FALSE HEARTS

SF goes SF

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews - Sarah Dobbs

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”.

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