Crosstalk by Connie Willis
This book is set in the near future where it is possible to get an operation that helps you emotionally connect with a romantic partner. Trent suggests that he and his girlfriend get the procedure done to take their relationship to the next level. By all degrees, he seems to be a good catch so Briddey thinks she should go along with it. After all, Trent is very determined to get it done.
A co-worker, who goes by the name of C.B., tries to convince her not to do it. It is brain surgery after all and he isn’t sure why anyone would want to do it.
“There’s also a chance it could cause UIC . . . You know, unintended consequences.”
“What unintended consequences?”
“Who knows? That’s the thing with unintended consequences. You have no way of knowing what they might be until they happen, and then it’s too late. Look at Prohibition. And DDT. They seemed like terrific ideas, and look at what ended up happening – Al Capone and a slew of dead robins.”
Unintended consequences. What an interesting idea. Unfortunately, it’s not a persuasive enough argument and Briddey goes ahead with the procedure. She should have listened to her co-worker though because she doesn’t get bonded to Trent, instead he becomes telepathically linked to C.B. Soon, she starts to hear other people’s thoughts as well. That is what the crosstalk title refers to.
I really enjoyed this book. I laughed out loud several times, and books rarely have me doing that. There was a nice blend of suspense as well. I like how it explored the ways we communicate with each other and whether or not some form of telepathy or empathy could be a good thing.
I whipped through this book faster than any novel I’ve read recently. No wonder it ended up on NPR’s best of the year list. It’s well-deserved and I highly recommend it.