Science fiction icon Connie Willis brilliantly mixes a speculative plot, the wit of Nora Ephron, and the comedic flair of P. G. Wodehouse in Crosstalk—a genre-bending novel that pushes social media, smartphone technology, and twenty-four-hour availability to hilarious and chilling extremes as one young woman abruptly finds herself with way more connectivity than she ever desired.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR
In the not-too-distant future, a simple outpatient procedure to increase empathy between romantic partners has become all the rage. And Briddey Flannigan is delighted when her boyfriend, Trent, suggests undergoing the operation prior to a marriage proposal—to enjoy better emotional connection and a perfect relationship with complete communication and understanding. But things don’t quite work out as planned, and Briddey finds herself connected to someone else entirely—in a way far beyond what she signed up for.
It is almost more than she can handle—especially when the stress of managing her all-too-eager-to-communicate-at-all-times family is already burdening her brain. But that’s only the beginning. As things go from bad to worse, she begins to see the dark side of too much information, and to realize that love—and communication—are far more complicated than she ever imagined.
Praise for Crosstalk
“A rollicking send-up of obsessive cell phone usage in too-near-future America . . . [Connie] Willis’s canny incorporation of scientific lore, and a riotous cast . . . make for an engaging girl-finally-finds-right-boy story that’s unveiled with tact and humor. Willis juxtaposes glimpses of claimed historical telepaths with important reflections about the ubiquity of cell phones and the menace that unscrupulous developers of technology pose to privacy, morality, and emotional stability.”—Publishers Weekly
“An exhilarating and laugh-inducing read . . . one of those rare books that will keep you up all night long because you can’t bear to put it down.”—Portland Book Review
“A fun technological fairy tale.”—BookPage
“One of the funniest SF novels in years.”—Locus
SFWA Grand Master Willis's first novel since 2010's Blackout/All Clear is a rollicking send-up of obsessive cell phone usage in too-near-future America. A brain-altering medical procedure designed to enhance lovers' abilities to connect emotionally goes spectacularly haywire for Commspan employee Briddey Flannigan, who's besieged by her ultra-intrusive Irish-American family, and her fellow employee Trent Worth, a rising star at the tech company. Instead of being linked to Trent, Briddey finds herself telepathically hooked up to C.B. Schwartz, Commspan's lab-dwelling supernerd. Their connection sets off an extended chain of interpersonal misunderstandings, hilarious coincidences, and sad-but-true reflections on our fixations with digital gadgetry, which can threaten and prevent genuine intimacy. Willis's canny incorporation of scientific lore, and a riotous cast of stock Irish-American characters who nevertheless manage to surprise the reader, make for an engaging girl-finally-finds-right-boy story that's unveiled with tact and humor. Willis juxtaposes glimpses of claimed historical telepaths with important reflections about the ubiquity of cell phones and the menace that unscrupulous developers of technology pose to privacy, morality, and emotional stability.
A wonderful story.
As is usual for Connie Willis, this is a beautiful, thrilling, romantic, quirky, story. Apparently in the future, a simple outpatien procedure can implant a device so you can connect emotionally with your beloved partner. Only in Briddey’s case, it turns her into a telepath. Worse, a telepath who is linked to the man the whold office nicknames “the Hunchback of Notre Dame”.
Read the story, and enjoy this brilliant, brilliant, little tome.
Worth the wait
A bit slow and tedious in the first quarter, but perhaps made the rest more meaningful.
Very enjoyable read (after the tedious part).
Superb Connie Willis
I am sorry that I finished this delightful novel because now I have to wait a couple more years for her next book. This is one of her more lighthearted social commentary stories. It reminded me a little of Bellwether. If this is your first book that you have tried by Connie Willis, you have found a gem.