released 15 september 495 pages | paperback/ebook
Author Connie Willis Publisher del rey books
How many ways could you contact a partner from your phone, right now? Between email, text, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and, you know, actually ringing them, you’ve probably got at least six different options. But what if you didn’t need any of them? What if you could connect to them through your emotions?
That’s the terrifying technology that’s changing the world in Hugo winner Connie Willis’s latest novel: after minor brain surgery, couples can transmit their feelings to one another via electronic implants. In theory, it’s sweet. In practice? Well, it has some worrying side effects, especially for Crosstalk’s heroine, Briddey. Because when she comes round from surgery, Briddey finds herself connected not to her boyfriend but to the weird guy who works in the basement. And things are about to get even stranger…
There’s a lot going on in Crosstalk. Sometimes it’s a sci-fi flavoured thriller, as Briddey fights to gain control over her new extra-sensory abilities without being overwhelmed by them. Other times, it’s a biting satire of 21st century capitalism, as profit-obsessed executives rush to be the first to market with complex technologies no one quite understands. But mostly, it’s a romance. One of those slushy ones, where you can see the ending coming a mile away, but still find yourself rooting for the couple to look past their superficial differences and just snog already.
Crosstalk is a bit too long really, considering how simple a story it boils down to, and there are long stretches where the only thing slowing down the action is Briddey’s inability to face what’s right in front of her. But then maybe that’s part of the point. The book’s persuasive, too. So if you spot someone reading this book on public transport, it’s probably best to just leave them to it. Sarah Dobbs
At times, it’s a biting satire of capitalism
Willis had a rubbish July: first she was bitten on the ankle by a bat, then she fractured an eye socket falling over.