CrossTaLk

Con­nect Flaw

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

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.

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