SF goes SF
No one could accuse Laura Lam’s latest of lacking ideas. Within the first few pages, a whole world has been introduced, along with two incredibly complex narrators. And it just spirals out from there.
The world is a futuristic San Francisco, where crime is at an all-time low thanks to government-issue hallucinogenics and implantable surveillance chips. And the narrators? Tila and Taema, former conjoined twins who escaped the clutches of a creepy cult to build themselves new lives in the technologically enhanced big city. It’s a lot to absorb, and that’s before the face-swapping and drug contamination conspiracies kick in.
Scratch the shiny surface of all that sci-fi stuff, though, and you’ll find a fairly straightforward noir plot: one twin is accused of murder, so the other assumes her identity to prove her innocence. Plus the romance is pretty dull. But it rattles along quickly, the brain-hacking stuff is interesting, and there are always new threats to deal with – even in the future, ’Frisco’s underworld is seedy and horrible. That’s what makes False Hearts so readable, in the end; it’s slight, but its vision of the future is seductively terrifying.
Lam asked Twitter to name the megacorporation in her book. Author Nick Harkaway won out, with “Sudice”.