sam Lipsyte's first novel. Steve has been informed by two doctors that he is dying of a condition of unquestioned fatality, with no discernible physical cause. Eager for fame, and to brand the new plague, they dub it Goldfarb-Blackstone Preparatory Extinction Syndrome, or PREXIS for short. Turns out, though, Steve's just dying of boredom. The Subject Steve is a dazzling debut - by turns manic, ebullient, and exquisitely deadpan - Sam Lipsyte is in company with the master American satirists.